Introduction Going to an exhibition is an amazing way to network with people in your industry and to showcase your business to lots of potential customers. But, with all of the time and money you need to invest, particularly if you’re travelling overseas to attend, you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to get your money’s worth! Simply showing up is not enough. An exhibition is your chance to present your business to hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of new people who may have never heard of you before – so you’re going to want to make a lasting impression. In this eBook, you will find lots of actionable tips and tricks that will assist you in making an amazing impression before, during, and after you visit the exhibition, ultimately helping you win more business.
Before the Exhibition
Typical exhibition prep usually involves planning what your stand or booth will look like, allocating specific roles and responsibilities to your team members, and plotting out goals and objectives. While all of this “typical prep” is important, everyone will be doing it. In order to get more business from exhibitions, you need to do things that will help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Here are 5 things you should work on before the exhibition…
1. Start Promoting
One of the first things you need to do is let people know you are going to be attending the exhibition. You can do this by posting on social media in the days leading up to the event, and also by connecting with others who have posted about the exhibition. Most exhibitions even have their own hashtags these days, so it is easier to see other attendees, and more importantly, it’s easier to be seen. If you’re not sure what you should be saying or posting, take a look at past events for some inspiration. The Social Media Marketing World 2018 event created the hashtag #SMMW18 to allow attendees to connect. The hashtag was used thousands of times across many different social networks: To start promoting yourself ahead of the TechDay exhibition, head to social media and use their hashtag #TechDay:
Post about your brand, products or services, or just about what you would like to see from the exhibition.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to like, share and comment on other peoples’ posts! It’s a great way to get your name out there and could even work as an ice-breaker when you are at the exhibition.
2. Seek Out Speaking Opportunities
There are often many speaking opportunities at exhibitions, and the people who speak are usually the ones who get the most attention from attendees. If you are able to, pitch yourself to speak by contacting the exhibition organisers. When you pitch, make sure that you sell yourself. What is your specific niche or expert subject? Create a presentation around that and make sure you are giving valuable advice away to your audience. If there are no speaking opportunities at the exhibition, offer to volunteer in other ways. The more involved you can be, the more layers you can add to your conversations with people, and the more likely you are to get more business.
Top Tip: If you are going to speak, digest as much public speaking advice as you can. This is a good place to start: 7 Powerful Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Talk Speakers
3. Research Your Attendee List
When you register for an exhibition, you are usually provided with an attendee list. Don’t dismiss this. That document is a valuable log of all of the people you could potentially meet and do business with. The best way to utilise your attendee list is to go through it and find the attendees that fit your ideal customer profile. From there, you can create your own tailored list of people to focus on. To get even more from your list, try and contact your ideal customers to set up appointments and invite them to your stand. A great place to start is by connecting with them on LinkedIn. From there, send them a message to let them know: a) You will be at the exhibition b) You are interested in speaking with them You can have the most captivating stand in the room, but if you don’t invite anyone to it, all you have to rely on are passers-by.
Top Tip: If you aren’t able to set up appointments with your ideal customers, research them as best you can. That way, when you bump into them at the exhibition, you can impress them by showing that you’ve taken an interest.
4. Create a SMART Goal
A SMART goal is exactly like a goal, only it is, well…smarter! SMART stands for: Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely So, think about what you want to achieve from the exhibition, and make sure your goal is quantifiable in one way or another. Once you have your goal in mind, write it down and make sure it hits all of the above points, for example:
As you can see, this goal is not overly ambitious, but it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. All of these qualities are important for creating a target that you can reach comfortably (but not too comfortably!) to make the most out of the exhibition, and also to give you a solid foundation of the next steps to take after the exhibition.
Top Tip: Put your SMART goal somewhere you can see it every day in the weeks leading up to the exhibition. This will help you to commit it to memory and recall it when you’re in the thick of it at the exhibition.
5. Send Invites to Attendees
The next step from researching your attendee list and reaching out to them on LinkedIn is to send out invites. By doing this, you can get people excited by what you have to offer and even remind them to mark you on their itinerary for the day. According to EpicPresence, approximately 81% of attendees at exhibitions have buying authority. So if you want to win more business, the more you can engage attendees, the better! After all, exhibitions are busy places, so if you can make a great impression beforehand it can really help jumpstart things on the day.
Top Tip: When creating your invites, make sure they look professional and that the branding is consistent with what your stand will look like on the day.