In the first part of this blog we looked at the importance of appearing at exhibitions and trade shows and offered tips on ways to make the most of this, including the preparation, the all-important stand and how to decide what products and services to showcase.
In this conclusion to the blog, TDSi offers more top tips to to help you ensure your own exhibiting reaches its full potential:
Briefing your staff
Another seemingly obvious step, but one that can easily be overlooked, is a staff briefing. These work well at the beginning of the day, well before the hordes of visitors descend on your stand!
The stand team leader is the ideal person to gather staff together and reaffirm the aims for the day, to answer staff questions and really install a positive outlook and approach to the day's activities. This ensures a smooth show and also stops the team having to constantly ask questions or request help from the marketing team/organisers.
Never underestimate the draw of promotional items! Having promotional materials is undoubtedly a draw for visitors to your stand. It’s a good idea to get something a bit different that captures attention, for example we have TDSi rock sweets and being based on the south coast this is very apt and can be a great talking point!
At the same time you might want to be careful of the way these items are distributed. Items like confectionery/sweets build good will with visitors, but more expensive items such as USB sticks or novelty puzzles may be better off held back and given to visitors that actually want to talk to your team. At any show you will see some visitors simply moving from stand to stand seeing what haul they can get of free items. Whilst this is understandable (we have probably all done it at some point!) you don't want all of your promotional items disappearing and being unavailable to gift to those interested in your business.
When used effectively, promotional items are very good at reminding the recipient of your your business and its contact details. An ideal item is one that is both useful or fun for people to use (which will add a positive association with your brand) but also plays its part in your marketing push by clearly directing traffic to your relationship channels.
Photos of the event
With all the excitement at an exhibition it is very easy to forget to take photos! These are a great resource for your Marketing and PR campaign, especially for social media. Whilst photos of your empty stand at the beginning of the day will show off its design flair, your proud creation will look even more credible if you can get photos of it looking busy and well attended.
Group shots of your team or specific visitors to your stand can also make very good images for your social media. An eye-catching photo will really make your Twitter feed stand out and if you can get video clips it can be a great endorsement of the interest at the show.
A solid PR campaign before, during and after the event
A well targeted, persistent and relevant PR campaign can add great value to your appearance at a show. Beforehand you can introduce the event and the basics of what you will be showing, perhaps with some teaser statements on new or exciting products. This can be staggered over a number of press releases and social media updates, working together to drive interest from potential visitors.
Why not provide useful information on how to visit the show and make the most of what is on offer? We presented a blog on how to plan your trip to IFSEC International this year to encourage those on the fence to make the effort and attend.
When the show is on its an ideal time to tweet about what you are doing each day - many visitors will continue to check their social media on a smartphone whilst they are on site. You can schedule posts to encourage visitors at specific times, perhaps for a demonstration or special lecture on an interesting topic.
You shouldn't forget the campaign after the show too. Visitors will have had time to digest what they have seen and reading fresh material about your business at the event is a great Aide-mémoire for future reference and for fostering solid business leads.
Following up your leads
This is the most important stages of exhibiting following up all your leads. Whilst this can be a resource-intensive process it is vital to make the most of your investment and ideally it needs to be done soon after the event has finished - whilst the prospect still has your appearance firmly in mind
If a customer has taken the time to speak to you at an exhibition and is happy to be contacted, let them know you appreciate their time in visiting you and readily offer further assistance.
Potential customers will want you to demonstrate an eagerness to sell to them. In all likelihood they will have seen your competitors at the event too, so its vital to strike whilst the iron is hot and take full advantage of the all the hard work you and the team have put in!