We have always take the long-term view with regard to exhibiting at trade shows in that it can bring benefits to your business and raise valuable awareness but that it should be weighed up with the costs involved before you invest your time and money and be part of your annual marketing strategy.
Trade Shows and Exhibitions give you the opportunity to meet directly with potential customers and generate leads but success is not always guaranteed as the people you may meet may not be in the market for your kind of products and services.
We do find that taking a stand at exhibitions gives us the opportunity to speak and network with other stand holders and this is often beneficial if you are a smaller business and other stand holders are of a similar size. The smaller companies will frequently have their Managing Director or Sales Director present, and it’s a great way to introduce yourself and start building a relationship.
Exhibitions are always an excellent way to raise your company profile and increase brand awareness and to make the most of this you should be using social media in the run-up to the exhibition to make the most of your online profile and increase followers. You may also find there are additional advertising and sponsorship opportunities that you can take advantage of when booking your stand.
Every business should be involved in some kind of networking, and trade shows are no exception. Shows are an ideal opportunity to learn about your competitors, find out about their new launches and what they might have in the pipeline that could have an impact on your business.
If your company is planning to launch a new service or a new product, then an exhibition could be the ideal opportunity and may provide an opportunity to discuss the benefits of the new service or product and the outcomes you hope to see.
It is highly likely that you will have competitors at shows and exhibitions. How can you stand out? You will need to make sure you have an eye-catching stand and some outstanding literature. Make sure it is all company branded and perhaps have some giveaways or sponsorship prizes to make sure your name has more impact on prospective customers than your competitors.
Consider your costs: stand space, design and build, travel, staff time, printing, sponsorship and giveaways. Book the right stand space – don’t get stuck in a corner where people may not find you easily.
Finally, do your research. Choose the right exhibition or trade fair. Check out if the speakers are big enough to attract the kind of delegates and/or footfall that you are looking for and follow up the event with some evaluation. The success of attendance and whether you have generated any good leads will give you the reasons to re-book or not for the following year.