How to make the most of business exhibitions
Posted on 11th August 2023
Digital marketing is a powerful tool but, like a haircut, you can’t easily have an authentic face to face discussion via the internet.
When you attend a business event or take the time to create an inviting exhibition stand, you’ll meet, connect and build rapport with new people.
We understand and appreciate the time and money you invest, so here are some tips to help you make the most of business exhibitions.
Take the long view
It takes time and energy to plan how you will take full advantage of the opportunities on offer at a business event. You can invite customers and contacts to come along with you, for example. Why not reach out to people you don’t know on social media or directly to ask if they’re coming along? Book in to seminars and networking opportunities where you can meet people with similar interests.
Don’t only think about the sales you can make on the day. The important thing is to think about how the people you talk to can add long-term value to your business. You might meet someone who will later become your best customer. Make sure you collect everyone’s contact details and take notes about their interests so you can keep in touch. You might also find new suppliers to help you develop your own business and potential business partners too.
Do your research
Many business event organisers are happy to talk about the types of people attending. This can help you decide if it will be more useful to visit or exhibit. You can also set goals for your involvement, like reaching new audiences or collecting information about product development.
Take a good look at the event programme to see if the speakers and workshops are likely to attract the people you want to meet. You can ask the organisers about their marketing strategy and the follow-up processes they have planned.
There’s every chance you’ll meet new customers at an event. However, you need to take a realistic view of your return on investment. If you’re too focussed on making immediate sales you could lose valuable opportunities to find out more about people’s needs.
Take a genuine interest in other people, learn about their challenges, and ask for their business card. You can also collect valuable feedback on what people know about your business and how you can improve your marketing.
Set achievable objectives
Setting achievable objectives is essential. Then you can leave the event with a clear sense of success. You might set yourself a goal to book a specific number of follow-up meetings. You could identify specific types of businesses you want to contact.
If you set a sales objective make sure you are clear about the steps involved to achieve it. This will help you define the marketing materials you’ll need, promotional items and offers, and what to ask in return.
If you’re going to give away promotional items make sure they have a clear link to your business. Think about useful gifts and try to use recycled materials, which is always a good talking point.
Have a clear message
Before you take part in an event, think about the message you would like people to take away with them. You might only have a few moments to catch their interest when they ask: “What do you do?”. Make sure your response prompts them to ask another question, like: “How does that work?”. Be consistent across all your marketing to build on these unique opportunities to meet people face to face.
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