Thinking of promoting your business at B2B events but not sure where to start? Here’s our guide to everything from what you’ll need for your stand to the likely costs involved, and how to make the most of exhibiting.
In the modern world much of our marketing activity is online and/or digital. However the vast majority of businesses still promote their products and services by using traditional as well as modern marketing techniques. Even those that are mainly operated over digital channels will still use traditional marketing methods to promote themselves.
At the end of the day people buy from people and building and maintaining a healthy supply of customers and prospects is vitally important to most businesses. And one of the most effective ways of generating new contacts and keeping in touch with existing customers is by taking part in business exhibitions.
But if you have never exhibited before, where do you start and what do you need? Hopefully some of the areas outlined below might help.
There are a wide variety of exhibitions on offer, from trade specific to all sectors, from local and regional events to national and even international. The costs of taking part vary too with exhibition space ranging from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands.
Where possible try and visit some events to see what different exhibition spaces and displays are on offer and to get an overall feel for how they work. This can then help you decide whether a particular event would be right for you.
Alternatively, identify a lower cost event and use it as an opportunity to try out exhibiting for the first time and then review how it went and how you can apply any lessons learned going forward.
What do you need on your stand
Most exhibitors at an event will have a table and chairs (often provided as part of the fee, sometimes charged separately) a pop up banner and some leaflets/brochures or other marketing materials (don’t forget your business cards).
At a basic level, any visitors approaching your stand should have an idea of what you do – and this should be reflected in the display that you have (bear in mind that a pop up banner is often positioned behind a table so make sure that the most important information is visible).
There are many different types of displays that exhibiting companies use, with a pop up (or roller) banner costing around £50 – £100 and more comprehensive standing displays costing £300 – £1000.
If you are looking to keep your initial costs down, a budget of £100- £150 should be enough to cover the costs of producing your pop up banner, producing some short run leaflets or brochures (or use existing ones), a few tubs of sweets/chocolates for visitors, maybe a bottle of sparkling wine for a business card draw. You may want to bring a work laptop to show your website or a rolling PowerPoint presentation.
How many Staff
If possible try and have two people available for your stand so that there is always one person there to talk to visitors (and you can take it in turn to talk to other exhibitors, take coffee and comfort breaks, attend workshops or networking sessions etc).
If you can only have one person on the stand, try and get to the event early so that you can set up and have some time to talk to other exhibitors before visitors come in.
Networking with fellow exhibitors is a key benefit of taking part in a business event.
Set Some Objectives
Even if you don’t want to set precise targets, you should think about what you want to achieve by exhibiting at an event.
Probably the most important aim for most exhibitors is to try and build up as many new contacts as possible – certainly from visitors coming to your stand (so collecting business cards during conversations but also maybe through having a business card draw etc) but also from fellow exhibitors.
Another valuable feature of exhibiting is to be able to invite your own customers and prospects to see you on your stand (almost like your own Open Day).
And don’t forget to ask the event organisers for their assistance and input in helping you achieve your objectives.
Promote Your Presence
If you have decided to exhibit at an event, make sure that you are promoting the fact that you are going to be there. Book on to the event as early as possible to give you time to maximise your profile on social media and other channels – and work with the event organisers so that they can help you make the most of the event by promoting your presence and highlighting any special offers or messages that you want advertised.
So could this year be the time for you to start exhibiting?
For more information about our 2022 Business Fairs please click here.