4 Ways to Make the Most out of an Exhibition

After a positive experience at eComerce Show North last November, Hopewiser was keen to return to EventCity this week for its latest exhibition, Marketing Show North. Exhibitions are still an ideal way of networking with other businesses, despite the digital transformation that the world of B2B organisations have undergone. Whilst many firms take the stage on social media as their primary way of marketing their business, the traditional face-to-face interaction that exhibitions and trade shows offer is still very much the "in thing". 

Showcasing your business in an exhibition environment allows you to gain a thorough understanding of your prospects' needs, thus giving you the opportunity to give them a more detailed overview of your product line, which will ultimately enable you to establish the right solution for them. That said, there are a number of things you must do in order to maximise on the opportunities that these events offer. Follow these four ways to make the most out of an exhibition.

Marketing Show North

1. Find the Right Exhibition for Your Business

It goes without saying that finding an exhibition that suits the market in which your business operates is a fundamental basic. Make sure you do plenty of research because choosing a trade show that isn't likely to generate any leads isn't going to do any favours for your sales pipeline, and will be a complete waste of money.

Think about what sort of customers you want to attract, what value your products will add to their business, and what sort of industries are likely to get the most out of them. Take Hopewiser, for example. We have been writing data cleansing software since 1982, therefore, we wanted to attend an expo with businesses who could really utilise our solutions. The cleansing of company databases is vital in the marketing industry, especially these days where data protection and regulation is paramount. Therefore, attending Marketing Show North gave us the opportunity to network and engage with key prospects that would be able to incorporate data cleansing into their operations, thus adding value to their own business.

2. Stand Location is Key

You may or may not have realised, depending on how many of these exhibitions you've been to before, but selecting the location of your stand is another very important aspect. When you book your place at a trade show, you'll be provided with a floor plan so that you can choose your pitch strategically. Remember, the location of your stand will highlight the difference between an average expo and a profitable one, so make sure you choose wisely.

According to Relevance, the best locations to display your business are on corner stands, near drinks and snack bars, and also near lectures and seminars. This is because these areas attract larger volumes of traffic, thus giving you more of an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot and generate some promising leads.

Hopewiser opted for corner stands for both the eCommerce and Marketing shows as we found that the open space showed off our artwork and was more eye catching to passers by.

Hopewiser's exhibition stand at MSN19

3. Don't be Afraid to Walk Around Other Stands

Just because your business has a designated stand doesn't mean you have to remain there for the entire show. Walking around the exhibition arena will have a number of benefits for your organisation. Before you dart off into the sunset, however, make sure your area is covered by another colleague, because an empty stand will appear unprofessional and prevent people from taking the time to enquire about your company and its services.

You should use this browsing time as an opportunity to hand out some company literature to other exhibitors as another way of generating leads. The likelihood is they have been so busy attending to visitors on their own stands that they haven't had time to browse themselves, so it is definitely worth incorporating this tactic into your exhibition strategy. Remember, research shows that 50% of people view a company in a more positive light when they receive a promotional product from you. Pens, product leaflets, mugs, you name it, they all help you become remembered.

Additionally, weighing up the competition isn't necessarily a bad thing because you'll be able to compare their stands, giveaways, and artwork to your own and see what is working for them as opposed to you. Not everyone gets it right the first time, so it's always useful to pick up tips from others to help improve your business's presence.

4. Capture Data in a Compliant Manner

Data capture plays an important role at exhibitions, and the integrity of said data is a major KPI for your business. Important changes in legislation, such as the GDPR, gives both consumers and businesses more control over how their data is used. 

In order to make the most out of an exhibition, you need data to serve a whole range of purposes. It's only natural that you'll want to know who is attending the event, and you may find your inbox filling up with emails from companies selling attendee lists. Whilst this may look very appealing, you must be wary of buying third party data as the records may be non-consented or not matched correctly. If you do decide to purchase third party data, do your research prior to doing so and make sure you only buy from reputable sources.

Additionally, you must gain the consent of visitors and exhibitors at the event itself before taking their details. Some exhibitions provide data scanners at an extra cost alongside barcodes with individuals' pre-inputted details to enable the quick and easy capture of prospects' data. If you decide against scanners, people that are genuinely interested in your products and services will more than likely divulge their contact details willingly. 

Marketing Show North