Attending business exhibitions and networking are an important part of any business development plan. But with dozens if not hundreds of other companies attending how can you make your mark at a business exhibition? We have wide experience of attending business shows to promote our own award-winning PR services as well as working with clients to help boost their reputation among potential customers.
Here are our top tips on how to prepare for business exhibitions plus a few things you must avoid to have a successful show:
Business exhibition check list
Go with intent
Attending a business exhibition should be part of your wider marketing plan. You should prepare for your attendance and go with objectives in mind. What type of customer are you trying to attract? What product or services do you want to talk about? Having clear objectives will focus your efforts in the lead up to the show and on the day.
Shout about it
Your exhibitor package will probably include mentions in the business exhibition programme and on the event’s website, but these will only reach people who already plan to attend the show. There’s nothing to stop you letting clients and potential customers know you will be exhibiting. Get in contact with warm leads and invite them to visit your stand for a catch up. Share your attendance on your social media. Or what about writing about the event on your blog or newsletter?
Brand your stand
Make sure you know the dimensions of your stand and have the right sized banners or skins to brand it appropriately. A smart exhibition space will tell people you mean business.
If you attend business exhibitions regularly you’ll know to take an extra bag for all the goodies you pick up from stands. However, when you are preparing for your own exhibition you might want to take stock and think about how useful all those branded stress balls, cup cakes and brochures are to people who drop by your stand. If you do give exhibition attendees something to takeaway make sure it’s relevant, reminds them of your services, and isn’t something they’re going to file in the bin back at their desk.
Prepare your staff
Make sure you have enough staff to cover the day and allow for breaks. However, don’t bring along so many people that it looks like you’ve rolled out the entire company. A lot of this will depend on the size of the show and your stand. A good rule is to have two team members minimum and an extra helper for every 2-3 square meters of exhibition space. Brief those staff attending before the day so everyone is clear on your business objectives and why people want to do business with you over your competitors.
What not to do – business exhibition fails
While out and about at business exhibitions we’ve seen our fair share of people failing to get the most out of the show or not acting in the spirit of the event.
One example where a bit of forward planning would have helped is when businesses find themselves on a stand in a poor position. They may be in a corner or right by the exhibition exit where people are hurrying past to get back to their desks. You can avoid this by speaking to the exhibition organisers about the flow of visitors and double checking why some stands are cheaper than others.
Something else we see a lot of at exhibitions is people putting their marketing materials – flyers, brochures and leaflets – on other people’s stands. I think we can all agree this is poor behaviour. Don’t hijack other people’s space for which they have paid. At best they will spot your paperwork and bin it. At worst they will form a bad opinion of your business.
Expert help with business marketing and PR
If you would like advice about how you can make the post of your branding and marketing materials or promoting your business ahead of business exhibitions then we can help. Get in touch with our team of PR professionals in Hampshire and Devon.