Maximising your presence at events
Exhibiting at events and conferences is an integral part of the marketing mix for a lot of businesses – particularly those that operate across the manufacturing, engineering, automotive, energy and technology sectors. Exhibiting has a lot of advantages if planned properly: these include generating awareness of your business, building your profile and reaching new customers. And if done right, exhibitions and conferences can generate sales.
In order to reap the benefits, it’s important you make the most out of your presence and ensure you’re fully prepared. This blog guides you through the fundamentals of preparing for an event, maximising on your exhibition space and ensuring you put the right pre and post event marketing approaches in place so that you stand out from the crowd.
Planning your presence
First and foremost, put a plan in place. Events can take up a lot of resource and budget so it’s essential that you cover all aspects. Consider your event objectives and what you want to get out of the event. Will you be launching a new product? Are you attending for brand awareness? Are there any contacts you specifically want to meet? Whatever the reason, map it out and consider:
- What will you showcase at the event?
- What marketing materials do you need on the day?
- What is your stand layout and what will you display?
- Will you require any equipment?
- What information do the event organisers need from you?
- Who do you want to meet?
Spreading the word and generating engagement and interest before the event will help raise your profile. It will also let your audience know that they can meet you at the event. It’s important to consider what message you want to put out there: for example, are you promoting something specific at the event? And be consistent in your promotion, so plan out what and when. Here are a few ideas of what you can do:
- Send out invitations to encourage attendees to visit your booth for demos/ pre-arranged meetings.
- Promote your participation directly to your customers, partners, suppliers – send e-shots, personalised emails and LinkedIn messages.
- Promote your presence with content and graphics across social media.
Making the most out of your stand
Make sure that whatever you are showcasing at the event is clear on your exhibition stand and your messages are relevant to the event audience. Also consider what equipment and furniture you require and whether you will be demonstrating a product. All of these things require space and need to be planned out. The best thing to do is to map out your stand beforehand, to ensure there is enough space for everything you’ll need on the day.
Standing out from the crowd
Once you have mapped out your stand, how can you go one step further and stand out from the crowd? A great way to get across your credentials, capabilities and clients is showing presentations on your stand. Here are a couple of tips to make sure that they stand out:
- Don’t use too much text – instead, make them visually striking by using eye catching photos and graphics.
- Infographics are a good way of quickly conveying your product/services.
- Consider including videos and animations to show product demos, solutions in action, tours of your factory/facilities etc.
- Case studies can demonstrate the impact of your work and show off the clients you work with.
Social media is a great way to build momentum ahead of the event. Use the event hashtag, tag in speakers/exhibitors who interest you and who you want to engage with. Build a buzz and schedule daily posts ahead of the event and make sure you promote your specific involvement – for instance are you exhibiting, speaking at the event or launching a new product?
And don’t forget to connect with other exhibitors and speakers via LinkedIn and Twitter to encourage interaction ahead of the event.
The main reason a lot of business exhibit at events is to ‘do business’, so make sure you put tools in place to help you achieve this. First and foremost, practice your pitch and be consistent in what you are promoting. Ensure your representatives can answer technical questions and engage effectively with attendees.
Thinking about how you will capture attendees’ contact details is important too. After all, you need to follow up with them after the event! Also make sure that you have company brochures, flyers and data sheets to hand, which you can give to interested parties.
Consider an offer to visitors, such as a free consultation session or discount. This can be used to increase engagement on the day.
And finally, set up pre-arranged meetings to make sure you meet the people that you want to meet on the day!
Post event marketing
An area that is often overlooked – because so much work and attention goes into the event itself – is post event marketing. You need to plan out ahead of the event how you will follow up with your leads and you need to put the right tools in place. Here are a few tips:
- Have an e-shot communication ready as a quick follow-up straight after the event.
- Collate all your leads from the event and prioritise.
- Create bespoke communications in line with different levels of interest.
- Thank organisers, speakers, other exhibitors, delegates after the event on social media.
- Connect with leads, contacts and exhibitors/ delegates on LinkedIn.
If you need any help with your event planning or exhibition materials, we’d be happy to help. Get in touch.