There are some wonderful trade exhibitions, consumer shows and conferences ahead of us in the coming autumn months. Here’s how YOU can get the most out of exhibiting your company at any of them…
Firstly, you’ll need to find the right show for you. This will require a little bit of legwork. Search on Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and trade magazines for your industry to find out when and where the appropriate shows are being held. It’s also worth trying exhibition centre websites for upcoming show listings, we’ve included a few useful links below. Next you’ll need to know how much it will cost you to exhibit at this particular event. Don’t forget to factor in additional costs like travel and hotel accommodation if the show is running a long way away from your own business location. Other useful information to consider is how many people attended last year’s show? Do the show dates clash with any major sporting event or other big occasion? If it’s a new show, are the organisers offering any special discounts to prospective exhibitors?
OK, so you’ve selected the right show for you – now you need to make your business literately STAND out from the rest of the noisy crowd. This is where a professional printing and design service like Solopress can really help you out. Eye-catching banners and posters extolling the virtues of your company’s products or services will help attract people to your stand. Bold, bright and creative are the three keywords for the best approach to employ when it comes to your exhibition stand branding and design. Subtlety rarely pays dividends in these venues.
Why not also include a QR code on everything you print? These are the little black and white squares, similar to a barcode, which you see on billboards and suchlike when you’re out and about. People simply point their mobile phone camera at them and they will automatically re-direct the phone’s web browser to your own company’s website, Facebook page or wherever you’d like people to find out more info about you.
Once you’ve grabbed people’s attention, approach these visitors in a friendly manner. Never go for the hard sell of your products or services. Start up a polite but interesting conversation like you would with any stranger, and listen to their answers. Always be helpful. However, that’s just the basics of how you should interact with the visitors. To really make an impact, you’ll need to do lots more.
Organise a competition on your stand. That way, you’ll be able to gather as many people’s details as possible for future reference. The best results are achieved by applying the quickest and easiest methods for people to enter the contest. The most popular choice at exhibitions is to ask people to leave their business card in a big glass bowl so they will automatically enter a free prize draw.
If you are feeling more ambitious, try running a fun game – such as a quiz or maybe something more akin to a game you’d play at a funfair like crazy golf putting or a shooting range. Run these games at regular intervals throughout the day. People laughing, shouting and crowding around to see what’s happening will soon create a buzz and even more visitors to your stand.
Hire a celebrity, models or performers to be a part of your stand to entertain and, more importantly, pull in the passers-by. Just be careful about who your target audience or customers are. The days of the busty booth babe may, sadly, still be a reality for some exhibition promoters but such scantily clad ‘lovelies’ wouldn’t be much of a hit at a feminist political gathering or young business women conference. Unless you attempt an ironic twist for some added free publicity. Warning: Think very carefully of any possible consequences beforehand if you DO try a PR stunt like this.
Before they leave your stand, make sure any visitors don’t go away empty handed. It could be anything from your business card, leaflet or brochure to a promotional keepsake like a printed notepad, keyring, CD, balloon, T-shirt or goody bag for them to stuff all their ‘expo loot’ into. Better still, how about offering some free, tasty popcorn – in a box prominently displaying your brand or website link on it. People will then inadvertently be advertising your company around the whole show and surrounding location, not just on your stand!
Nobody can resist collecting neat paraphernalia at expos, it’s all part of the show experience – and it is also a great way to keep your company in mind long after the show has ended.
It’s not just the show visitors who can put new business your way. Journalists will be looking for fresh and interesting stories to tell their readers. If the exhibition or conference has a press office, you should drop off lots of copies of your press release before the show opens its doors to the press and general public. This press release should talk about your company’s latest products or services – plus the times and details for any special events that you’ve got planned during the duration of the show itself. Don’t forget to include your contact name and stand number, so the reporter can follow up this news lead in person.
An added touch of class will be achieved if your press release and other marketing materials are placed inside a nicely presented folder. Furthermore, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be creative to help get yourself noticed amongst the racks of press packs. You could, for example, ask your commercial printer like Solopress to diecut these press releases or folders into special shapes that will instantly identify your company’s branding, products or services.
Always remember to include a DVD, USB memory stick or website download address in your press pack folder too – as members of the media and online bloggers will also need instant access to digital, high resolution copies of your images and other printed material for their articles. Many PR folk just leave a digital version of a press kit in the press office. This is a big mistake. Ideally, the savvy marketing person should provide both the printed and digital variants of a press pack. Journalists will usually browse through press releases while they enjoy a coffee and bagel in the quiet and comfort of the press office lounge. It’s here where they decide on what stands to visit first. It’s quicker and more convenient for them to read the printed version of your PR blurb – and show other colleagues – as they enjoy their caffeine hit.
Fellow exhibitors could equally become customers of yours too. Talk to them! There are usually a plethora of pubs, restaurants and hotels nearby any exhibition or conference. Have plenty of cool looking business cards at hand – or some of the new trendy mini business cards – ready to give out to everyone you meet. When the show closes for the day, proper networking and parties begin.
It’s also worth considering the people who can’t physically visit the exhibition or conference. You could post photos and videos of the event on your Facebook page and YouTube channel. Or stream a live video feed from your stand. That’s where those funfair games we mentioned earlier could really come into their own. Ask people to Tweet about your stand or company on Twitter, using a special #hashtag of your choice in every message, for a chance to win a prize. Clever use of social media is a terrific and cheap way to get your message across to the widest possible audience. If you prefer a more sombre, business-like approach you can host your own short presentations on your stand to attract people from the show floor and online. These could be a combination of helpful hints and tips for your industry sector or customers – along with Q&A (question and answer) sessions.
Remember, first impressions count in business as well as your social life. Ensure your company looks and acts like a winner at all times – without any unnecessary arrogance or pretence – and you’ll have a very successful show.
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From brochures and posters to exhibition stands and leaflets, Solopress print everything you need to successfully exhibit your company at any trade expo, consumer show or business conference. We also offer a professional and creative design service should you need it.