Getting Return on your Exhibition Spend

Exhibiting can be a daunting task, but essential none the less. So how do you justify the spend? By generating leads and selling lots of course! But with many stands all competing for the same audience, this is not as easy as it sounds. So how do you do it? Beth Ashley from Smart Monkey shares her top tips for the Convergence Summit exhibitors.

The run-up to the show is always manic, there’s accommodation to book, stand decoration, gifts, staffing and hundreds of other little bits to complete. In amongst this, the most important aspect of exhibition success is often forgotten – pre-promotion.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They have come to the exhibition, they have a seminar or two to attend, lunch with a colleague and the train home to catch. They generally have a hit list – stands they want to see, people they need to talk to.

So how do you get to be on that hit list? Well firstly, you need to invite people. Tell your prospects that you are going and ask them to come. Be specific, tell them where you’ll be and what you will be promoting – new products, special offers, anything to spark interest. If they have to register, tell them how. A busy stand attracts people, so don’t be afraid to invite your existing customers as well, face-to-face contact is invaluable, and this could be one of the only chances you get to build those all important relationships on a one-to-one basis.

There are a number of great ways to invite people and make people aware of your presence at the show. If you have a large database, an email campaign is by far the most time and cost effective route to reach a large audience. A campaign built over a couple of months will reinforce your message and encourage visits to your stand. Another top tip for a cheap and easy way to promote to your base, is to add something to your email signature about attendance at the exhibition, and then everyone you contact in the months prior to the event, will know you are exhibiting.

Advertising and PR are more traditional routes, but are a good way of raising awareness if you don’t have large volumes of contact details. Alongside your free full page advert in the show guide, Comms Business include news stories and information about exhibitors in each edition in the run-up to the show and in regular e-casts to exhibition attendees.

The above activities should be backed with promotion on your website. You can add a news story, a banner, an events listing or even a whole new section dedicated to your exhibition attendance. The Convergence Summit has some pre-prepared banner ads that you can use on your website to promote attendance at the show.

Overall, an integrated pre-promotion marketing campaign will ensure your prospects are reminded of your exhibition attendance in more ways than one, increasing the incentive for them to visit your stand.

But more importantly, the biggest benefit of pre-promotion is avoiding the cold sell on the day, giving your sales force a better chance – it’s much easier to sell to someone who knows who you are, knows what you do and actually wants to talk to you!

Having spent many a day preparing for exhibitions, I know how time consuming it can be. If you don’t have the time or expertise in-house to dedicate to your exhibition pre-promotion, then get in touch with Smart Monkey Marketing.