Jumping into your first exhibition without a plan or strategy is the equivalent of setting yourself up for failure. As a first-time exhibitor, there are a few things you need to take into account.
Here are a few steps and some major checkpoints that you need to consider when preparing for your first exhibition.
1. Set Your Goals
Setting goals and objectives is an important part of starting off any process including this one. As an entrepreneur, you probably have some ideas and goals in mind as to what you hope to achieve by participating in the trade show.
Many businesses aim to generate more leads and business or to create a great brand impression. Make sure that you have a clear picture of what you are aiming for. This will keep you on the right track. Moreover, this will also help you develop strategies accordingly to achieve your objectives.
2. Set a Budget
This is probably the most pivotal aspect of any marketing activity. Participating in exhibitions can be pretty expensive; hence, your financial resources are extremely important. Moreover, the money you spend on your participation also defines how you come across to your target audience. If you intend on just pushing stuff through rather than investing your time and resources appropriately, you might come off as a stingy company in front of your audience.
Your exhibition stand is one of the most integral and expensive aspects of your participation. However, it is not mandatory for you to buy one. You can easily rent an exhibition stand to save money. This will also give you some extra room to utilize your budget for different activities.
Many participants make the mistake of not setting up a budget. This only results in extra costs and expenses without any expected returns.
3. Select a Trade Show and Location
The location and type of trade show you are participating in plays a vital role in attracting the appropriate target audience. Some major trade shows tend to have a fixed venue where they repeatedly host shows year after year. While these exhibitions often draw the largest audiences, they are also pretty costly to participate in.
The best thing to do is to research trade shows well in advance. Not only will this ensure that you participate in a well-known show, but it will also give you the opportunity to avail early bird discounts. This will also help ensure that you don’t overspend at the last moment.
4. Prepare Your Staff
Your staff and employees are a vital element that will help determine the success of your exhibition participation. A trade show isn’t like any other marketing activity; face-to-face customer interaction means you’re required to be on top of your game.
You need to select the sales and marketing members you intend to send to the trade show very carefully. They are the ones who are going to establish a connection between your business and potential customers; hence, they are vital to achieve your ultimate goal.
Training your staff involves brushing up their skills and preparing them before the actual event. Their training should include teaching them how to address visitors’ concerns, managing the stand and handling emergency situations.
5. Develop Marketing Materials
While face-to-face interaction with your customers is necessary, it is also important that they remember you long after they leave the event. This is why it is super-important to develop marketing materials such as brochures, flyers, etc. These materials help reinforce brand recall and provide your customers with a way to stay in-touch with you.
Apart from the obvious marketing materials to keep at your stand, you can also engage your audience through digital marketing. Keep your social media platforms updated to let your audience know you are participating in a trade show. Moreover, don’t forget to list your contact information and social media handles on the brochures and flyers.
6. Develop a Lead Generation Plan
The main objective of participating in any trade show is lead generation. You wouldn’t even consider participating in an exhibition if you knew that you weren’t going to get more leads. In order to meet this goal, you need to make sure that you have a solid lead generation plan in place. From posting about your participation on your website to designing business cards and even giving away branded freebies, you need to consider everything you need to add to your plan.
You can also assign some of your team members the task of handling customer queries and collecting their information. They can further classify and categorize these leads as hot, warm and cold. This will help you ensure that you prioritize your follow-ups once the event is over.
7. Design Your Exhibition Stand
Once you are done with the plans and strategies, you need to get down to the practical activities. The first thing you need to do is design your exhibition stand. Your presence at the exhibition needs to be impressive in order to pique the interest of the audience.
With a variety of displays ranging from pop-up stands to customized displays, you have numerous options to choose from. Whatever you choose your stand should stand out from the rest of your competitors. Moreover, if you don’t want to spend too much on buying a stand, you can easily rent an exhibition stand.
Participating in a trade show for the first time has its own unique challenges, but if you keep at it, you can expect to gain some pretty terrific rewards!
If you are looking to buy or rent an exhibition stand, visit Display Revolution now! We offer a variety of products and services, including pop-up and customized display stands to ensure we capture your brand and meet your marketing objectives, talk to our stand design team today.