In the face of so many new ways to connect with potential clients, it’s easy to overlook the tried and true methods. And I get it, exhibiting is not sexy and, for anyone who has stood at a trade booth for 10 hours a day over 2-3 days, it’s hard work. It’s even worse if you’ve got no one to talk to or if you’re there as a delegate visiting the world’s most boring exhibition! So what’s the point?!
Well I’m glad you asked because there are many profitable reasons to add this to your marketing mix. Industry research tells us:
- Trade show and exhibition attendees are there looking to make a purchase. These are not cold leads but warm leads that are walking up and saying Hi!’
- These people have both buying authority AND purchasing power. Again compare that to the effort required simply to find who within a target company might fit that description let alone then having to connect with them and yet here they are right in front of you.
- 92% of those visiting exhibitions say they are looking for new products and solutions.* Do you have a new product or a solution? Would you like to get it in front of an audience with authority and buying power looking for new products or solutions?
- It’s a great opportunity to meet up with existing clients. Reinforce that relationship, connect and have some ready-made fans at your booth. It can be easy enough to come up with a reason to entice them to come along.
- Finally, remember the old adage that ‘people buy from people’ . Unless you’re the first to market there is a very good chance that many others are offering exactly what you’re selling. So how do you cut through? I think if you can make a face-to-face personal connection that’s a good place to start.
But to paraphrase a great inventor, ‘‘success is 10% showing up and 90% how you prepare”. So with that in mind, here are my three top tips if you are thinking about exhibiting;
- If you haven’t exhibited before then seek out lots of advice ( and think about your own experiences visiting other trade shows, what worked, what didn’t). Even if you have done this before many times, make sure you’re at least looking out for ideas on current best practices to make the most of your efforts.
- Map out your ‘visitors experience’, determine your marketing goals and how you are going to achieve them. From here you can work back and plan your logistics, supplies, people, and processes to achieve your desired results. And don’t neglect thinking about post-event activity during your planning stage; believe it or not, many exhibitors still don’t follow up their leads within a timely manner and therefore lose the sales momentum gained by connecting at the show.
- Finally it’s crucial to set your expectations, something which should probably be your first step. Anyone that has exhibited regularly knows it’s about playing the long game. While there is a small chance of landing a hot prospect, it’s more likely that the return on investment will occur over time. Don’t go into this thinking there will be a bottom line to show for your efforts at the end of the event. Rather see this as a chance to take that first step with a new client in entering their buying mix.
If you’d like to know more give Nectar Creative Communications a call and we’d be happy to share some ideas with you.
Author: Nick Moore, Sales and Partnerships Director, Nectar Creative Communications
*source: Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) reports