Exhibition season has arrived - are you prepared?

Trade shows are a great way to showcase your brand, products and services as well as meeting new contacts and potentially securing new business. However, they can also be extremely time consuming and exhausting and that’s even before the actual event takes place.

Here, we provide our top tips on how to make sure you’re fully prepared to tackle exhibition season head on and that you’re making the most of the opportunities the shows present before, during and afterwards.

Stand out from the crowd

The design of your stand is probably the most important aspect to consider, it is the first thing that the delegates will see and what will entice them into finding out more about your business. It needs to be simple, but informative and eye-catching, which is why we would always advise working with a reputable stand designer.

As most exhibitions don’t provide you with a lot of storage space, you also need to ensure that if you’re handing out products/merchandise, you have somewhere to put them, such as a cupboard or “back office”. You also need to decide what furniture you will need, where it will be placed and what, if any, branding you will need to include on them - again this is something a good designer can help with. It’s worth appointing someone from your team that has a keen eye for detail and strong copywriting skills, to oversee this crucial task.

Give the delegates something to take away

Marketing materials and branded merchandise are two things that must be on every exhibitor’s check list. Good quality business cards, information booklets, flyers and leaflets that provide a summary of your services are informative items that a delegate can take away with them for future reference. Including branded merchandise such as a free pen or USB memory stick will not only be of good use to them but will also act subtle reminder of your business long after the show has finished.

Other useful items to consider for your stand include roller banners, flags and posters, they help showcase your business, make your space look informative and as they’re also re-useable, they’re a cost-effective option.

Note: It’s always good to shop around, so be sure to contact a few printing and merchandise companies to get a quote; but remember, lead times can vary so make sure the products are going to reach you with time to spare.

Share some exciting news

If you have a big announcement to make or will be showcasing a new product or service, don’t keep it to yourself, let people know and in particular the media. Most trade magazines will run an exhibition preview the month before the trade show takes place and will be looking for news from exhibitors about what they can expect to see.

A couple of months before the show contact the editors and find out what they are looking for, then send them the details. Better still, offer them one of your free tickets and invite them to come along and find out more in person.

Alternatively, a PR company that specialises in B2B like Dragonfly, can help. We will draft, distribute and follow up a pre-event or post-event press release to ensure you get the exposure and recognition you deserve, before, during and after the show has taken place.

Spread the word

Make sure people know that you’re going to be at the show. Put together a social schedule that shares details of your attendance, stand number and what your plans are for the event and start posting a few weeks beforehand. We would also advise posting updates during the show to keep your followers abreast of how the event is unfolding. Remember to include the dedicated show hashtag in all of your tweets so everyone attending can also keep up to date.

It’s also a good idea to contact your clients and potential customers to inform them that you’re going to be there and, as some organisers offer a small number of free tickets to exhibitors, you could give them to loyal customers or potential clients that you’re looking to meet with.

Get the audience involved

A great way to draw attention to your stand is to run a competition or giveaway to win either one of your products (if possible) or even a simple wine/chocolate hamper. Ask people to enter by swapping one of their business cards for yours or ask them to leave an email address and business details; that way you can collect their contact details without the hard sell.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to have a dedicated exhibition team on hand to do all of this for you, Dragonfly PR can help. Our exhibition support service include drafting and designing a stand and marketing materials, social media maintenance and support with media relations and client invitations. Email hello@dragonflypr.co.uk or call 01709 300130 for more information.

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