Are you getting the most out of exhibitions?

The Exhibition season has arrived and with it comes a busy schedule of trade shows and events, including Education EstatesUK Construction Week and London Build Expo, all of which are taking place in October. Hundreds of businesses will therefore be getting ready to showcase their products and services to thousands of attendees that will be flooding the venues to find out more about the companies that are operating within their relevant sectors; be it construction, manufacturing, healthcare, or education amongst others.

Exhibiting at these shows is a big investment for any businesses, especially independent contractors and manufacturers, so you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of attending. Here are a few tips from our PR team on how you can make sure your time and money is well spent.

Take advantage of the exhibitor’s package

When you sign up to attend an exhibitions, you’re not just paying to rent a space at the event, you are also paying to showcase your business. Many event organisers will offer exhibitors free marketing on their website, within a show guide and in their exhibition mailers as part of this package. Make a point of asking your PR manager or the person in charge of your marketing and communications to ensure copy is supplied for inclusion in these long before the deadline, this will help you secure a good space.   

Gather as many details as possible

Be sure to collect contact details from as many visitors to your stand as possible. The stand has caught their eye for a reason and they’re interested to know more about your products and services, however at trade shows you often don’t get enough time to build a good relationship. The best way to do this is by contacting them afterwards to continue the conversation further.

A great way to help encourage visitors to pass on their business card is by running a competition. Place a ‘business card bowl’ on your stand, with the offer of the chance to win a prize if they put their card in. It’s simple and very effective. Shortly after the show has finished you should email or LinkedIn connect with all of the visitors that left a card to thank them for their interest and for entering the competition. Oh, and don’t forget to pick a winner!

Take the time to walk around

Make sure you have a rota of colleagues to do their stint on the stand during the event. Not only can it be exhausting managing a stand alone, but it also means you won’t have the chance to take a walk around. Visiting other stands is a great way to check out what your competitors are up to and connect with other companies and attendees whose services you may require at some point. It may also encourage them to drop by your stand to say hello again and repay the favour.

Everyone loves a freebie

Let’s face it, when people attend exhibitions one of the main things they like to do is stock up on the merchandise, whether it’s simply branded pens, pencils and notepads or product samples – we all like a freebie. So, as well as printed marketing materials such as brochures and leaflets, give away something else that will catch visitors eyes and make them want to step on to your stand. We recently attended an event where someone was giving away branded merchandise and a bag of retro pick ‘n’ mix. Although the sweets had nothing to do with the business, they enticed people to take a look and made them memorable. Plus, as the ‘goody bag’ also included a selection of branded stationery, including a coaster that now sits on our desks, we have the brand name to hand long after the trade show has finished.

Stay social

Finally, aim to update your social media channels before, during and after each day you are at the shows and include as many images as possible. A good start would be to share a photo of your stand all set up ready for the event to begin. Then half way through the day or when you have a good number of visitors to your stand, share another picture with something along the lines of ‘It’s a busy first day here at (exhibition hashtag), if you’re attending, pay us a visit on stand (number). Hurry we have a limited number of free (insert freebie details) but when they’re gone, they’re gone.’ This should make anyone that is following the event on social media aware of your presence and may make them consider stopping by to check out your stand.

Attending exhibitions and trade shows is a big task so it is essential that you and your company get as much out of them as you can. Preparation is key, so be sure to show up early and eager to showcase your goods and/or services with plenty of products and company information to hand.

If you’re attending an exhibition in the coming months and require help with your communication strategy and marketing materials including leaflets, brochures and branded merchandise, our PR and events team can help. Contact Dragonfly PR on 01709300130 or email hello@dragonflypr.co.uk for a chat about our exhibition support service.

Dragonfly PR is South Yorkshire based public relations agency that specialises in B2B PR and has expertise in the manufacturing and construction sectors. For examples of our previous work, visit http://dragonflypr.co.uk/casestudy.

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