So you have organised the exhibition stand and it looks great, now you’re just waiting for the doors to open. Job done…or is it?
After years of exhibiting it never fails to amaze me how many businesses never make the most out of the opportunity by not preparing, publicising and worst of all, following up the leads generated.
Plan, publicity & previews
A great exhibition stand takes a lot of planning and in most instances costs a small fortune. To really make the most of this opportunity, no matter the size of the show or stand, the devil is in the detail. A small percentage of pre and post-show planning can, and does make all the difference.
The three months leading up to the show are an ideal time to take advantage of publicity opportunities, boost brand awareness and signpost people to your stand. Look out for show previews in trade publications; be proactive and have prospects and customers ‘save the date’, and remember to share the creative process on social media. Don’t forget the show catalogue where most entries have a free listing. During the show be sure to share highlights online. Post-show it’s all about the review; a press release, sound-bite, blog or comment.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Preparation for the exhibition itself…
• What are you doing to attract people to your stand during the show?
• Email existing customers to invite them along, even if its just for refreshments
• Run a special offer available to show visitors only
• Arrange literature and press packs for the press office / hand-outs
• Are you giving away any freebies during the show?
• Arrange a stand rota to make sure it is manned appropriately and at all times
• Consider a uniform for all stand delegates so they are easy to identify
• Consider stand rules…no calls, no eating…all of which means you maintain a good impression. Remember, it’s not just your product or service you’re promoting, you too are on show!
The biggest, and most common fail of all exhibitors is not following up leads. It happens all the time. You come back from a week out of the office and it’s frantic, the sales team are tired and back on the road…the leads are left and soon go cold.
By simply planning ahead you can alleviate all that. Ask the sales team to keep the week after the show free to follow up. Get the leads sent to you by a lead pen (hired from the organisers) which you will normally receive at the end of each day, then have an email response ready which can be sent to any new prospects the very same day.
So, next time you organise an exhibition see beyond the wow-factor and stand design, and add real value to your investment.