Exhibiting at an international show is a powerful way to develop your export market share. While a trade show helps you in increasing your brand’s awareness, it is also a great way to network and see what’s going on in your industry. However, participating in an international trade show requires a certain budget and you won’t have the expected return on investment (ROI) if you are not prepared enough. The following checklist will help you to optimise your preparation and being successful at your trade show.
Before the show
1. Identify your objectives and set-up your budget
Determining why you want to exhibit is the first step to succeeding in a trade show. Depending on your main objective (increase brand awareness, revenue, launch a new product etc.) you probably won’t attend the same show. Nevertheless, it is essential to have in mind the biggest trade shows of your industry. Be aware of summits and conferences as they are a very good way to gain visibility. Although it’s important to have a good grip on your finances while setting up your budget, never compromise your company’s visibility for a cheap short term arrangements .What may seem cheap and attractive now, could well be damaging in the long run. You can now set-up your budget.
2. Make your choice and be prepared in advance
As soon as your choice is made, we advise to book your stand in advance (at least one year before the show), as well as hotels and flight tickets. You will have more choice for the space (the bigger your stand is, the better place and visibility you will have). Choosing your space one year before is also financially favourable. You can enjoy the early bird rates, and save money.
3. Communication is key
Why would you exhibit in a show if nobody knows it? The best thing to do is to send regular newsletters to your database, as well as posting content on social media. Furthermore, if you plan to speak at the event, be sure that you mention that as well. The more relevant the content, the better chance you have to receive attention and attract qualified audience.
4. Be prepared to network and get noticed at the show
A few weeks before the show, have a good look at the exhibitors list. This way, you can check on your competitors, as well as potential clients you want to deal with (suppliers, distributors). You can build a list with the people you want to meet, classified by sectors and stands: it will be easier to visit. Think about how you’ll display your business in an interactive way. The more involved your audience is, the better. For instance, you can create a game that is related to your business. It will bring added value and get people’s attention.
5. Choose your staff and train them well
Having good sales people is crucial and we suggest you pick the best of your team for the trade show. Train them thoroughly, clearly explain the objectives and stakes involved. You can even give them tasks that will earn them incentives on completion and performance. This would motivate them to get out of their comfort zone and perform well. Last but not the least, your staff is your best store front: the more comfortable they are, the more efficient they will be.
During the show
6. Do product demonstration
Spending money in an event is worthy only if you can show a glimpse of your business. Do not hesitate to display your products, and distribute samples to the visitors if it is possible. Prepare goodies for the occasion: the only goal is to do brand awareness, and make sure that customers will remember your company. The more you’ll distribute products with your brand’s name, the more visibility you get.
7. Network and start measuring your success
Speak to all of the people you’ve planned to meet in your list. Don’t forget to ask for business cards from people you converse with and give yours in return: it works wonders in the long run. Start to measure the event’s effectiveness by scanning visitor’s badge when they come to see your booth. Moreover, work as closely as you can with the trade show’s organizer to know the figures (how many visitors according to the several entrances). If a show is worthy, you can know in which area of the venue you want to participate next time. You will even have more visitors.
After the show
8. Always follow-up
You have gathered a lot of business cards. It’s now time to classify and save them in your CRM. The next step is to contact all the people you have met in the following days of the exhibition. Send a personalize email to thank them for visiting, and providing them more information about your business. You can even offer a follow-up meeting. It is super important to do it while everyone still remembers each other. A good trade show bears fruit quickly, should you react fast.
9. Plan the next show
Just like famous brands who never stop to advertise, the best exhibitors are continuously looking for the next big trade show. Although you may have succeeded in the last event, you need to ensure that you have well measured what you did, how you did and how you can repeat it using ROI calculation.
10. Get support from international trade show agencies
Participating in an exhibition is highly time consuming and often requires many people in the organisation to get involved. In order to avoid this disruption in work, Expandys, who holds expertise in international trade shows is ready to help you in maximising your investment. Do not hesitate to contact our team.