1. Check out the exhibition first
What is the history of the event and how did it perform last year? Speak to a previous exhibitor or visitor. Find out how many visitors and what their profile is (is there a better way you could target these people?). Who's already committed to booking this year? What spaces (think location and traffic) are available? What support will they provide and what will be the event marketing? What are the rules and when can you set up and break down the exhibition?
2. Check your resources
Can you afford the costs? (see budget later). Do you have the time to effectively plan the event? Do you have the right staff available at that time? Do you have the expertise?
3. Visit events and get ideas
See what other businesses do and what you feel about their stands and style
4. Create a Project Plan
Decide early who is going to be in charge, who the exhibition team will be and set up a project plan. To help you we have our own downloadable Exhibition Planner.
Work out what you can afford and what the event will cost. Obviously this includes stand space, equipment hire, displays but also remember travel, hotels and expenses, brochure reprints, and that your time is a valuable and limited asset. Think about the costs of promotions, incentives and give-aways. Exhibition budgets have a tendency to creep up!
6. Set targets and objectives
These should be realistic and measurable, and make sure each staff member knows what their own targets are. We usually recommend that you should try to get leads and not sales initially, as you can spend an hour trying to get a sale when you could be capturing 20 leads or capturing data. You need to know what your sales conversion rate is likely to be. Then you can estimate the cost of these sales based on your budget above. Does this stack up against other sales methods?
7. Pre-event Marketing
You should try to drive as much traffic to you as possible, and might want to incentivise visits to your stand. See if you can get a database of previous visitors. Don't forget that it is often a good idea to encourage existing customers and prospects to your stand to re-enforce your relationship with them. Perhaps you should invite key press contacts to your stand as well.
8. Be professional, interesting, inviting and proactive
What are you going to do to make your stand exciting, and eye-catching? Good design is crucial here (have a look at our exhibition packages). Make sure your stand and displays make people want to talk to you, and do not present barriers. Are your team trained, welcoming and proactive - you don't want people walking past your stand.
9. Record your leads and CAPTURE DATA
You're going to be busy - make sure you have the means to effectively capture warm leads. And make sure that you have a method for capturing interested parties through a competition or draw.
10. Post event marketing
It's so easy to capture leads and data and then not follow them up. Plan your post event marketing in advance. This might include a press release or a follow up email.
WANT SOME EXPERT HELP?
You only get one chance to shine at an exhibition so you need to invest to get it right.
How we can help:
Brochure and display design and print, or full event planning.
Give us a call on 0191 250 4530