Exhibitionists: How to Set Yourself Apart

In the UK alone, over 10 million people visit trade shows and business exhibitions every year, and 81% of the attendees are directly involved with the buying process within the company that they work for; proving that when conducted properly, these events can be an unrivalled in the face to face exposure that they give you to potential clients. Whether you are an established business or a brand new start up, there are certainly techniques to undertake when exhibiting that will give you an advantage over competitors and ensure you a ROI, read on to see our 5 tips to make the most of your exhibition.

Find below 5 tips that will leave your company name on people’s lips.

Research is Key

Prepare for a trade show with the same focus and attention to detail that you would apply to a one to one meeting with a client. We’ve already discussed that you will come into contact with the key figures that have the buying power in a business, so conduct in depth research on the businesses that will be attending. Beyond the business stats, go one step further and look into the core values of the businesses for extra depth; where possible, find out who is it from each business that is attending, look at their LinkedIn and Twitter, what are their professional achievement and personal preferences? This is a great way to start a genuine conversation and goes a long way to build a trusting relationship – the kind that build long term brand advocates and sustained business.

Story Time

Brand recognition relies on visual recognition; brand logo and brand colours namely, maybe a spokesperson or if you still use a radio jingle, then you may also command the ears. If you want to connect with the audience at an exhibition, you will need to grab their attention on a deeper level and retain it.

Shameless self-promotion is no longer being so readily accepted to an audience who have elevated expectations and a wealth of information available to them via the digital world. Tell the audience who you are, where your company was born and why; tell them about your struggles and your successes. Don’t tell them your forecast, tell them your values, fears and goals to gain their genuine interest and trust.

Standing Tall

The space that you command at the exhibition will say a lot about your business, and whilst in this digital revolution it is worthwhile making the most of digital and interactive displays and stands in your exhibition space.

Get creative with your brand colours by incorporating them into lighting, and try to engage with all of the senses and draw in a crowd with presentations that sound too. Exhibitions are a great opportunity for data capture if you are clever with it – Don’t opt for the business card swap, use modern hand held devices like iPads and tablets for interactive quizzes, slides or questionnaires that require the user to enter basic business details that will give you a valuable insight later on.

If you have booked meetings off the back of any research that has been carried out prior to the event, having a relaxed seating with some stylish furniture will give a great impression and provide a welcome refuge.

Say ‘No’ to the Trestle Table

Only the uncreative and the unorganised go with the outdated 6ft trestle table and 2 chairs, realistically because it says to others “I didn’t plan this properly” or even worse – that you don’t know the value of exhibiting. There’s no point in spending the time and money on some glossy leaflets if they are going to be placed on a trestle table.

Having a trestle table to hide behind creates a barrier between you and the attendees, preventing you from engaging with them. You need to put on your best extrovert face and be assertive, 51% of those that exhibit regularly at trade shows say that they truly value the opportunity to have face to face meetings at the events.

Ditch the Stress Ball.

Traditional give-aways are simply a waste of money; your branded stress ball or keyrings will lay unused in someone’s draw until the inevitable clear out happens.

Put some thought and effort into the items you will give away and how they will reflect on your company; opt for items that are high quality, practical and current. Branded power banks, phone stands and smart wallets all embrace the tech gadgets that are used daily. Branded USB sticks are not only useful, but you can upload any company presentations or quizzes that were being used at the event to keep all your efforts at the forefront of people’s minds.

It’s important that you have a clearly defined ‘follow up’ strategy to be undertaken in a set time frame after the event to ensure that your newly made connections are utilised.

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