Exhibitions are a prime opportunity to network and showcase your business to a targeted audience. At events with hundreds, if not thousands, of people, making sure that your stand is seen is all about preparation. If you only have a few minutes to talk to a potential customer or business partner, you have to make them count.
Getting your business noticed at exhibitions doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Here are three simple, yet effective, tactics:
1. One size doesn’t fit all
One simple way of making different groups of customers feel that your business understands their needs is to have bespoke marketing materials targeted at them. Business cards are one of the most powerful marketing tools we have, but they are rarely used to target customers in that way. At an exhibition you can engage face to face with customers and put your business cards directly into their hands. Why miss the opportunity to make that connection feel much more targeted and special?
You probably have one business card that you hand to everyone with basic “need to know” information. A business card is a powerful tool you don’t want to misuse. Generic business cards are often handed over then forgotten, which is a waste.
London print company, The Business Printers say “we’ve seen an increase in clients ordering smaller batches of business cards with slightly different information depending on the needs of the recipient.”
Ordering smaller batches of different cards isn’t necessarily more expensive. Many companies order too many of one card and then don’t use them all. When they update their cards the old ones simply get binned. That’s a waste of time and money.
Consider three or four variations on your business card to tackle the needs of the person you are giving it too. For example you may have a basic card for everyday customers and a premium, embossed card for potentially higher-end customers. Maybe you want to emphasise a particular product range more to some customers and to be able to give them a card that has direct contact information about that particular range.
2. Customise your banners for the event
Exhibition banners have improved massively in recent years. They used to be very expensive, heavy and cumbersome. Now you can find lots which are cheap, lightweight and portable. That means that you can and should consider having bespoke banners for each event. They can include up to the minute information and imagery to perfectly complement the rest of your pitch.
Even if an exhibition goer doesn’t talk to you, roller banners should provide them with the valuable information they need to get in contact with you later. Useful information such as contact numbers can be included on banners, but your social media links, including @ names or social media logos and website address, are far more valuable in the modern world.
If you have high quality images that really exemplify your product then roller banners are where to put them.
Alongside the roller or pop-up banners, sturdy PVC banners can be used for sign-posting and signage. These signs need to be kept clear and simple. At most include: your company name, website and logo. Don’t clutter what should be an easy to read sign.
And if you do want to re-use them, banners are very robust. Large format print specialist Ro-Am Posters says that “banner designs are printed on heavyweight vinyls with UV stable inks to allow the banner to be re-used, without fading of the print or easy tearing of the material.”
3. Be interactive
Seasoned exhibitors are well-aware that it is never enough just to set out your stall. If you want to attract, retain and engage more people you also need to provide something for them to do! It doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate: a bowl of sweets and a raffle can still work wonders. But those days you can also entertain and get your message over to many more people with good audio visual content.
If you’re already creating YouTube content, such as interviews with customers or directors, you can have these play between slides or graphics. Just make sure that the tech works and that it looks smart: “Self-contained audiovisual units are great for conference displays,” explain G2 Digital who specialise in bespoke hardware. “They’re ideal for exhibitor stands as they can play videos and slideshows with minimal need for user input”.
Exhibitions are always a big investment. It’s not just money, they can take-up a huge amount of time and focus as well. So invest some of that time to think creatively. A few small changes could add up to the big win that you’re looking for.