Exhibition and event marketing offers a wealth of opportunities to promote your business and engage with prospects in a face-to-face environment. Attendees of these events have a genuine interest in the products and services on display, but it is important to promote yourself and your attendance to the visitor audience before the show to maximise your success. Event preparation is key to your success so plan, and plan well!
The leads generated here could turn into lucrative sales, new business relationships and an opportunity for fantastic growth.
Establish your goals before the event
Within each industry, there are a variety of different event types, and as a result, the goals of them could be quite different. Are you looking to generate sales on the day? Is it just a brand awareness exercise? Perhaps you are looking to demo new products and secure some data capture? Maybe you want to hit all of these objectives. Focus on a primary goal. Trying to hit multiple goals can actually cause more difficulty to achieve just one.
Establish from the outset what the purpose of attending this exhibition is for both your business and the people visiting it. If it is for sales only, set a sales target. If it is for brand awareness, maybe a KPI based on visitors to your exhibition, data captures or POS successfully handed out. Once you have defined your key objective, you could move on to step two.
Find what makes you unique
Many of the exhibits at the event may well be offering a similar product to your own. You just need to make sure that attendees pick you over the other display stands. Working alongside the sales team, find a way that makes you stand out, your hook that lures people in. If you saturate your message with too much info, you could lose vital opportunities, dilute it too much and nobody will show any interest. Instead collaboratively come up with one key point that will then be used as a focus both before and during the event. Establish what you do better than the competitors, what makes your brand unique and what you can do consistently. Prepare a brief that works around this and your goals.
Use your events Sales Team
Involve your Sales Team as early as possible. Create a set of objectives based on the two points above and inform them of the expectations you have.
Incentivise them to meet or exceed the targets you set to ensure everyone is motivated. You could suggest that the Sales Team book appointments with potential clients at the show. Have them also create a lead follow-up plan. If a core objective is lead generation, you are going to want to follow those leads up! Getting the team to develop a follow-up plan will also mean that none of their hard work has gone to waste.
Analyse your other event attendees
Perhaps working hand in hand with the previously mentioned points, if you can assess your competitors, you may be able to discover what impact they are looking to create at the exhibition. Could you do better? Have you spotted a flaw in their business model? Have they got something that inspires you? If you can find out what they regularly do at exhibitions or what they aim to do at this one you could find yourself benefitting from their success or their failures.
Study the exhibitor list in advance, and research the competitors you find on it, from there a strong plan of attack can be developed to help make you make the impression you want.
In some instances, you could be positioned next to a brand much bigger than yours, this can seem overwhelming but the footfall heading towards their stand gives you a chance to gain new customers too.
Studying the competition can also benefit you in other ways. If you build relationships with them, either pre-event or during the event, you can customise your exhibition to fit around theirs. If you find their schedule, you can ensure demos do not clash.
Advertise your event attendance
Promoting an event before it starts is important, it can make the difference between event success, and event failure.
- Email marketing is just one way you can communicate with your audience, sending short, concise email blasts to attendees before the show can be quite effective. Make sure you include special offers or entertainment you are running at the show to entice them to visit, along with your stand number.
- Announce it on your website and email signatures, so new prospects know where to find you.
- Speak to the organiser of the event so you can piggyback on their marketing efforts. It is likely, the organiser will also provide some pre-show marketing tools to help you so make sure you take advantage of these. Let everyone know where you will be located at the event so they can find you easily.
- If there are industry forums online, see if your business is already a member. If they are, promote as a voice of authority that you will be at the exhibition. If your business is not on there, sign up. Simply commenting on posts, offering advice, and giving an authoritative voice works as a great form of free advertising.
Shout about the event on social media
If you’re not already using social media as part of your marketing strategy this might be the perfect time to start. If you’re already using social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn –you’ll know spreading the word can be easy. Find and use the hashtags relating to the event and the industry, discover other pages relating to the industry and post, comment or share about your attendance and what excitement you are bringing to the exhibition.
In addition, find the social pages for the event itself, and get involved with the buzz they are creating by commenting on their posts telling everyone of your attendance.
Photos and videos provide the most engagement on social media so in the run-up to the event, utilise them. Provide “behind the scenes” or “countdown to…” videos and intersperse them with information about what you are covering at the exhibition, the dates you will be there, your location and any standout info that makes you the brand people want to see.
When the event is live, continue to use your social media channels throughout the show and after to keep attendees and those not attending fully engaged.
If you are looking to create something special at an exhibition speak to our team at Nomadic Display, we are specialists in making you stand out as a brand. Whether it be with pop-up stands, exhibition kiosks or stunning exhibition display counters, we can make your presence at an event stand out. With fully bespoke design and installation capabilities, contact us today to see the difference we bring to your brand.
Take a look at our Guide to Pre-show Marketing for more ideas.