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Top Ten Tips for Exhibiting

1) Objective – Make sure you know what you’re aiming to get out of the show and be single minded about it. Make sure everyone involved knows what your objectives are e.g. new business leads / awareness of new product / market research / press coverage / recruitment / relationship building / database building etc.
2) People – 80% of a shows success is down to the stand staff*, so ensure you have great people on the stand who want to be there and take the time to train them up (don’t expect them to know what to do, it’s a skill!). Often stands are staffed by the sales team, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Often telesales, customer service, credit control can make great stand teams. Whoever you pick should be outgoing and keen to talk to new people and know your brand/products. Often sales teams spend too much time talking to existing customers and each other. (See point 9 to drive leads). Equally once you have chosen your team they should look the part, all dressed the same reflecting your brand personality so that visitors know who is manning the stand and who is another visitor.
3) Theme –  Have a theme or a message to tie everything into. Make it clear to visitors what you want to get across.
4) Engage – Make your stand interesting, fun and engaging. That could mean an eye-catching giant model, promo girls/brand ambassadors, an exciting competition, multi–sensory features, demos, give-aways, handy bags, sampling – you name it! But make sure it’s something you’d stop for.
5) PR/Sponsorship – Make the most of the PR around the show. Make sure you are clear on deadlines for submissions, enter any awards you can, put yourself forward for any seminar speaking opportunities, etc. Also submit to the show guide with a compelling ‘elevator pitch’ to get people to your stand (ideally something that means there is something in it for them i.e. a strong hook). If you have the budget, sponsor a relevant area or show bags, plan or badges to drive awareness of your brand and stand.
6) Comms/Content – Shout about being there on everything you have at your disposal. Put a flash on ads, add it to your email footer, put it as a flash on your website, send out a flyer with orders or invoices, send an HTML to your email database or mailer to your address contacts, just make sure everyone knows you are there and why they should visit your stand!
7) Social – Amplify the event through social media channels before, during and after the event. Make the most of hash tags and @ mentions, get your visitors to post to their social media channels (possibly with a competition incentive) when they are on stand (of course this means you need to address point 4 by including something interesting that they would want to post).
8) Data – Only 40% of visitors have their details taken*, so whether it is by using state of the art technology like N200 to scan badges and rank/track leads, or just with a clipboard and pen make sure you data capture visitors on stand.
9) Target – Set targets and rewards. On average you can expect to get a sales lead every 15 minutes,* but if you don’t have any daily or show targets then your stand team don’t know what is expected of them. But don’t just make it about targets, ensure there are incentives and rewards. They don’t have to be big. A bottle of wine, a £20 voucher, or a day off – all work to motivate your team and ensure you get the most out of the show.
10) Follow-up  – 70% of leads are never followed-up* so make sure that leads are added to your database and prioritised so that they are all followed up within a week of the show. Record what orders come out of the show so you can gauge the ROI against spend for the show so you can benchmark each show ongoing.

If you go by the above we don’t think you’ll go far wrong, especially as these handy hints have been gleaned from industry experts Simon Burton and Laura Moody* and what they don’t know about exhibiting isn’t worth knowing!