Establish clear measurable objectives
Make them SMART, whether it’s meeting new prospects, shaking hands with current clients or raising your brand’s profile, make sure you’ve identified your goals before the show and that everyone knows how these will be measured.
Organise your budget
Don’t get caught up in spending all your budget on your stand and forgetting to book your staff accommodation. Use a Budget planner to make sure you have factored in all costs to exhibiting to guarantee you don’t overspend and reach your objectives.
Don't go it alone
Get everyone involved! You will need as much help as possible to prepare for this exhibition, so ask for help early on. Marketing will need to help with advertising on your website, creating marketing material and social media coverage, so book them in and give them a brief asap. Your sales and customer service teams are in constant communication with current and potential clients so get them promoting your presence at the show, everyone will have some way of helping.
Make sure you login
Most exhibitions will have a portal which will hold all exhibitor information and deadlines for orders. Book early and you will avoid the increase in contractors costs closer to the show.
Brief your onsite staff
You will need to put a brief together and make sure you have clearly outlined your main goals and objectives, and why you have chosen them. In detail explain exactly what is expected from your staff before arriving onsite, this will save you time and ensure your staff are prepared. Don’t forget to create some excitement around incentives! Have you planned any team bonding sessions before the show and during? This can be a great way to drive team morale and excitement around the exhibition.
Work with your marketing team to set up a marketing plan well in advance and across all platforms. Try to link your branding with the show branding to help clients recognise the exhibition and messaging. Our marketing teams are on hand to help you with PR, social media promotions and more.
Send your documents in early to ensure the best exposure and beat the late bookers. Our PR team is looking for stories and angles to interest the target audience, so make sure your material is enticing, and include detail on New releases or product improvements.
Most exhibitions will have a press office onsite which you can drop material at, or you can upload it online, so make sure you check with the press team where you should send your documents.
Decide how you are going to distribute material at the show, leaflets get the message out there but are also easily thrown away. It is more and more popular to hand out USB sticks containing product and service information and press releases.
Send personalised emails to existing clients and prospects. Include where your stand is located and who to contact for further information. Use this opportunity to reward loyal or lapsed customers by inviting them to your stand to redeem a one off offer or to an after hours event.
Remember to connect with the exhibitions social media platforms, and potential and current clients before the show so they know you are exhibiting, don’t forget to use the show’s hashtag!
Add exhibition messaging to other communication already going out. For example, insert an invitation into your invoices or catalogues to save on postage.
Most exhibitions will have marketing material available to you, this can range from the show logo to email templates to banners and buttons for your website. If you don’t have an in house design team using these can save a few pennies.
Add a banner or advert promoting your presence at the show, remember to include your stand number, the show dates, and a link for them to register for the exhibition. Get this up as soon you sign up to the exhibition to ensure maximum exposure.
Ask some of your loyal customers for testimonials you can use on your marketing.
A stand to help you meet your objectives
Now you have set your objectives, how are you going to reach them? The next step is designing your stand to sell.
Shell scheme or space only
Double check what stand type you have booked and what it includes, as this will make a big difference to your planning.
Space Only: This is just the floorplan space. You will need to then supply the flooring, electricity, walls and furniture.
Shell Scheme: This includes carpet, walls and fascia, some exhibitions will also include other extras like furniture and electricity.
When planning your stand it can be a good idea to measure out the size in your office, this way you can check how much furniture and staff you can fit without it being too crowded.
Graphics need to be clear, precise and professionally made. Ensure yours can be read from 4 meters away and it’s high enough so no furniture is blocking it.
The 3 second rule, this is how long you have to grab a visitors attention with your stand. Does your stand clearly convey what your company offers?
What is your stand USP?
You need a unique selling point which will draw visitors to your stand and make sure you are remembered. Emotions create memories, if an experience is extremely positive it is more likely to be remembered. Exhibitors have used popcorn machines, freebies, simulation games and even funfair games to draw in the crowds, whatever you choose, make sure it someway relates to your product or service.
Do your research
There are plenty of free to attend exhibitions, visit one of these to view other companies stand designs and to give you some ideas.
Training is key
Make sure you have invested the time in getting your staff trained to work on the stand. It will make the difference from an ok event to an amazing event for you and your team.
Data is king
With so many potential clients visiting your stand, data capture apps can be a life saver. Gone are the days of filling out paper forms, data apps scan the visitors badge and gives you access to their data instantly allowing you to add notes, great for when you’re sending out requested information and follow up emails post show.
• Eat on your stand
• Sit down
• Use your mobile phone
• Stand with your back facing the aisle
• Have a messy stand
Talk to everyone
Exhibitions are a place where people come to talk and are ready for conversations so make sure you speak to anyone you get a chance to speak to.
Yes onsite you will have the opportunity to rebook for next year. Some events have special rates and offers for rebooking onsite so make sure you are prepared in case you want to sign.
Make sure you follow up with all leads! It can take more contacts than you think after the onsite meeting to get a contract back. Try to record your data captured as hot, warm and cold to help your sales team hit the ground running.
We have listed a few ideas on how to follow up post-show:
• Personalised emails – when capturing data make note of something personal, did they mention a holiday they are going on or going for dinner after the exhibition? Mention this in your email so they don’t feel you have just sent a mass email out.
• Send a special offer out to those you met onsite.
• Update your website to thank those you met at the exhibition.
• Send a social media post inviting your new followers to sign up to your newsletter.
• A reminder of the expiry date of a show special or an extension of the offer date for customers who didn’t buy at the show.
Post show review
Wrap up all costs and include forecast sales for the upcoming months, not all sales will be done at the exhibition, you might have to build more of a relationship with some clients.
A good post show review will outline all aspects of the exhibition to help you improve for next time. Ask everyone who was involved for feedback, even if they didn’t travel to the exhibition for a great all-round review.