10 Tips for an Impactful Exhibition April 18, 2016 0 comments There are a number of factors that go into executing a successful exhibition – and from the planning stages right through to the follow up, it’s crucial that your team is prepared. From harnessing the power of print posters and promotional materials to showcasing live demonstrations, exhibitions provide businesses with a platform for face-to-face engagement – allowing you to breakdown the divide between brand and consumer. When executed effectively, exhibitions can create a number of benefits for businesses of all sizes. In today’s post, we’re bringing you 10 tips for planning an impactful exhibition – with actionable advice from the experts in a variety of industries. 1. The power of preparation In order to ensure your exhibition goes off without a hitch, planning is everything. Date and location are just two – albeit important – factors you need to take into account when considering the bigger picture. Organising an exhibition around a busy work schedule can be a challenge – and from team members to workload, it’s vital that you consider how this time away from the office will impact on your business. Preparing for an event should begin long before the big day – giving you time to consider all angles of your exhibition and work out ways to tackle any potential inconveniences. “Spending a little time learning about time-management techniques will have huge benefits now – and throughout your career.”- Mind Tools As a business, managing your time can be a challenge. Deciding which areas of your company to pour your resources into is no easy task – but when managed efficiently, time can be a critical factor in boosting business. While it’s essential that you set aside enough time to plan for your exhibition, it’s equally important that you don’t spend too much time planning. Investing in a time-management tool can help you reap immeasurable rewards for your business – making you aware of how you’re using your time and putting you on the path to increased efficiency. 2. Line up those leads “Facebook and LinkedIn are our highest performing social lead generation channels. We love Facebook because they have impressive ad targeting capabilities and can get very granular to ensure we are reaching the right audience.” – Marketo Utilising platforms which are used by your target demographic is key to getting your brand’s voice heard. Whether this is appealing to your audience with a targeted ad, tweeting out exhibition details ahead of the big day or posting live from an event, staying active on social media will create a buzz around your business and keep your brand fresh in potential prospects’ minds. “We would mail our users prior to the event to let them know we would be there and to call in. At large events we would often take a private room so people could rest their feet and get a free coffee in our rest room. We actively used the event hashtag and promoted the event so people associated it with us. We also took speaking slots, which are important, and directed people back to our stand eg get your free copy of the latest research at stand x.” – Steve Rayson, Buzzsumo 3. Know your audience Whether this is running competitions or reaching out on relevant platforms, knowing the interests and behaviours of your target demographic will leave you better placed to deliver an exhibition they’ll engage with. If you decide to run a competition or promote a free give away, make sure the prize is something attendees will actually be interested in winning. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a list of clients that are unlikely to convert into customers. 4. Choose the best team “Happy employees are more motivated and more productive, and therefore able to deliver the highest possible level of customer satisfaction” – Derek Irvine, Globoforce via CIO While team communication is something to consider at all times, when it comes to exhibiting, it’s essential that you choose the best team for the job. If your team aren’t fully clued up on your brand’s message, they’ll never be able to successfully deliver it to an audience. Employee satisfaction goes hand in hand with productivity – and if your employees understand and are passionate about their role, this will translate in the delivery of your exhibition. 5. Live demos “Because the concept of sensory marketing is about people, all people, it is prevalent in all business sectors. Creating the participant experience is a more vital responsibility than ever before.” – Dianne Budion Devitt via Meetings Net Audience engagement is a huge contributor to the success of an exhibition – and immersing attendees in a brand experience can help to break down the barriers between them and your business. In order to make your exhibition memorable, an innovative, creative approach is key. Promotional vehicles allow you to advertise your brand at all times – as well as present live demos to intrigue and excite your audience. Whether you’re using a van to travel to and from exhibitions or you’re hosting a pop-up event and using your vehicle to introduce new products, by investing in a promotional vehicle or trailer, you can increase reach by taking your marketing on the move. 6. Build in your budget “Costs can easily escalate under the best of circumstances so detailed requirements need to [be] built in at the earliest stage possible.” – Marketing Donut From securing the finance for your exhibition to making sure you stay within budget, keeping one eye on costs is crucial. Financial planning is as much about making sure you stay within your budget as it is about finding the funds in the first place – and in order to do this, it’s sensible to have a contingency plan. Deciding on the most important aspects of an exhibition will help you eliminate any extra costs if your budget starts to dwindle more rapidly than you expect, while still ensuring you deliver a successful exhibition. 7. Consider cohesion Whether you’re in the planning stages or preparing for the follow-up, cohesion should be at the heart of your entire exhibition – ensuring your branding is consistent and recognisable. Impactful banner signs, bold business cards and attention-commanding leaflet stands are all part of building your business’ personality and growing credible relationships with your clients. 8. Promotional materials “An investment in custom designed stationery will pay off every time you hand out your business card.” – Media Novak Promotional materials can serve as impactful aids to your marketing at an exhibition – and keeping your logo design, font colours and style consistent is imperative if you want to build a credible and recognisable brand. Whether it’s your exhibition flyers, leaflet stands or promotional sale posters, creating and harnessing visual appeal will help to engage a new audience – as well as encouraging repeat custom. 9. Measure success “Empower your sales team with the contact timeline, a chronological list of every interaction between a contact and your company.” – Hubspot Once an event is over, how can you measure its success? From keeping an up-to-date list of current clients to recording attendee satisfaction, in order to keep improving, it’s important you recognise what did and didn’t work well at your exhibition. If you’re serious about measuring the success of your exhibition, data management tools are a great way for you to keep an eye on your ROI. Whether it’s reviewing your social reach or measuring sales, learning from each event will allow you to plan more thoroughly for the next one. 10. Follow-up “If you resist the temptation to move on and you put in the effort to follow-up thoroughly, you’ll learn more and be better prepared for the next event.” Attendly While many businesses can plan and carry out a successful exhibition, problems generally arise when it comes to the follow-up. Converting exhibition attendees into paying customers requires a timely and proactive follow-up after the event – ensuring any leads you made don’t run cold. From organising meetings with interested prospects to replying to feedback on Twitter, post-event activity can help you maximise engagement and boost ROI. Planning an exhibition requires time, effort and a committed team – and by adding these 10 tips to your business’ marketing toolkit, you can ensure your next exhibition is as successful and profitable as possible.