1) What Exhibition to attend?
Make sure you research all the relevant exhibitions in your industry and get the organisers to send you their exhibitor information packs. These packs should contain important (and audited) information on the exhibition visitor numbers and demographics so you can be sure that your target audience visits that exhibition. You should also check the exhibitor list to see if your competitors are exhibiting already as that is normally a good indication that the show is delivering the correct audience.
2) Exhibition stand Location
Getting the right exhibition stand location can be the difference between an average exhibition and a fantastic exhibition. When selecting your position you want to make sure your exhibition stand location delivers maximum visitor footfall so look at stand locations that are:
- Open on more than one side to increase visibility to passing visitor traffic
- Located on main aisles and visitor thorough fares
- Close to popular visitors features (e.g. seminar theatres, bars, cafés etc)
- Close to main entrances, exits or registration areas
MEMS would recommend you book your exhibition stand as early as possible to give you the best choice of stand locations. The later you leave it, the less choice you will get.
3) Define your exhibition objectives in advance
You need to have clear objectives on what you want to get out of the exhibition as this gives your staff a clear target to aim for and allows you to bench mark shows against each other in the future. Examples of these include:
- What products/services will you be demonstrating
- How many sales leads do you expect to take away from the exhibition
- What level of ROI are you expecting to achieve from the exhibition
4) Train your sales team
It’s really important to provide your sales team with some basic training on how to conduct themselves on the exhibition stand and how to approach and deal with clients at the exhibition. They should be given clear daily lead targets, clear instruction on how to qualify the sales leads and also how to log the sales leads correctly.
5) Exhibition stand design
The design of your exhibition stand will be critical to the success of the event. You need to have a clear idea of what products / services you want to demonstrate and how you are going to demonstrate them. All graphics should be simple, easy to read and not too text heavy. When a visitor walks past your stand and glances over they immediately should be able to know who the company is and what products / services are on offer.
6) Pre-exhibition marketing
As exhibitions are normally very expensive to exhibit at you want to make sure you are doing everything possible to maximise the ROI you get from the trade show. Pre-show marketing should form part of your exhibition strategy by letting both your customers and prospects know that you will be exhibiting at that specific trade show and inviting them to come and meet you. Different forms of pre-show marketing include:
- Direct Mail - Sent via post to your client and prospect database two weeks before the exhibition. (letters, flyers etc.)
- Email Marketing – Send out an email to your client and prospect database two weeks before the exhibition.
- Telemarketing – Call your customers and prospects to let them know you will be at the exhibition and start to arrange meeting times for your sales team.
- Website – Advertise the fact that you will be exhibiting on the home page of your website.
- Email Signatures – Make sure all staff have ‘Come see us on stand number……’ on their email signatures.
You will also be able to target the visitor database of the exhibition by contacting the organisers directly and asking about their various sponsorship opportunities.
7) Post exhibition follow up
After the exhibition has finished you need to make sure that all sales leads have been logged, allocated to a sales person and are being followed up properly. Shortly after the show has finished you should email all the visitors that came onto your exhibition stand to thank them for their interest. Then over the following weeks the sales team should be calling them to arrange meetings. All sales that originated from the exhibition should be tracked to allow you to properly assess the success of the show and gauge whether it’s worth your company returning to that exhibition the following year.