Most companies will, at some point, be involved in an exhibition. Exhibitions provide a great platform to meet potential buyers and promote your company. When you invest time, money and resources it is important it is a success so here is a short guide to help you avoid some of the basic mistakes.
This three part guide is designed for the first time exhibitor. It will take you on the exciting journey from selecting an event through to successful participation and follow up. It will take you through the beginning, middle and end, the three parts of being an exhibitor.
Choosing an Event
Finding your target audience
All exhibitions are targeted towards a certain audience. And when attending your first exhibition you want to make sure it is the right one for your business. So to make sure you get the high quality and volume of visitors, check that the event visitor profile matches your list of prospects. If it is a new event, for example Smart Business Show you can ask their sales staff of the type of visitor that will be attending the show.
Who else is exhibiting?
You must check to see if your competitors are attending. If they are then it is most likely a positive sign, if not then you may be able to gain market share by tapping into new areas.
Getting the most out of a location
If your plan is to expand your business further throughout Ireland, UK or overseas, an exhibition located in these new areas can create a great opportunity to explore and create brand awareness.
Still not sure?
Still not sure, then why not attend as a visitor before committing. Exhibitions offer a unique sales platform in that all visitors have attended at their own accord; therefore they are more inclined to buy.
Point out your objectives
You will have a number of objectives in mind however you need to make sure they don’t clash or stretch the team by trying to achieve too much. Events can get pretty busy so you should include the event into your overall marketing campaign so that everyone is providing the same message. Be specific with your objectives so that they are easy measured, for example, make ten appointments, obtain six leads and meet with eight existing clients.
Inform the team
It is very important that you inform your sales team. After all they are the people who will be manning your stand the majority of the event. Visitors will see right through your product or service if all your team members are not fully briefed.
Types of Stands
A ‘Space Only’ stand is a marked out area on the floor for you to erect your own structure upon. There may be no other adjacent walls to use or to hang lights from. Bus stop name boards that are displayed on the top of stands to inform visitors of the company are not provided with space only stands. There are also the ‘Shell Scheme’ stands where you already have a basic structure where you can sell and promote your products or services. Shell Scheme stands are fully carpeted with aluminium uprights and fascias with bus stop name boards. Most shell scheme stands have an overall height of 2.5 metres with one metre wide PVC faced infill panels. For example Smart Business show provides a 5ft strip light included in their shell scheme, with sockets and additional lighting to be ordered prior to the show. Often you will have a choice over the number of open sides, for example when there are four open sides it is referred to as an ‘Island Stand’.
Booking the Space
Organisers of the event will most likely sell from a floor plan. (Example, Smart Business Show floor plan, see image) Stands will be sold from the floor plan on a ‘first come first served’ basis, so the earlier you book the better the choice of stand type and location you will have. When booking a stand from the floor plan you may want to keep a few things in mind.
Firstly ask the organiser where your competitors are situated. Secondly the feature areas will generate visitors so it is a good idea to locate as close as possible to them. And thirdly think of what you want to sell from your stand, how much storage you will need. For example if you are planning any activities on your stand then you will need to plan for your standing room along with your visitors who are observing. If you are having problems coming to terms with the size needed, most organisers will be able to advise weather the stand you have ordered will be sufficient for your activities.
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