Whether you are running a small business or a big enterprise, becoming part of a trade show is not only exciting and rewarding it is also back-breaking. Exhibitions are a great way to get in touch with your customers and receive instant feedback, showcase your new and existing products and services, exchange information, meet new customers and develop personal contacts.
Once you have booked your slot in a trade show or an exhibition, a tiring yet exciting drill starts. It’s best to jot down every single detail, big or small to avoid panic.
Making a check list is the best technique. It will not only save your time but will also help you stay on track. Here, I will try to put as many ideas as possible to help you get ready for your next exhibition.
10 Ways to Get Ready For Your Next Exhibition
- Select the trade show/exhibition with most potential as becoming part of right exhibition is half the success. Select trade shows that relate to your business.
- Allocate a budget to avoid inconvenience. You should have a hunch of expenses and profit you are going to get at the end. It is a possibility to get carried away while spending money on exhibition preps, so the best strategy is to stick to your budget.
- Send invitations: Start sending invitations a week before the big day. Doing it in a personal way would be beneficial for your exhibit. Send a hand signed invitation card to people whose attendance will actually matter. They can be customers, bloggers, journalists and suppliers. You can also send invites through emails or invite people in person.
- Marketing and advertising through social media, website, blog and newspaper can attract potential customers to your event. Get digital event posters made to put up on social media and printed posters for by- hand distribution.
- Promotional material: get your promotional material printed well in time. Business cards, brochures, leaflets, flyers, folders, banners and posters.
- Feedback forms are also an important part of promotional activity. Get feedback forms and surveys printed. To encourage people to fill in these forms, you can announce a prize as well.
- Display stand: You need to get attention of people in 3-5 seconds as trade shows are a busy place and it is difficult for people to give full attention to everything. People generally skim through the whole place and move towards the stand they get most attracted to. So your display stand should be consistent in design and colors with your brand identity and promotional material to get noticed.
- Signage: Attention grabbing signage can add to your exhibition stand’s visibility. Re-usable danglers & wobblers, roller and pop-up banners, flags and posters are not only attractive and informative but also cost effective.
- Promotional items and giveaways get attention more quickly than any other thing. They are a great way to thank your customers and offer a piece of your brand as take away. According to studies, the most appreciated promotional items are office accessories, USB drives and drink-ware then comes caps, T-shirts, mugs, key chains, cards and stickers. It is best to spend money on items that are good quality and durable.
- Sale offers and discount coupons are most effective ways to increase sales in trade shows and exhibitions. Free gifts and samples, discounted prices, discount coupons and vouchers, buy one get one free (BOGO) offers, customer retention programs and loyalty cards are all examples of sales promotions. Put these offers on your exhibition marketing/advertising printable material for an increased turn-out.
This is not the end. The last and most important step is evaluation and follow-up. Once the day of exhibition is over, you are packed and ready to go back home, you must evaluate the whole event. You need to check whether or not your goals have been met, you have made as much sales as you expected, how was the turn-out of customers, was the whole exercise worth it and should you be planning another exhibition or not. All these questions need to be answered at the end of the day. It is best to keep written record of everything for future reference.