How to succeed at events and trade shows in 10 simple steps for all exhibitors
When attending an exhibition you need to have a clear plan on how you want the event to go.
What to expect from an exhibition? What can a trade show give you? What are your competitors planning to do? What strategies can you use to make the event the most successful for your company? How to stand out from the crowd at a trade show? How will you follow up after the event is finished? These are just a few examples of what you should consider before attending a trade show, especially if you are not experienced in events.
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We thought of giving you some suggestions we find useful on how to make the most of exhibiting or even attending events such as exhibitions, trade shows or conferences. Here it goes:
1. Define your goals
It could sound too simple but this is vital to take any further step ahead. Your intentions have to be clear and you have to share them with your team. Your event goals could be:
- Increased revenue
- Brand Awareness
- Data Capture
- New business partners, such as wholesalers, suppliers, distributors or even investors, why not!
Remember, your goal needs to be:
2. Define your budget
This is based on your goals. You need to consider all factors, as the event price is not just that of the exhibition stand itself. You should take into consideration the cost of attendance, build-up, products shipping, personnel overnight stay and any marketing cost to sponsor your presence at the show (with online and offline marketing tools).
This Event Budget Template will definitely help you.
3. Choose the right team
Once you decided your goals and budget, it is very important to involve the right people and create your action plan where it is clearly stated each one’s roles, responsibilities, and timings for the whole team. For example, if you are attending an international show, does your team speak the right languages? You might need hiring someone external like promotional models to invite visitors at your stand, brand ambassadors to distribute leaflets and flyers, data capture and lead generation to collect potential customers info or multilingual hostesses to simply take a message if nobody is available at the stand for example for those French and Italian only speaking clients, so you won’t lose any possible sale.
These external professionals can be hired through an Event Staffing Agency. The best agencies only work with professional that do events for a living, which took part in thousands of shows, and probably participated in your exhibition once or twice already. When briefed about your company event staff can temporarily be part of it and help you create a successful outcome of the show.
4. Marketing and communication plan
To support your attendance at the event you will need a communication plan defining and describing each goal, its activities and deadlines. For example newsletters, social media, advertising or leaflets just to name a few. It is fundamental to establish in advance what you want to achieve and when. The competition at trade shows is high. You want to stand out from the crowd and be noticed. Therefore a basic brand image won’t help you achieve that. You should look into a graphic design studio that is specialised in such events, with a clear a thorough study on the image you want to transmit to your audience.
5. Analyse and choose the right promotional material
Communication at the stand is not just up to the stand team. It is, in fact, important to prepare in advance with care using the right tools:
- Price lists
- Videos and multimedia
- Promotional articles (corporate and business gifts, branded clothing…)
- Business cards
- PowerPoint and Keynote design
6. Stand image
Your main goal during an event is that of capturing visitors’ attention making them curious. If your stand is not extremely visible, all your communication plans will be useless. Create a stand with a specific theme, with a good balance between originality and quality, using the emotional factors that the right graphics and words can play. It could also mean choosing the right uniform for the event, based on your product or service style. Ask yourself questions like what do you want to transmit to my audience during the show? What are visitors expecting to see at the show? Are potential clients more interested in innovation or tradition?
7. Let your contacts know your presence at the event using for example:
- Press release;
- Blog posting;
- Social media;
Before attending the exhibition you can enrich your chosen communication tool with the event logo or your marketing strategies. This will highlight your brand and people will know you will attend the event.
8.Create a memorable experience
Try to engage with people, inviting them to visit your stand, organising all kinds of entertainment activities like contests, presentations, workshops or product demonstrations. These are just a few examples of what you can do to be noticed among the other hundreds if not thousands of exhibitors. You need to be creative, dynamic and engaging to distinguish yourself. If you are not experienced in events, consider temporarily hiring a professional that can join your core team during the event and help you have a successful outcome.
9. Organise the stand space
Your stand, or booth for our US readers, needs to be welcoming, easy to access to, spacious enough to meet your clients. It is also very useful to create a checklist of what you need. Here just a few essentials examples:
- Paper sheets
- Computer and other devices with their accessories,
- Cleaning products for that extra sparkle
10. Maximise social impact
Social media represents a big part of the event planning and they are all a big opportunity to take advantage of. Every company that knows how to use the power of Social Media can, of course, increase their revenue but can especially build up a dialogue with their clients and create new leads, which means new potential buyers. That allows you not just to reach more clients at once but even abroad contacts and virtually meet before actually set an appointment during the exhibition you might both attend.
There are many different scenarios at trade shows, depending on the industry, on the event itself and your company and PR skills. Attending an exhibition sure is an investment and if you set your strategy the right way it’s the best marketing plan to increase your revenue and ROI. It is very different from the office environment and can be very tiring if you are not used to it. Why risk it? Get external help from event experts. However make sure you select a professional event staffing agency, check who they work with, their reviews and don’t go for the cheapest one.
We all know cheap does not correspond to quality, for any sector. If you do, that might result in actually losing money, as you will pay for an unprofessional service and that will make you look unprofessional too to the eyes of your clients! Imagine someone looking bored, with poor language skills and inexperienced. That’s what you normally get at a cheaper price. Surely you and nobody else wants it!
At Rox Event Staff Limited we love working in events and each one of us is passionate about a different kind of event: trade shows, conferences, gala dinners, product launches, festivals, marketing campaigns…you name it and we love it!
Feel free to get in touch for a friendly chat about your event.