After the exhibition stand investment, what next?

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Exhibition stands can comprise a significant proportion of your marketing budget, especially when you factor in the staff needed to be there to man them.  So often, companies invest in a stand and then wait passively during the exhibition for interested parties to come to them.  Wouldn’t you rather take steps to work your way onto people’s ‘must see’ list? 

If you take the example of a show like security giant, IFSEC International, this attracts more than 27,000 visitors so what steps should you be taking to stand out from the other exhibitors and capture their attention.  For one, you should look at what activities are included in your stand cost and how you could be leveraging those.  For example, IFSEC Global gives you the potential to reach more than 180,000 contacts through the organisers’ own activities, plus opens up opportunities for you to engage with those customers and potential customers who are already known to you, it can become much more cost effective.

So what steps could you be taking?

Have you made sure that the company information is included in the IFSEC Directory, and that it’s up to date?  Take full advantage of this by upgrading your entry so you can include company logos, links to social media and the appropriate contact information but also uploading content which is going to be of interest to customers.  You can also upload relevant content to your directory entry, including recent press releases to show innovation and current product lines.  Up to date catalogues are a great reference tool and the external endorsement of a case study can go a long way in providing confidence and, written properly, delivering key messages which resonate with your prospective audiences.  Similarly, whitepapers are well received because they aren’t a hard sell and instead seek to educate and inform.  Think about what hurdles your customers face in selecting, specifying, buying etc. and how your knowledge can help to make their job simpler.

Once you have created this content, there are other routes through which you can share it with your audience.  An email marketing campaign in the run-up to a significant exhibition can really help to raise your profile, especially if you are able to offer VIP access, after show drinks or other elements that can make all the difference to your experience as a visitor to the show.  If you don’t have a rich database of contacts, you can buy the use of data captured names from the show organisers or other authorised sellers – but make sure that they are legitimately captured as you don’t want your company name associated with invalid data.

Of course, the ideal position to be in is to be unveiling new and innovative products and this should be teased and pre-promoted so ensure that your stand is a destination that is high on attendees’ agendas.  Inclusion of launch information in show press packs is a good start, but the potential exists for specific media activities on stand or around the show to capitalise on the journalists’ presence and build good links with these key influencers.

IFSEC organisers also invite companies to submit guest blogs.  As with all content, consider the audience – this isn’t an opportunity for an unlimited sales push.  Use the platform to impart knowledge that is useful to the reader.  You can submit via http://www.ifsecglobal.com/write-for-us/

There is so much you could be doing to maximise your investment, but here is a handy checklist of the things you simply cannot afford not to do.

‘Sweat that Investment’ Checklist

  • Ensure your company profile and catalogue entry is up to date
  • Let your contacts know you’re exhibiting and invite them to your stand – reach out to potential attendees with a pre-exhibition marketing campaign
  • Create useful, customer-orientated content to host on your website and share it widely – give people a reason to want to visit your stand
  • Prepare your follow up marketing activities in advance – for example, have an e-blast ready to send immediately post show
  • Leverage all marketing opportunities included in your stand package – speak to the exhibition organisers if you’re not sure what’s included

For more information on how to make IFSEC Global or anything other exhibitions a success for your business, get in touch with me and we can have a chat about what you could be doing to maximise that investment.