Mastering Exhibitions: A Guide for Impactful Before and After Event Strategies
Participating as an exhibitor in an event is an opportunity that extends beyond the event itself. Success hinges on meticulous planning beforehand and strategic actions afterward. These thoughts cover tasks I hope will offer a seamless and impactful exhibition experience.
Before the Event: Creating Anticipation
Set Clear Objectives:
Establish measurable objectives before stepping onto the exhibition floor. Whether it is generating leads, showcasing products, or boosting brand awareness, a well-defined purpose guides preparations and assessments.
Strategic Marketing and Promotion:
Generate excitement leading up to the event. Utilise social media, email campaigns, and your website to promote participation. Engage your audience with teasers, previews, and compelling reasons to visit your booth. The corporate press can provide a real opportunity here too. People need to know what you are showcasing, and copy is still a huge resource that can be overlooked.
Ensure meticulous planning for all logistical aspects, from booth design to staff schedules. A well organised plan is crucial for a smooth start to the event. If you do not have those skills inhouse already, it can often be better value for money to employ someone to take charge of that operational aspect. Pulling a current employee away from sales to undertake the task of event management can often prove more costly.
Maximise networking opportunities by pre-scheduling meetings with potential clients or partners. This ensures valuable face-to-face time is optimised, and key connections are established. Your own sales should look at this as an opportunity and need to own this task to get value from it.
Staff Training and Briefing:
Equip booth staff with the knowledge and skills to represent your brand. Conduct pre-event training sessions to ensure they are well-versed in your products or services and prepared to engage with attendees. Often overlooked, but understanding roles and responsibilities on stand is critical to the experience of visitors and your own team.
After the Event: Leveraging Momentum and Evaluating Success
Prompt Follow-Up with Leads:
Initiate swift follow-up with leads and contacts. Personalised emails expressing gratitude can be set up and sent during the event itself. Then following up after the event to provide additional information will embed the positive impression made during the event.
Evaluate Performance Against Objectives:
Assess performance against established objectives. Analyse metrics such as lead generation and booth traffic. This evaluation provides insights for refining future event strategies. Our clients are often asked what their return on investment was from a show. We also ask them to set ROO’s. Return on their objectives.
Post-Event Content and Recap:
Capitalise on post-event momentum by sharing content and recaps on digital platforms. Highlight key takeaways, showcase event photos, and acknowledge any awards or recognitions received. This content reinforces your brand's presence. Ensuring you capture this content during an event needs to be an allocated task. If not someone within you core sales team, have you thought about employing someone to capture it, or inviting media or press to your stand during the event itself?
Nurture New Relationships:
Continue nurturing relationships initiated at the event. Connect with new contacts on professional networking platforms and send personalised follow-up messages to foster long-term partnerships. You will understand your own current market better than most, but do you understand your potential market as well as you thought? Do they communicate differently, do they engage differently?
Gather Feedback and Learn:
Seek feedback from your team and attendees. Understand what worked well and identify areas for improvement. This feedback loop is crucial for refining your approach and enhancing the success of future exhibitions.
In summary, success in exhibiting is a journey that encompasses thorough preparation, active participation, and strategic follow-through. By investing time and effort in the before and after phases, you not only maximise the impact of your presence but also lay the foundation for sustained relationships and future successes. The true value of an exhibition extends well beyond the event itself.