A new year brings new opportunities. For most businesses, January is a natural time to reevaluate business goals and review current marketing strategies. As you’re identifying areas for improvement, one of the approaches you might be considering in 2016 is exhibiting at trade shows and events.
Trade shows provide a powerful platform for meeting new and existing customers. It’s an opportunity to bring you company to the forefront of your target market. It can help you raise your profile, establish industry expertise and make personal connections that are vital to building long-lasting, profitable relationships.
However, exhibitions are not easy, and many companies feel reluctant to include trade shows in their marketing strategy because of the cost. For companies that want to grow and take their business to the next level exhibitions can offer hundreds of benefits. With the right approach and strategy, it can be one of the most profitable forms of sales and marketing.
Before you attend an exhibition, make sure you have clear objectives set. This will help you have a successful event and save you money. Knowing the reason for attending means you can carefully decide the size, design and layout of your exhibition stand. If you’re there to launch a new product, ensure you have product displays. If you’re planning product demonstrations or meetings, make sure you have a large demo or meetings area. If you’re there for brand awareness, make sure your stand has striking graphics. If you don’t know where to start, a good exhibition stand supplier will be able to help you with your trade show preparations and offer a solution that provides value and matches your exact requirements. And most importantly, remember that you need a solid strategy for your trade shows to take full advantage of your time at an exhibition.
If you are still contemplating whether exhibitions are the right marketing approach for your business, here are some key benefits of exhibiting at trade shows:
1. Engage and connect
Exhibition stands help you engage and connect with you audience in a memorable way. Unlike some traditional marketing methods, where a user will see your advertisement amongst tens of other marketing messages, trade shows give you the opportunity to take full control of your promotion, and create that unforgettable experience and long-term brand exposure.
Modern trade shows offer many innovative ways to engage with visitors. It’s not just repetitive sales pitches and brochures. You can integrate social networking into the experience, or interactive games and competitions. Games hold visitor’s attention for far longer than a simple brochure and give the visitor an opportunity to really build a connection with your brand, and even form an emotional attachment with you.
Online marketing offers visual communications, but exhibitions allow you to engage with all your audience’s senses (demonstrations where people can touch and test your product, 3D imagery, sound, complimentary coffee and snacks). This will help you deliver your marketing messages with a powerful punch and will ensuring that the visitors remember your brand for all the right reasons.
Did you know that 85% of what attendees remember is based on your staff? At exhibitions, your staff will get an opportunity to form valuable connections that will hopefully result in long-term ROI. Good engagers built relationships quickly, so make sure you pick the right people for your stand. Every interaction at an exhibition gives you an opportunity to create a positive business image. Emotions are the key drivers behind our everyday lives and this is why exhibitions are a valuable form of marketing. They allow you to communicate on an individual level and build trust.
At exhibitions, you get a chance to conduct short surveys and demonstrate your products in front of a live customer audience. You can learn what your customers want and need and get valuable feedback that can help you improve your products or services. Trade shows not only provide an opportunity to present your products directly to your prospects, they also showcase your brand personality and positive energy. Attending trade shows means you get an opportunity to make a big impression on hundreds of potential customers and position your business as a leader in its industry.
2. Lead generation
To grow your business you have to consistently generate leads. While going through phone books and other means to build your database may initially seem easy and cheap, it doesn’t bring a high number of sales. Trade shows can give you qualified leads that you know are genuinely interested in your product and will provide a good ROI long term. And as we all know, most people dislike traditional direct sales like telemarketing. They’re often seen as intrusive, especially when dealing with business-to-customer. The negative image of cold calling can also harm your business reputation. Exhibitions allow your leads to come to you instead; giving them an opportunity to really interact with your brand.
Introducing branded games and a competitive element on your stand not only helps you engage with visitors, but also helps you generate valuable data you can use for marketing purposes later. It encourages visitors to provide their information in order to enter the competition and appear on a high-score board. The same can be done through interactive forms, surveys or quizzes. You can also include a QR code in your exhibition stand. It can offer a link to your slideshow, a dedicated webpage or your social media sites. This will give the visitor an opportunity to engage with your brand after the exhibition, increasing a chance of making a sale at a later stage.
A successful trade show stand can give you hundreds of new contacts in a very short period of time, which you can then follow up and market your products to. Most people attend exhibitions because they’re interested in the industry and your products. It’s good to remember that prospects at a trade show are already in a buying-mode, making it an ideal environment for sales. You will be able to meet key decision makers that are ready to buy and close deals during the event. However, not all people you meet at an exhibition will make a purchase on the spot. Keep their details and use them to build your prospects database for future newsletters, research and other marketing activities. They may need your service or product next month or even next year, or know someone that does. To make the most out of your exhibiting experience, prepare a a follow up strategy. This will help you calculate your ROI and review how you did at the show against your objectives, something that’s not always easily done with other marketing activities.
3. Level playing field
Whether you’re a first time exhibitor or a seasoned veteran, a small startup or an established brand, exhibitions can present you with incredible opportunities to communicate your products and USPs to your target audience. They can help you grow your business, expand your customer base, and gain international exposure. A good exhibition stand company can help SME’s and startup businesses develop successful trade show marketing strategies and create an appealing brand image through display stands. A fresh set of eyes from a professional exhibition company or agency will push a brand further than you could imagine and will deliver measurable results. Smaller companies may want to consider systems that are flexible and adaptable to a wide range of events and spaces. Modular exhibition stands can save you a lot of money and your exhibition presence will be able to grow with your business.
Startup companies may find it difficult to compete with larger, established businesses in the industry. Trade shows provide a chance to demonstrate that you have what it takes to compete with others. By choosing to exhibit, you give your business credibility and professionalism, you also make yourself look large enough to afford an exhibition stand. With careful planning and strategy in place you can instantly level the playing field. By positioning yourself amongst the big players in your industry, you can also strengthen your brand and present yourself as someone as reliable as the big brands.
4. Risk of not attending
A lot of people consider face-to-face interactions at a trade show as very important when it comes to narrowing choices in the buying process. Even if you don’t make a sale on the day, you will still have an advantage over the competitor that did not attend the exhibition. After the show, the familiarity with your brand means that the potential customer is more likely to buy from you. This can be leveraged by a follow up newsletter or a call, and lead to a successfully completed purchase. Not exhibiting at industry exhibitions means lower level of brand recognition and risk of missing valuable business opportunities.
Good businesses are aware of competitors. Not exhibiting at shows means you will not get a chance to analyse your competition, observe what they are offering, what attracts attention to their stand or what their sales techniques are – this can help you improve your future exhibitions as well as your overall marketing strategy. It’s also a chance to look at the latest innovations in your industry and see how they can affect your business.
Combined with traditional communication channels, trade shows can really help you create a powerful marketing strategy for 2016. If you’re a first time exhibitor, careful planning will ensure a successful event. You can read our ‘Beginner’s guide to exhibition stands’ for tips on successful and stress-free exhibiting, from discounts, to building relationships and deadlines. Why exhibitions really matter? This blog post will take you through even more advantages of building brands with exhibition stands.
Here at Skyline Whitespace, we’re dedicated to providing our clients with the best exhibiting solutions to suit their brand and budget. We manufacture a broad range of products, from banner stands and pop-up displays to large modular exhibition stands and custom solutions. We will help find the right stand for your business. For more information about our services please don’t hesitate to contact us today!