Exhibitions should be an integral part of every company’s marketing and sales mandate. They are one of the most influential, adaptable and cost-effective tools available to you and your business.
For optimal show success when next exhibiting, make use of the following do’s and don’ts:
Appoint an exhibition coordinator
Once you sign up to exhibit at a show, identify someone within your organisation to appoint as the exhibition coordinator. This will assist your business/company in successfully planning and rolling out your exhibition space. Supply the coordinator with a detailed brief and plan of action, equipping them with the tools they need to successfully execute a fantastic show.
Created a detailed budget
Creating a detailed budget will assist in overall exhibition success. Allocate the funds you need upfront to cover all aspects of the exhibition i.e. stand costs, marketing collateral, travel costs, staff allowances and incidentals.
Attend the exhibitor briefing and read the exhibitor manual
It is vital that you attend the exhibitor briefing prior to the show. In this briefing, the show organisers will discuss the build-up and breakdown rules and regulations, show times, stand display regulations, venue regulations as well safety regulations to name a few. The exhibitor manual will provide you with a comprehensive outline of the exhibition and should be read prior to show as well as available onsite at all times should you need to refer to show related information.
Promote yourself online
Digital promotion prior to an exhibition is an easy and effective way to grow awareness of your business or brand and will assist with foot traffic onsite. Utilise the exhibition’s website as a marketing tool, as most visitors pre-plan their visit online.
Capitalize on show advertising and marketing material
Apart from making use of the show’s website for marketing collateral, find other ways to utilise the show’s communication channels to reach potential clients and investors. Look at building awareness through the show’s social media channels, provide exciting press releases for the press centre, and advertise in the visitor manual or via the show’s app (if applicable). Consult your show manager to assist you with a tailor-made plan to meet your exhibition needs.
Make sure that you have enough trained staff equipped for the exhibition, pending the size of your stand, the size of the show and the type of exhibition. You may want staff to network with other clients or buyers or even give them a break for lunch. Put a rotation chart in place so as to maximise the time spent at a show.
Don’t arrive too late or leave too early
Your stand should be manned at all times whilst the exhibition is open for business. An unmanned stand looks unprofessional and it is not good for your brand image or potential business. Make sure that you arrive at least 30 minutes prior to show opening and only leave the stand once the last off the visitors have left the vicinity.
Don’t leave planning to the last minute – Prepare
Leaving your exhibition planning anything up to a month to 2 months before a show can create unnecessary stress and may affect the outcome of your exhibition success. Ensure that a well thought out and detailed plan is put together as soon as you sign-up to exhibit. This plan must include a relevant timeline, a detailed budget, stand design and outline, the list of requirements needed in order to make the exhibition successful as well as an exhibition staff plan. Remember to appoint an exhibition coordinator.
Don’t forget to invite potential and existing clients to visit the exhibition
Although exhibiting will create many business opportunities for you with potential clients, it is always wise to invite some of your existing clients to experience your company/brand at the exhibition as well as invite potential clients/buyers you have been targeting to do business with for a while. This is the perfect opportunity to engage with them and network.
Don’t eat or drink on your stand
Avoid drinking and eating on stand as a) it can look unprofessional and b) it may create a mess on your stand. There are allocated areas for exhibitors to enjoy replenishments. Take turns to visit the exhibitor canteen if there is one, or the various food and drink outlets allocated within the venue.