For just about any business, attendance at exhibitions and events is a vital part of generating sales leads and otherwise marketing their company’s goods and services. Much time and effort is put into designing the company’s portable banners and banner stands in order to both attract foot traffic and to present your strengths to attendees in a way that sparks interest.
But what about which events and which exhibits to attend? Does your company tend to present at the same venues each year? If yes, while you are definitely positioned to attract business amongst familiar faces and to build relationships. And, is that enough?
Giving your presentation schedule a second once-over is critical if you plan to expand your client base. Not only does presenting at new venues allow you to potentially generate new business amongst attendees you’ve never met before, it also presents the opportunity to network in a different pool of potential contacts.
In order to make the most of your event and exhibition attendance, start by considering your target industries or customers. If you were to paint a picture of your current client base, who would be included in that picture? Who would be excluded? What characteristics do your current clients display? Then, determine the characteristics of the industries or the clients that your company wants to attract. Be as specific as possible, so that you can determine the content that would speak to that audience.
Next, decide the types of events and exhibitions where you can find your target audience. Which events would speak to their needs? Where would you find the best opportunities to network with that audience? Alternatively, where could you find people with whom you can network to reach your target audience?
Once you determine which events and exhibitions work to meet your objectives, it’s time to design your marketing strategy. Not only should you consider your exhibition and event marketing to stimulate interest, you should also plan to communicate your exhibition and event attendance before and after the event.
Communicating your attendance at events and exhibitions lets potential networkers know so that they can seek you out on-site. To achieve this step, post your attendance on your company website and use social media to show your excitement at attending each given event and exhibition. If you plan to have given products on hand or swag that you’ll be distributing, be sure to mention that in your posts as well. If your company communicates via newsletters, email communications and/or bulletins, inform your customers through those channels too.
When at the given event or exhibition, remember that you’ll be documenting your attendance. Take photos, record video of your booth and even stage an interview or two. If your marketing strategy includes sponsoring a part of the event or exhibition, make sure to document that as well.
After each event and exhibition, post the photos and footage to your website and social media channels. Comment about your experience and let your enthusiasm shine. Do the same in newsletters, email communications and newsletters, if appropriate. Let customers and future customers know how your participation in the event or exhibition served them and their needs.
Continue to evaluate your attendance strategy. What worked at a given event or exhibition and what didn’t? What didn’t work because the venue was appropriate, i.e., what could work if the venue had been different? Assess and reassess, tweak and hone both your schedule and approach accordingly.
By venturing out to events and exhibitions that your company had previously skipped, you create opportunities for expanding your client base both by attracting new foot traffic and by networking. Combined with a compelling display, changing up your attendance can expand your business in ways you never imagined.