As communications continue to become more and more digitally focused, the importance of face-to-face interaction can be easily forgotten.
There’s nothing like meeting others in person when networking – you can use eye contact, body language and tone of voice to build connections, and maybe even a handshake too (pre COVID of course!)
Exhibitions regularly take place throughout the year, and many of them offer free entry for visitors, providing your company with a wider reach.
Here’s a guide on how to use exhibitions to develop your business and its communications:
1. Choosing the right exhibition/event for your business
Firstly, what do you want to achieve from attending an exhibition? You could be looking to build brand awareness, network or demonstrate a product or service, for example.
Regardless of your objectives, make sure to do your research – establish the demographics of your target audience, such as behavioural activity and location.
You can always visit the event’s venue beforehand to get a feel for the size and layout. Remember to check for parking, accessibility and free Wi-Fi – the more accessible the event is to the public the wider your reach will be.
Many exhibitions also have special guests and speakers – consider taking this into account when choosing the right exhibition for your business.
2.Preparing for the event
Where will your business cards, leaflets and banner be placed on your stand? Will you have any snacks? Sweet treats are a great way for people to approach your stand!
Branded freebies, especially useful ones, are a great way to ensure your brand is remembered, as people are less likely to dispose of them. For example, many mental health related businesses like to offer free stress balls – anything that can help to manage tension and pressure.
Think about the location of your stand – are you near the entrance or lunch stores? How much space will you have? Will you need audio/technological facilities? Register early for the best position possible.
Most importantly, you want to collect as many contacts as possible – so encourage visitors to sign up to your newsletter, enter your raffle/competition or take a business card to help you maintain these connections.
Remember to take a charged phone or camera to collate lots of pictures and videos for your social media!
3.Training your team
Your team will be a representation of your company during the event, so be sure to select the right people who present and hold themselves well – the most important thing is that your members look approachable.
How many employees will be attending? Ensure you have the right number of members there – not too many that your stand looks overcrowded and comes across as unapproachable. Consider creating a rota of swap overs to ensure your team are getting adequate rest breaks.
You could also give your team a brief on what to speak about and train them on open body language. Open ended questions encourage conversation…
4.Promoting your visit beforehand
Mention your attendance online to encourage your audience to meet you. Putting a face behind your brand can make communications feel more personal and help to build stronger connections.
Consider marketing, such as social media, emailer and direct mailing.
5.Following up post-exhibition
This is probably the most important step of your whole exhibition journey.
People are more likely to remember you when they can put a face to your name – contact your connections immediately, otherwise your prospects are likely to forget who you are. This way, you’re more likely to convert your prospects into customers. Make sure to acknowledge and engage with any posts your prospects have published online – this will show them how important they are to you and your business.
Remember to add contact information to your company’s CRM system to keep organised for any potential future communications.
Was the exhibition/event right for your business? Did you make yourself and your business memorable? Did you stand out from the crowd by evidencing your company’s USP (Unique Selling Point)? You could also ask for feedback from your connections to help improve your business’s communications in the future. Further down the line, you can evaluate your ROI (Return on Investment) from each event.
If you need support with promoting your business, book your free communications review with us here.
Alternatively, call 0121 212 6250 or fill out the form below to speak with a member of the Kinetic team.