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Companies are always looking to reach as many of their target audience as possible in an effort for them to experience what their brand has to offer. Most will invest in a website, e-marketing campaigns and some direct mail which is starting to make a resurgence. Others however are taking their brands on the road, taking a space at a trade show or business exhibition.

If chosen correctly, attending these types of events is a highly targeted method of reaching your ideal customer and provides the opportunity for you to explain face-to-face how your products and services will benefit them. If you have a physical product, it provides a chance for delegates to see and feel it and gives you a chance to demonstrate the products USP’s. Living in a digital age, many providers of software products will often use exhibitions to get in front of their target audience and demonstrate their product.

When exhibiting at these events, having a large stand is not always best and does not mean you will be more successful than other exhibitors. What is more important is to consider the message you want to convey to the delegates and crucially that the design of your stand supports this. For some attending an exhibition, this may be the first time they have come across your brand so it’s important your stand is a true reflection of it. Remember the old adage – “you don’t get a second change to make a first impression”. If your budget will allow, hire a design agency to assist you. They will be able to take an objective view and can often design a stand for you that can be used at other events. Engaging an agency will  provide a professional, eye-catching display that fits with your brand delivering better results.

If you do decide to take the plunge and take to the road, you need to be aware that one or two of your competitors may also be exhibiting at the same event so it’s important you think about how you will engage delegates so they visit you on your stand. Many exhibitors use giveaway items to hand out to everyone that stops by their stand. The usual items include pens, mugs, and sweets – and maybe a branded bag to put it all in. The successful exhibitors spend time considering what they will giveaway. Try to choose something that fits with the messaging on your stand and importantly is reflective of your brand and its values. If you’re trying to build a high value brand, choosing a cheap giveaway that breaks within a day or so will not reflect well on you.

Some exhibitors save money on the sparkly gifts and instead hold a competition. Often this involves some element of a draw to win an attractive prize. Some will offer one of their products or services as the prize which is not only a great way to get these into the market place, but it will also weed out those who aren’t interested in your products or services from those who are highly interested. Having a draw is a great way of collecting details of possible prospects by having those who want to take part put their business card or contact information into a container.

For a successful event your marketing efforts begin long before you arrive at the exhibition and set up your stand. With social media and digital marketing you can start to let event visitors know you will be there. Many event organisers carry out pre-event marketing to attract visitors and you can often piggy-back this, use the event hashtag of @ [them] in your tweets, media channels and blog post and press releases. Don’t forget to include information about the exhibition as a footer on your client emails and remember to include both your stand number and location. Social marketing costs little to no money and will drive more traffic to your trade show stand.

To find out more about attending exhibitions or branding an exhibition stand, get in touch or leave your comments below.

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