Trade shows are one of the key aspects of developing export sales.
It is vital to have your own booth on exhibitions happening in your most important international markets. It is also very relevant to visit trade shows where you want to expand your business or to “feel” new market trends.
This article will give you a few tips to handle exhibitions like an expert and help you succeed in organizing your own booth as an exhibitor. For visiting exhibition tips, please check out our dedicated post: Optimizing a trade show visit.
Tip #1: Prepare yourself long before the show
‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’Abraham Lincoln
Preparing an exhibition covers many aspects, here is a useful list summarizing most of them:
- Booking your space: the first topic to be taken care of. Some famous worldwide trade shows are booked years before they happen. If you want to have a chance to get the right spot you will have to plan long before.
- Booth design: it is always good to subcontract this part to a specialized communication company that you can trust. Remember: “first impression lasts”. The way you present your company will send a message to the customers. Do not hesitate to invest in a good trade show booth.
Take into consideration practical details such as electricity plugs (how much / which type / where…), water, sink, food corner, storage / locked room with a safe, WiFi, other types of energies (pneumatic), table/chairs…
- Booth construction: always good to choose a well-known company. Ask other companies in your field who they are using.
- Posters & visuals: printing them at your HQ or subcontracting a company abroad?
- Hotel & flight booking: as soon as you can. Some cities are booked years before the exhibition happens.
- Shipping goods: which way? Definitive exportation or ATA carnet? Is it allowed to sell on-site?
- Goodies: what would be the best ones? Would your customers use them on a daily basis or remember them?
- Make sure you transmitted all the preparation information to your co-workers attending the show
Tip #2: attracting people on your booth
If you want to attract as many people as possible on your booth you will have to differentiate yourself before the exhibition as well as during the show.
Before the event, you will have to spread out the word that your company is planning to participate in the trade show. Here is necessary a strong presence in the magazines, social media, websites and email signatures of your co-workers. Another good idea is to organize a dinner or side event at night during the exhibition where you will invite your key customers via an emailing campaign or a Post mailing. Choosing a funny/unusual location (I.e.: a museum, concert hall, etc…) makes the difference, develop an innovative concept to stand out of the crowd!
On the exhibition: hire attractive people to be host and hostess, it will drive people to your booth. Your visuals have to be colorful and eye-catching. Goodies that are different are very important. Find out which type of small gifts typical of your country or very useful you can find.
Tip #3: Track down all crumbs of information that you can get
If possible, scan the person’s entrance ticket. If not, make sure you take all business cards and either give them to the right person at the booth or keep them all in the same book with detailed information and the name of who is in charge of the follow-up inside the company.
Great tip: organize a small lottery where trade show visitors must fill-in a form to win a free gift. It is a very cost-effective way to gather qualified information about new prospects and re-use their emails in future emailing campaigns.
Tip #4: Enhance users experience at your booth
Make your booth a welcoming place. Start first by making sure all devices are plugged and you have enough supplies of the right plug adaptors (local plugs). Your booth needs to be regularly cleaned with all brochures neat.
We observe too many exhibitors forgetting about providing small food, water, and coffees. It costs you, sure. Nonetheless, it keeps customers on your booth, not on the competitor’s one.
Take advantage of technology to make the user experience funny. Nowadays tablets, VR glasses, and holograms are the new trends in attracting customers to the booth.
Credit image: Ethan Hoover_unsplash.com