HOW TO EXHIBIT SUCCESSFULLY AT YOUR NEXT INDUSTRY EXPO AND WIN MORE CLIENTS
At some stage in your business life, you will most likely be enticed to exhibit your business at an expo. And depending on the location and size of the expo, this could be a sizeable investment for a short space of time.
Although it falls under the category of interruption marketing, an expo is often a very niche audience and when marketed correctly, can be very lucrative. It’s just all about how you attract your audience’s attention, and how you best show them that you can help.
There is also the cost of the physical stand, the marketing material and the sales paraphernalia that goes with it. Then there’s the prize cost if you are running a competition, the time of yourself and your team to set it up and man the stand, and the cost of the exhibit space…. This can be multiples of thousands to tens of thousands of dollars…. You definitely want to make sure that it’s worth your while and you get back many times over for your investment. Breaking even never cuts it for me!
And neither does generating no income from an expo. Brand exposure works for big businesses with bigger budgets, but for most small businesses, every bit of marketing we do needs to have a positive financial outcome attached to it!!
What happens all too often however is that the business owner is so busy getting ready for the big event, they don’t have a proper plan in place in how to convert it into business AFTERWARDS, because that is where the true success of an expo lies. A great expo event will see you making many new qualified business contacts that refer and buy from you for years to come.
So here are our main tips about how to have a successful expo:
- It’s not about who can buy off you, rather who can you meet, who can you connect with, who can you serve and what can you learn about your typical customer, the industry and what pain they are having right now. This kind of information is invaluable for future sales and marketing. Some of the best market research can happen at an industry expo.
- Not everybody is your customer. Just because your sales rep tells you that there are 7,000 people going to attend, not all 7,000 people are going to be potential customers! People are so hesitant and resistant these days to the feeling of being sold to, it’s critical that you just let people relax into your stand and not eye them up as meat!
- Go with an open mind and good attitude based around “who can I help?” Ask questions that make people feel like you understand them and that you care. And mean it!
“Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go”. Seth Godin
- Ensure you have a solid strategy in place in obtaining people’s contact details, and structure your prize/raffle around one of your strongest attraction services so you can ascertain if they are a serious potential client or not. There’s no point giving away an expensive bottle of wine because everyone wants to win that so you might get lots of business cards but it doesn’t qualify somebody as being seriously ready for your services vs who’s just mildly interested. A great prize giveaway can really determine this information for you and help you to not waste time on disinterested people.
- It’s not the business that you bring in with instant sales at the expo that will change your business, but the long-term gain from people that continue to do business with you for years afterwards that will have the biggest impact on your business. Have a great strategy around how you are going to connect with your visitors after the expo for many years to come.Will it be email enewsletters? Weekly blogs? Instruction and helpful videos? Will you phone the contacts directly to book an appointment? Sometimes the humble telephone and human voice on the other of the line is still the best marketing lead in. Because you met them at the expo, you are no longer a cold call! Use this warm introduction to your advantage.
- Remember it’s always about the customer, during the expo and afterwards when you are communicating with them.
“Content marketing is like a first date, if you only talk about yourself, there won’t be a second one.” David Beebe
- Don’t forget about the exhibitors around you. Get to meet as many as you can with the cocktail evenings and just in passing, as they may be the perfect strategic alliance with non-competing products and the same demographics for your target audience. The quickest way to grow your business is often through smart joint ventures where both parties win. Just don’t forget that they are also at the expo to get customers, so perhaps approach them after the show!
The better you can serve your customers, the more successful your business will be because people come to you because you know how to help them. Business is just about helping people move from their pain, to meeting their desires and delivering their dreams. Do this, and you’ll have a great expo. If you want a killer expo stand with great sales material, video, email marketing follow ups or some more helpful strategy tips, make sure you get in touch with us!
This is what we love to do, and connection marketing is our thing.
If you want to speak with Melissa in greater detail about how to get more out of the content you are creating, and how to have a functional website, blog, e-newsletter or marketing plan that will enhance organic SEO, then please contact us and we can have an obligation-free chat.