• Nichola Kelsey

Exhibitions - an unnecessary cost or a good investment?

Over the years it is a question that we have been asked many times and the answer really lies in what you are wanting to achieve and whether or not you are prepared to put the effort in. Your attendance can complement other sales and marketing promotional activities, but exhibiting at an event puts you face to face with your customers, and is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a qualified audience.

Before booking a stand, be clear on WHY you’re attending and WHAT you want to achieve. Broadly, objectives can include raising your profile, gain new clients, sell products, take bookings or just make connections. And then, how to measure your success? Are you aiming for a number of bookings, or a number of prospects to follow up? Maybe you have some vouchers to give out which can be used following the event. Or are you growing your network, and aiming for new enquiries post event, sign ups for your newsletter, contacts for referral / collaboration, and/or increased followers on social media? There is no one size to fit all, so spend some time working on your measurable objectives before you go, to make them appropriate to your company’s needs and goals. The results will justify your investment in purchasing a stand as well as improving your own marketing activities.

At the event, plan how you are going to resonate and connect with your audience and be clear on the key marketing messages you want to share. Do you have a new product, new service, new location, or a special offer? Don’t just rely on your business flyers – give people a reason to come and visit your stand! It helps to have 2 or 3 open questions scripted ready to ask, to get that conversation started. Do you have a trial to offer on your stand, or maybe a demonstration? Does your product or service solve a problem? Our next blog post will have more suggestions…watch out for it!

Make sure you stand out for the right reason! Your exhibition space should be interesting and a bit more than just a table with flyers and a prize draw. Create some interaction, maybe with a quiz, activity, competition or game for visitors to complete on the stand. When adding marketing materials such as table top banners, flowers, display props etc, be aware that the quality of your stand needs to be a reflection of the quality of your business. Do you have a free gift for visitors to take away with them, along with your contact details? Or you could consider offering an invitiation or discount voucher – make sure they have a code so you know where the lead has come from, and include an expiry date and some terms and conditions.

You can do all the homework in the world before exhibiting at an event, but on the day the most important thing to remember is be personable, offer a warm welcome and smile!

The Micro Business Show is a brand new event which has been specifically designed for small businesses (less than 9 people), freelancers, self-employed, start-ups and anyone thinking of starting up in business! All exhibitors either fit into one of these categories themselves, or are larger businesses who provide products and services aimed at the micro business community. The event is FREE to attend, with FREE refreshments throughout the day, and a FREE seminar programme running alongside. Register now!