The Journey of a First-Time Exhibitor – PART ONE

This blog will take you on an exciting journey from selecting an event to successful participation and follow-up.

PART ONE – Selecting an event

Finding the right audience

Just like printed media, exhibitions are often audited, so if it’s high volume and high-quality visitors you are looking for, check that the audit matches your list of prospects. Try the exhibition website, or ask the sales team to provide a breakdown of the type of people who attend the event. For existing events, they should have a list of past visitors and demographics.

Getting the right location

If you’re looking to expand into new areas, then an exhibition can create an ideal launchpad for demonstrating or handing out samples – whether in the UK or overseas the location of the exhibition will have an impact on the people that attend and can offer additional opportunities.

See who else is exhibiting

If your competitors are attending, then it could be a sign of a good event. If they aren’t then you may be able to gain market share by tapping into new areas

Still not sure?

Why not go along as a visitor and see what you think before committing? Exhibitions offer a unique sales platform where you can meet prospects face to face. All of these visitors would have chosen to attend so in effect they are positively inclined to buy. It’s a well-known fact that events offer the greatest return on your investment providing you follow some very basic rules.

Decide on your objectives

You may have a few of these, but make sure that they don’t clash, and you are not stretching the team by trying to achieve too much. At busy events, it can be difficult to remember a list! Incorporate the event into your marketing mix to ensure your overall campaign is giving the same message.

Try to be specific with your objectives for example:

  • To secure three new leads for follow up each day of the event
  • To make 12 appointments
  • To see 10 existing clients whilst at the event
  • To build up a database of 90 new names to target our products/services

If your objectives are specific they become measurable and you can calculate your return on investment more easily… Think SMART

Communicate your objectives

It’s important to make sure that whoever ends up manning the stand fully understands your objectives otherwise your careful planning could be wasted and remember less is more!

Booking the space

Organisers will sell from a floor plan. Logically, the earlier you book the better the choice of stand type and location you will have. You will be able to see how many stands they plan, what the configurations and features are and where your stand will be positioned.

When booking your space, consider where competitors and feature areas are and what you plan to do with your stand.

Allow enough room for any products, staff and visitors. Think about whether you need storage incorporated as part of your stand and any private meeting areas or hospitality that you wish to use.

If you’re running any on stand activities, you will need to make provision for standing room and observers.

Try to plan for the number of open sides available and ensure that your furnishings do not obstruct entrances and exits from your stand. Most stand designers will be able to advise you whether the space you have reserved will be sufficient for the activity planned.

Key takeaways

  • When looking for an exhibition, always look who attends
  • Always set and communicate SMART objectives for the event to keep your team on track
  • Book space that is suited to your products and services, think about where is best on the floor plan to capture the best leads for your business
  • Map out how you plan to use the space, don’t leave it last minute to plan your stand and what you need to take

This blog was developed in association with FaceTime®

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