Exhibiting is all about getting noticed - attracting the attention of the right customer, at the right venue. But given the hoards of exhbitors attending these events this is no easy task. Each business committed to attending a trade show or exhibition is focused on making every second count by enticing as many visitors to their stand as possible, if a good return on investment is to be received. The competition is rife and the stakes are high, so how can you ensure your business will achieve its objective in converting the many visitors to your stand into ideal customers?
Planning is paramount
If your business would like to acquire its share of £11 billion spend* generated from UK Exhibitions and Trade Fairs your first step is to make a plan. Brainstorming with marketing staff will decide the focus in attending such an event as well as the process involved in achieving the best results. Ask these important questions before formulating your plan:
Answers to these criteria provides information to compile a well organised, logical plan which covers all aspects of the event, before, during and after. Consider the steps below to help make the best decisions.
* Eventbrite 2010
Choose the right audience
Select your target group according to the product or service you will be promoting at the event. Who is most likely to purchase this item or to be interested in the service you provide? Then think about which events they are likely to attend. The UK events calendar is growing each year with something for every type or person, such as home & gardens; fashion, motoring. holidays, weddings etc. Select a show appropriate to your business and check the demographics of those attending.
Choose the right venue
Obviously the bigger the venue, the more comprehensive the show, the greater the numbers attending. But not everyone interested in your sector of the market will be a good customer for your business. Choosing one of the larger venues does not automatically guarantee you receiving the numbers of visitors you need so it may be wiser to select a smaller show where there will be more of the right type of customer attending. Careful research is needed here.
Also, consider where your customers are located before you choose the show venue. If they have to travel vast distances this may deter them from venturing to your event.
Make contact before the event
Use social media to connect with potential customers before the show such as Twitter or Facebook to announce that your company will be attending and what visitors to your stand can expect. You could also write a blog informing existing and new customers to your website about the show and how your business is a part of it. Or you could use homepage banners to advertise the show dates, your company stand number and countdown to the event in the weeks beforehand.
Reach out to your ideal customer
When it comes to allocating the exhibition budget, by far the greatest outlay will be spent on your display area. (See our blog 'How to budget for a trade show') With this is mind the majority of your preparation time should be spent on setting up your stand. There are many things to think about when creating something that is not only professional looking and inviting but is more importantly striking and eye catching to your chosen customer. Think about what will appeal to their senses - large graphics, selective lighting, audio visual displays all catch attention. But more is needed. Cash in on the sense of hearing by playing some catchy music or have a guest speaker talking about their experiences. Focusing on the sense of touch, invite visitors to enter your stand and try out the product for themselves or set up iPads that demonstrate how to interact with your service. A coffee pot or fresh croissants can entice the sense of smell and taste. The end result is a display conveying sensory overload that subconsiously draws the recipient to you.
Make your display area stand out
Which display system is best?
Making a choice from the seemingly endless array of exhibition kits and display systems is a challenge. More often than not, budget will dictate, in which case choosing one or two quality items to dress the area are all that are needed.
You don't have to go for the complete exhibition packs although these are good value for money if you plan to make a habit of attending these events. There's also a huge selection of graphic displays on the market which can be designed and printed in just a few days and will serve the purpose year in year out if you invest in the higher quality versions. For example; the premium pop up banners are not just sturdy, long-lasting, self-standing displays but they are so simple to set up, dismantle and transport, paying a little more for such a useful product is cost effective.
Other pull up banners come in wider widths that serve as good backdrops; adjustable sizes to add impact and small desktop varieties viewed at eye-level. Magnetic displays and easy change roller banners provide versatility where graphics need changing regularly. These pop up displays can also be double-sided so they can be seen from two directions and interchangeable where individual components can also link together to create a wall.
Don't forget the finishing touches
In addition to colourful, well executed and striking graphics, selective accessories to complete the look can make tall he difference in attracting certain visitors. Comfortable seating always appeals to those weary from being on their feet all day and provides a more private area to discuss customer needs. A pop up counter provides a table top on which to display printed brochures, booklets, business cards or leaflets. Or even a modest table enshrouded with a tasteful printed covering can be used to layout product samples, gifts or information packs.
Get the lighting right
Even if you don't have the budget to splash out on expensive display systems if you choose the best lighting to create an ambiance of calm and professionalism visitors will be drawn to your stand nonetheless. Use uplighters to create focus on a particular graphic or downlighters to ensure your area is well lit. Make sure the lamps are set up either above or below eye level or they could deter any passer-by from approaching your stand.
Use your human resources well
Select the best staff to attend
Your 'exhibition dream team' needs to be made up of a pool of talents. There will be staff who are organised and creative to set up efficiently; others who are people persons able to use their charisma to encourage people to your stand and some who are good at persuading commitment from customers.
Whatever their abilities, all staff members need to be enthusiastic, committed and a good ambassador for your business. They all need to be trained in how to communicate with prospective customers, to take accurate information and to sell the product or business. When there is genuine interest shown in your business every staff member needs to know how to listen to feedback even if a sale is not achieved. Taking notes is not only useful for recording comments accurately but shows they are listening and value what the customer has to say.
Make the most of your team
Every minute of the exhibition event counts so use your staff wisely when there is a lull in visitors to your stand. Send out those more gregarious on an information gathering assignment to find out people's interests and motives in attending the show; to weigh up the competition and to ascertain from organisers future plans for the event.
Throughout the day nominate one employee to provide a live social media feed. Tell potential customers present at the event about a product you are promoting; some snippet of news about your business or inform them of a special incentive to visit your stand. At the same time use other friendly staff to distribute invites or discount vouchers for use at your stand.
When the show is over
Work quickly to convert sales leads
Research shows how crucial it is to work fast on 'hot leads' immediately after the show. Evidentally, contact should be made on these within 48 hours of the show and up to six follow up calls are required if a sale is to be secured.
Contact can also be maintained on warm and cold leads via regular newsletters or occasional incentives to trial your products.
Use social media to extend marketing exposure
Make the most of your trade show presence by using social media links to post memorable pictures or share interesting news from the event. This is also an opportunity to thank all those who supported you and to encourage visitors to your stand to check out your website or trial your products by announcing after show promotions.
For further tips on how to create an inspiring stand, which venues to attend and why people visit exhibitions read our blog section.
Alternatively, call the Eazy Print team for any advice on designing pop up banners, brochure & booklet printing and choosing the right exhibition stand for your next event.