Taking part in an exhibition for the first time can be a daunting experience for anyone, big company or small. But if you prepare in the right way the results you can get out of that experience can be invaluable. Read on for some valuable tips for planning and attending your first exhibition.
What’s the Purpose?
Why are you participating? Are you looking to raise awareness for your brand? Promote your products and services, network, research competition? If you have a clear and defined list of things that you are looking to achieve you can then plan how to fulfil these purposes.
Let’s say you want to do all of the above, in this case you will need to research your competitors and any professionals and speakers that will be attending. I mean thoroughly research everything you can about the key people.
I find when I attend design and marketing conferences, I try and look at the key people first, their Linked In profiles, company profiles, I even look at Company House to see who the big players are to see if there’s any business interest there.
Slightly stalker-ish but hey, it’s all legal and I like to be prepared!
Then of course look at what you can bring to the table. How can you differentiate yourself from the other companies attending, from the range of products and services you offer through to the way you present them.
If you are working with a big budget maybe look at creating a custom exhibition stand that you can re-use, something you think will look great and help you to stand out.
Here’s an Example…
At one exhibition my friends and I created a page on our then company web site with custom games that basically ripped off Tetris, Space Invaders and so on, but with quirky twists on them, and we set up a projector and a controller on a PC for people to play them.
We also had another screen displaying a page on the web site that allowed our visitors to get an online quote for web design and marketing packages.
When someone created a quote we could then discuss it with them and price the work accordingly.
This went down really well and we managed to convert around 15 leads out of 25 over a 2-day exhibition. Not bad!
This example is slightly out there, but the goal was to showcase our work, engage people with the games, create a dialogue and then go through what they wanted out of a website and marketing package, produce quotes and convert to sales.
Once you have researched and planned what you are presenting and how you are presenting it, the rest should be easy.
I find that as long as I have all of the knowledge and means I can possibly have, I have less to worry and be nervous about, because I already know what I’m talking about. The rest is just engaging the people you need to engage.
For the engagement part I had the support of my colleagues/friends in case I found the conversation going stiff or if I was thrown off by a random question that they could then pick up. I was nervous of course the first time, but because I knew everything I needed to about what I could offer, my industry and my competitors, that relaxed me and gave me confidence.