• Nichola Kelsey

An exhibitor's insights

Kyla Skinner, founder of Copy Café, shares her thoughts on a first-time exhibiting experience at the #MicroBizShow – and explains why she’ll definitely be back in March…

2018 was a year of excitement and comfort zone challenges for me. It all kicked off in spring, when I launched a new business venture. Then, in the summer, I was introduced to the potential of exhibitions to boost your business and build brand awareness – and I wasted no time in signing up for a brand new event dedicated to the ideal client audience for my new initiative…

I was one of the first companies to book a stand at the inaugural Micro Business Show in September 2018. I’d never showcased my business at an exhibition of any kind before – but being part of this show was a fantastic decision for me. So much so that I’ve booked to exhibit again in March 2019.

Let me give you a bit of background to help set the scene… I’m an experienced freelance copywriter and have been running my copywriting and brand language business The Jarrah Consultancy for the past 15 years. Last year, I also launched a new venture to appeal to a slightly different audience.

Copy Café is a subscription-based online business writing resource hub. Offering a choice of three monthly membership levels (plus a free subscriber option), it gives consultants and other small business owners all the resources and ongoing professional copywriting support they need to increase the impact – and the success – of their business and marketing communications.

Taking exhibition space to showcase the comprehensive range of tips, insights, resources and copywriting expertise available through Copy Café was an excellent way to promote my new service.

A top tip, healthy interest and lots of leads

As a first-time exhibitor, I didn’t know quite what to expect. Sure, I’ve been to plenty of trade shows and business exhibitions over the course of my career. But it’s different when you’re on the either side of the table.

Or not, as it happened…

One of the best pieces of advice given to exhibitors at the pre-show meeting was to not lurk behind the table, but to stand to one side of the front of your stand. That was a top tip! And it proved so useful for me. Standing at the edge of the space effectively occupied by the flow of visitors to the show means that it’s far easier to catch someone’s eye. It feels much more natural to then ask a friendly opening question to attract them to stop and spend a minute or two at your stand.

I experienced a great response from the microbusiness owners that the show attracted. Nearly everyone I spoke to expressed genuine interest in learning how to use words in a more effective way for their business – leaving me with an impressive number of leads to follow up on.

Make the effort and make it memorable

That following-up activity is key. It’s what makes all the effort worthwhile for any exhibitor.

I was on the case at 7.30am on the morning after the show, sending out a whole host of personalised emails to accompany the free 24-page resource that I’d promised to all new free subscribers to Copy Café.

There were also ‘free month’s membership’ awards to be set up for the winners of my prize draw and for the person who recorded the fastest time in my ‘Stop the Clock Scrabble Challenge’ game. This, in particular, proved to be a fun, interactive and memorable way to attract people to the stand.