We have been attending and organising expos for many years and here are our top tips for exhibiting and visiting business expos.
Exhibiting vs Visiting
When you exhibit this can put you straight in front of your ideal client but if you don’t prepare properly it can be ineffective. Have clear aims of what you want to achieve and who you are aiming at. This is the same when visiting-wandering around collecting free pens without a clear plan is usually a waste of time!
People often ask is it better to exhibit or visit and that answer really depends on you and your business. If you are happy to walk up to strangers and chat being a visitor can be really effective and if you are an introvert having a stand will mean people will come and talk to you, providing you have something interesting on your stand!
If you want to raise the profile of your business then exhibiting,speaking or running a workshop is the best way to do that. Visiting will not raise your profile, it will give you lots of new contacts and dealt with properly should give you some new prospective clients.
Which Expo? Do your research! Speak to previous visitors and exhibitors and find out what they thought of the foot fall and the organisation of the event. There are lots of specialist expos as well as local, regional and Global expos.
Once you have done your research and booked your stand we suggest you invest sometime in PRE-EVENT PUBLICITY
As an Exhibitor, let everyone know that are you exhibiting – when and where and send an email to your list.If every Exhibitor sends out posts on social media and emails their contacts, the expo details will reach THOUSANDS of people especially if you do this on a regular basis in the run up to the event. This benefits everyone!
- Post on Twitter and use the hash tag
- Post on Facebook
- Post on LinkedIn
- Post on Instagram
- How about a video – sharing your news that you are exhibiting and a Facebook live on the day?
- Have something interesting on your stand which will draw people to speak to you. So, competitions, a prize draw, promotional gift item – anything interactive works well.
- You want to collect details of people who may be interested in using your products or services so make it relevant and have a box you can collect cards in
- Useful giveaways people will keep and use – promotional product giveaways such as pens, pads etc are a good idea and decide on something that fits with your brand. Ensure you have up to date brochures and business cards.
- Add to this your own colours and add a banner stand behind the stand/table
- Get out from behind the table and mix with the people. This is a networking opportunity and you need to interact with the visitors!
- Try and attend at least one of the networking events if they are being run during the event or before /after
- The outcomes from exhibiting or visiting the Expo depend on what you put in!
- Try to have 2 people there, its very difficult to maximise the opportunities with one person. Then you can have a session each going around and speaking with other exhibitors.
VISITING AN EXPO?
To make the most of an expo you need plan your visit accordingly.Expos provide an excellent networking opportunity, along with opportunities for learning. You’ll meet new clients and suppliers, as well as fellow business people with whom you can form strategic partnerships with.
However, business expos can be overwhelming if you don’t prepare a list of objectives. You can’t do everything or meet everyone, so focus on what’s most central to you and your business.
Here are our five top tips on how you can get the most out of the day!
- Find out who is exhibiting and plan your visit – there are a wide range of industries and experts exhibiting and attending most expos and some expos are specialist events e.g food, tech etc. Don’t just wait until you’re in dire need of their help, make sure you get to know them and what they can do for you.
- Business cards and memory –make sure you have LOTS of business cards. Also when you sort through the pile of business cards you’ve collected after the show, you won’t clearly remember many of the people you met. To jog your memory, jot down notes on the card when you receive it, including if they are a strong business prospect.
- Talk to people you don’t know – You might feel drawn to talk to people you’ve met before and reconnecting with them may prove beneficial if you haven’t spoken in some time. However, focus on talking to people you’ve never met.
- Attend the workshops – workshops that are free to attend not only serve as a learning opportunity but a chance to network too.
- Schedule Follow-Up Dates – When you meet people you want to talk with further, make sure you follow up, send them an email and plan to have a chat on the phone or meet for a coffee. Most businesses that attend expo’s do not follow up with their connections (this could be to your advantage, if you follow up and a competitor doesn’t).
- AFTER THE EXPO
FOLLOW UP. FOLLOW UP. FOLLOW UP!!
Email or call people and follow up on any discussions you had at the Expo, book 121’s in the diary!
(do nothing and nothing will happen)