Exhibition participation? Don’t make these 8 common mistakes
Participation in exhibition shows is a fantastic way to generate leads and attract customers. You should, however, handle things well. We will list 8 common mistakes, made by exhibition participants.
A company can spend its marketing budget only once. Nowadays, internet is the magic word and it is extremely tempting to spend the entire budget on SEO or SEM (Google Adwords); you should, however, don’t lose sight of other means – like exhibition marketing.
Exhibition participation with a professional stand allows you to make contact with dozens of leads, who are looking for your product or service. A perfect circumstance will attract new customers. It will take a lot of effort though. Will you participate in a trade show soon? Don’t make these 8 mistakes!
1. Too much focus on logistics
Time is scarce! This goes for any business entrepreneur. An exhibition which will take place in a month, might seem far away, but days fly by quickly though. You should make an extensive, realistic planning. Think about your opportunities for using exhibitions or trade fairs but consider logistics and marketing as well. A professional stand is essential for a good first impression and you want to have your stand ready in time. There is nothing more annoying than a stressful start of your exhibition stand, for yourself and for your visitors who will notice it (unconsciously).
Logistics is just one side of the story. Even if your product exhibition is ready in time, you wish to use your valuable time to its fullest. You should make a clear marketing plan describing your goals for every target group and your approach. It might seem obvious, but due to time pressure and a bad planning people often lose sight of it.
2. Unqualified employees in your exhibition stand
The success of your exhibition participation might be determined by communication rather than selling. You could use your top seller. It takes however much more to attract attention in a stand. Communication skills and enthusiasm are indispensable to keep a conversation going and some people do better than others.
Working one or several days in an exhibition takes a lot of energy. Which employees have the capacity and remain fresh and motivated? Those people can make a difference.
Take a good look at your team’s composition as well. Select people who will make the best possible contribution and not necessarily employees you are close to. In short: Compose your team in a commercial, professional way.
3. Not qualifying leads and forwarding them straight to the Sales department
There are various kinds of leads. For this reason it is unwise to forward all contact data unseen, without any explanation, to the sales department.
If you have a good conversation with a valuable lead, you should make as many notes as possible. You can for example use your smartphone or the free program Evernote. Take a picture of the business card and note everything you can remember of this conversation. Evernote will save it online, allowing you to read it later on.
You might also use a qualification system for leads. People you definitely wish to talk to again, will get the letter A; other people, you expect only little of, will get a C. In Evernote you might, if desired, apply tagging, allowing you to filter and contact all A-leads afterwards. In combination with your notes you will have plenty of starting points for a good follow-up.
4. Always participating in exhibition show that are familiar
People love regularity and the same goes for exhibition participants. Although you have had lots of success on the same exhibition for many years, you might of course always try something else. Perhaps you can promote a new product to a different target group? Or you participate in moderate exhibitions and it is high time for something new? Dare to renew and continue to develop yourself.
5. Too much information
A major pitfall for exhibition participants: They want to give too much information. Enthusiasm is one thing; a stand is, however, no department store and the best thing you can do is formulate a clear message which will attract attention. People often decide in a fraction of a second if they want to talk to you, so make it yourself as easy as possible and don’t try to satisfy everyone. How will you attract attention and what’s your message? Think about it in advance.
6. Stand design doesn’t support your brand
There are several advantages exhibitions offer to your business, but all these become pointless if your stand design doesn’t suit your brand image. For example, if your company is into providing logistical software solutions then creating a café-style exhibition stand to portray your business, is quite a stretch for attendees to wrap their heads around.
Your stand design must match the product or service your business offers. Being quirky and different has its place, but going wildly against how your brand perception show immaturity and lack of understanding one’s own brand. So avoid being perceived as amateur and try to understand your target audience so that you can create an exhibition stand that matches their perception.
7. Ineffectual giveaways
Giveaways still remain as one of those classic exhibition branding ideas that are super effective. The impact they have on extending brand recall is unquestionable. No attendee is going to say no to free stuff. But free stuff that has a purpose helps the brand even further. A condiments company giving away free samples is smart. A shipping company giving away a calendar is still smart, but a vertical farming business that gives away pens? Is there any connection for the attendee to grasp? What’s the point of such a giveaway?
The same logic applies for contests. Keeping an expensive prize like a mobile phone will get more contacts into your lead pool, but will your sales team be able to unearth reliable leads from that pool? What is the purpose of the exhibition? If you are not collecting leads the right way.
8. Not understanding the difference between socializing and networking
There is a clear line of etiquette that you need to follow in an exhibition. Gossiping, making crass jokes or demeaning your competitors can have serious consequences for your business. You still have to be on your best behaviour, since you are socialising with clients, who will potentially give you more business.
Avoid these mistakes in your next exhibition participation
Exhibition participation remains an extremely valuable way to make contact with future customers. Just being there won’t be enough though. You will have to work hard to make contact with the right people. You will have to follow-up your leads determinedly and, above all, take pleasure in your work. It will definitely bear fruit.
Do you know any common mistakes? Do you have tips or remarks? Please, leave a message.
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