When preparing to participate in an exhibition, it is best to regard the event as a promotional campaign for your business. A proper amount of planning will ensure that your participation in the event is a success. The process begins by reading the exhibitor guide properly, filling out and (promptly) returning the forms, and beginning your planning process.
We’re sharing our experience to help guide you through a three-step process that will help increase the visibility of your business, making your time at an exhibition a success.
Prior to the Exhibition
Take the time to consider precisely why you are participating in the event. Generally, companies participate for one of the following three reasons:
- To increase visibility
- To establish credibility
- To enhance business via new customers and partnerships/networking
Once that has been determined, decide on the best way for you to capitalise on your participation. This will mean determining your objectives and then prioritising them so that you can determine what you will do on the day/s of the exhibition. When doing so, consider the following aspects:
- Stand Design – ensure that it properly reflects your respective brand while being open and approachable
- Fun – Draw visitors your way with: quizzes, giveaways, contests, games, gadgets and more.
- Maximise attendance – Don’t just camp out at your stand; speak with organisers for additional opportunities to promote your business.
An integral part of preparing for the event is your budget. You will need to create a budget and then become diligent in sticking to it and NOT exceeding it. Be certain to share your participation in the exhibition via social media as well as via press releases to journalists. If your company has a website, be certain to include information regarding the event as well as your location at the event on your site. Additionally, you will need to prepare your team for the event, and be clear on what everyone’s roles/responsibilities are. The following guidelines will help you with your team preparation:
- Only include those that truly want to participate
- Include team members in the planning process for the event
- Schedule breaks for everyone during the event
- Consider incentives for team members
- Establish arrival times, event conduct, and dress code
During the Event
The morning of the event, prior to the doors opening to the public, it is good to have a quick team huddle. This will ensure that all members of the team understand their roles, the goals for the day and more. Be sure to be on the stand when the event officially opens to the public and begin to greet and engage.
In regards to stand etiquette, it is best to adhere to the following:
- Organize badges in advance and plan to collect them as early as possible.
- Keep your stand clean and clear of bags and boxes.
- Do NOT drink or eat at the stand in a manner that is visible to the public.
- Take breaks regularly to rest your feet and remain properly hydrated.
- Always smile and appear approachable.
- NEVER leave the stand unattended.
After the Exhibition
To ensure that your participation is a success, you will need to follow-up and evaluate. This will entail you qualifying your leads into three categories that include cold, warm and hot. Leads that have been categorized as hot will need to be contacted quickly. It is best to begin contacting leads one week following the event.
Additionally, you will need to consider the following:
- Evaluate what was achieved at the event: sales, lead generation, level of brand awareness, and customer retention.
- Ask yourself and the team what would you do differently. What worked well? What worked poorly?
It is also a good idea to share any feedback that you received regarding the event with its organizers.
Successful participation in an exhibition involves a great amount of planning, if this seems overwhelming, our experienced team are more than happy to help before, during and after the event. A smooth routine you not only keep your personal stress levels down, but also will lead to enhanced profit margins, increased clientele and more.