If you fail to plan, then you should plan to fail. Quite simply, the importance of planning your exhibition marketing strategy should never be underestimated.
Importance of planning an exhibition marketing strategy
Exhibition marketing is one of the most effective tools you have in your marketing toolbox. Exhibitions afford you the opportunity to network with potential, new and existing clients and customers face to face, and to increase your sales opportunities.
An exhibition is also a fantastic place to launch a new product or to showcase your existing wares, products or services.
Without planning, how are you going to successfully execute your exhibition marketing strategy? Not only will you be going into the process blind, but you will also not know what you need to measure to find out if your exhibition has been a success or not.
1. Set goals.
Before you begin planning anything, know what it is you hope to achieve at your exhibition. I.e. do you want to make X number of sales, gain X% more exposure, get X more sign ups to your newsletter?
2. Figure out a budget.
Once you know what you hope to achieve at your exhibition, you can work out how much it is going to cost you. As a rough guide, exhibiting at a B2B exhibition will typically account for approximately 39% of a B2B annual budget.
3. Pick your staff.
Who you have working with you will impact how successful you are at your exhibition. Decide what your goals are first and from there you can work out who is best placed to help you achieve these.
4. Plan your stand.
Once you know what you hope to get out of the exhibition, you can then design a stand that will help you reach your goals.
Do you want a bespoke stand? Curved walls? A pop up stand? Think about what messaging you want your exhibition stand to convey about your company and go from there.
Your budget will play a large part in deciding how much you spend on your exhibition stand.
5. Generate a buzz.
Almost 70% of exhibition attendees will plan their day before they hit the exhibition. So make sure you’re on the radar of all delegates.
Let people know via all your channels – social media, email marketing, newsletters, flyers etc that you’ll be attending the show and what you’ll be offering.
6. Follow up.
Don’t let any lead generation efforts go to waste. If you’ve spent the last few days garnering as many new leads as possible, figure out how to make contact with people as quickly as you can, to maximise on their interest in you. Because once you’re out of sight, you’re out of their mind.
So how do you attract delegates to your stand when you’re at the exhibition?
5 exhibition marketing ideas
If you hope to attract delegates to your exhibition stand you’re going to need a novel approach, one that not only attracts potential customers but also highlights what a fresh, modern company you are.
- Draw on your inbound digital marketing ideas. You want to give passersby an idea of what your company is all about, so create a stand design that clearly and easily states what you do.
- Make your booth attractive and approachable. Offer delegates coffee and showcase your products whilst you share a cup of java.
- Harness social media. Rarely do people step away from their devices and their connections to social media, even at an exhibition, so take advantage of this. Get in front of delegates through their social media channels by using the hashtags that the exhibition might have created for the event. Or create your own hashtags and start a trend.
- Exhibition only offers. Create a draw with an expiration date on offers. Give delegates a special ‘exhibition discount’ that is only available for a certain time period. Or if you think longer term, what about offering a discount if they sign up for your newsletter?
- Give people a place to rest. Exhibitions can be exhausting, so offer people a chair and a place to sit down for five minutes. This can be your point of difference – a safe harbour in a storm.
Now, once you’ve drawn people in, what are the best ways to convert them to sales?
How to maximise sales at an exhibition
So now that you’ve attracted people to your stand at the exhibition, you need to think about how you can best capitalise on maximising sales.
- Measure ROI. Figure out in advance what a successful exhibition will look like for your company in terms of ROI, in pounds and pence. By knowing what you hope to achieve you can then break down how to reach this success through setting goals. Make sure you include all expenditures to do with the event, from venue hire to staff costs.
- Be attractive. Make sure your exhibition stand sets you apart from the competition.
- Include a call to action. There is no point in exhibiting if you don’t tell delegates what you want them to do after the show. Research shows that only 20% of exhibitors use a call to action.
- Shout about your benefits. How will potential customers know why you’re different from the competition if you don’t tell them, or make it abundantly clear?
- Train your staff. If you want to maximise sales at an exhibition, then you need to ensure that your staff are fully trained up and know what their role is on the day. They need to know all about your brand and the products or services you are selling on the day.
- Engage visitors. Make sure that everything you do at your exhibition all ties into converting visitors to sales. Ask your sales team where they think potential pitfalls are.
- Engage your staff. Give staff incentives to be their best, don’t assume that everyone is as invested in your company as you are. Set goals and prizes for staff who generate the most leads or who make the most sales. Give staff regular breaks. Always recognise the hard work your staff have put in.
If you have any questions regarding your exhibition marketing strategy, or if you need help designing an exhibition stand, do get in touch with us at Temporary Walling Systems.