As regular readers know, at Guardian Exhibition & Display we love nothing more than putting together eye-catching displays that get event visitors talking for all the right reasons!
Recently though, we’ve caught ourselves thinking about the ways companies often get exhibitions wrong (not that we’re pessimists, you understand!) – so to save you precious time and energy we’ve put together a handy list of – surprisingly common! – mistakes to avoid.
1. Showcasing at the wrong exhibition
Make sure you’re exhibiting at an event where visitors will be primed, not puzzled, to talk to you. If people have to make an effort to understand why your company’s there when they don’t have to bother, they probably won’t.
2. Not showing how your business can help
It’s easy to think your stand and literature will do all the work for you, when you’ve spent time and money for them to do just that. However, every visitor you meet will have a specific need – even if they don’t know it until the moment they approach you! – so you need to draw it out, then show how your company can address it.
3. Not capturing enough leads
People love to chat! Just remember to check if the person telling you about their disastrous day is also interested in passing on their details so you can contact them later…
4. Failing to follow up on leads
…which must be your first job once the buzz of the event has passed! After all, surely you don’t want to waste all that time and hard work?
5. Using an uninspiring stand
We don’t know much about this one ourselves, since all the stands we create are naturally dazzling! But if yours doesn’t inspire visitors to come and talk to you now, swap it for one that does.
6. Poor marketing literature
You’d be surprised how often companies produce amazing literature…without telling people how to contact them! Make sure your literature gives your audience all the information they need, clearly.
7. Not deciding on a clear
Turning up to an event and just hoping for the best is a bad strategy. If you have a clear idea of what you want to gain – higher quality leads, perhaps – it’s more likely you’ll achieve just that.
8. Seeming unfriendly or unapproachable
Your stand will work hard for you, but it can’t converse with people on your behalf. An eye-catching stand and a friendly smile are a winning combination people find hard to ignore.
9. Not offering anything to take away
We’re not talking about Oscars-style goodie bags here, simply something that will keep you in visitors’ minds after the event. A flyer will do – just make sure you’ve got enough!
10. Not shouting about the event
Social media – not to mention your own website – is an effective, free selection of promotional tools. Don’t rely on people finding you by chance on exhibition day, shout it from the rooftops beforehand!
11. Failing in follow-up
A single, lacklustre call following the event will undo all the hard work you did on the day. Have a clear plan for following up leads; if your e-mail goes unanswered, try a call next. Log everything, so you can easily check who you’ve contacted and when they’re due for a follow-up.
12. Not building long-term client relationships as part of following-up
You’ve got a fantastic opportunity to gain more business from happy customers, so invest some time in finding out more about them. Tailoring your services to their likes and dislikes wherever possible will prime you for even more business later on.
(This is how it should be done! Here is our set-up for Validium earlier this week at the Health and Wellbeing at Work Show).