Exhibitions can be very rewarding for a business; I should know I’ve manned many a stand on my own over periods of more than a day, but they can be tiring and require careful planning to ensure you have the best chance of achieving your return on investment. Follow these tips and smash your ROI at your next event.
- Decide what you want to achieve and how will you do this? Plan, plan, plan.
Know your services and products and ensure anyone manning your stand does the same. Brief your helpers to write down details and offer to follow up afterwards. Decide what your main focus will be for the day and make it visual – demonstrate a product or run a slide show.
- Share Share Share – tell your customers, suppliers, family and friends that you will be exhibiting. Include the date, time, entry details and your stand number. Link it to your website and the Expo webpage; post on Facebook, Instagram, Tweet it; tell your LinkedIn communities and use the event hashtag if you have one; email out a newsletter; set up an event on Facebook; put posters up in your office or shop and flyers in your carrier bags.
- Run a competition – have forms to enter including name, company and email details so that you can stay in touch. Have a tick box or poster to gain permission for sending them your newsletter. A bowl for business cards is a quick way and ensures you can actually read the contact details! If you want to gain useful leads, offer a prize that resonates with your business – giving away a holiday when you want to sell carpet cleaner does not attract your ideal client!
- 30 second pitch – prepare and learn an elevator pitch that clearly says what you do, why and your point of difference. Take a written copy with you to refer to if your mind goes blank!
- Plan your stand – map out your stand to the correct measurements and order and fixtures and graphics you need. Make it clear and easy to understand from 5 meters away. Stick to your branding and give your stand an identity. Plan your clothes to match the feel you want to achieve and wear a name badge – branded of course.
- Think of questions or comments you will use to stop visitors walking past your stand. Engage them, what can you offer them, what they will gain from stopping to talk to you – avoid closed questions. Walk out into the aisle to greet people; don’t expect them to come to you. Remember to network with other stand holders in any quiet times.
- Lists and more lists – write down everything you need for the day as you will not want to be leaving your stand. Tables, stand, display counters, leaflets, pens, competition entry box, business cards, a stapler and a way of collecting details etc. How will affix posters? Holders for leaflets and forms for visitors to fill in on clipboards in case you are busy talking with another visitor.
- Setting up – give yourself plenty of time and plan how to move those heavy items. Perhaps organise some help for set up in advance, it may save the odd bad back of two!
- On the day - have fun - wear comfortable shoes and take a water bottle with you.
- After the Expo - Follow Up
Lindsey Carroll MCIM
Lindsey is the owner of Outbox Ltd, an award winning online marketing company, which specialises in MailChimp e-newsletters and website creation. She uses cloud based software to help businesses both in New Zealand and worldwide. Lindsey is listed by MailChimp as one of their Experts and Partners. You can read more about Outbox services at: www.outbox.co.nz