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8 magical steps for a successful trade exhibition for small businesses.

8 steps to successful trade exhibition experience

Brands exhibiting at Divas of Colour.

You’ve been to several trade show events as an exhibitor and have got the same results and experiences. You’ve probably concluded that trade shows are rubbish. They don’t work. You may even think organisers just rip you off. Before you make further mistakes just read this through and you will come back to thank me, later.

In my five years in events, there’s been a remarkable amount of complaints from event vendors on not achieving their desired goals. Some feel their investment has been a waste and they blame the event organiser.

However, correcting these simple mistakes brands and small businesses make and implementing these simple tips, will help your small business thrive through exhibitions once again. I just want to see you in the number of those who give great testimonials and give your event organiser something to smile about. With these tips, it’s a win, win for you and your event organiser.

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1.Early Registration: Every year, we request that exhibitors fill our feedback forms so that we get a picture of how they did. What we find is that 80% of the businesses that registered at the last minute are the ones who complain of not making sales.

Early registration is one of the keys to a successful outing. When you book your stall, event organisers notify their network and most people will make a mental note of which brands are of interest and they plan to meet them. Oftentimes, research more about the brand and make their budget. Some will go another mile to start making their purchases if you have an online store, and if they feel happy with your brand, will come down on the day to show off what a treasure they got from you. Once we’ve had a client who sold out before the event as soon as she was announced as an exhibitor. A cheeky lady, in the end, she didn’t bother coming to set up on the tradeshow anymore. Register for your exhibition at least 4 to 3 months before the actual event date.

2. Take advantage of the event promotions and campaigns.

Exhibition forms part of your marketing strategy. Just like advertising and every other activity you undertake, you don’t stop just because your first attempt didn’t go as you expected it. Successful marketing usually has a lot to do with your attitude towards their exhibition. Some entrepreneurs register their brand for exhibition and disappear, and expect the organiser to get them all the results.

You need to understand that your exhibitor registration is a marketing investment which must be nurtured to yield. It is a form of partnership whereby you pay a fraction of the cost. Exhibitions are usually subsidised compared to when you host your own independent brand launch. Treat every exhibition you register for as another brand re-launch. Without this mind-set, you will fail.

This is time for you to reach out to your old customers, drag them down to your stall, in many cases, they become your spokesperson at event as they feel happy to show off their satisfaction from using your product and services. Also an opportunity to connect and find new clients.

Use this opportunity to gain more traffic to your website, create competitions and prizes. Negotiate with your event organiser to have more complimentary tickets and use it to treat your most loyal clients. Tap into any hash tags from the event as this will earn you more re-shares, repost and retweets.

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3. Focus on the exhibitor package that will serve you not the cost.
It is good to manage your budget effectively. However, do not allow money determine your buying decision. Most people are quick to go for the lowest priced levels without considering what they want or need. Check properly that what you want has been covered in the package level you have chosen otherwise, you might feel unhappy on the day which in itself is a fail way before the event. It is penny wise, pound foolish as you will discover post event.

Check through and make note of what you expect, what you want before clicking on that send button. Regardless of what is shown on the whitepaper, it is a known fact that VIP or high level buyers always have the priority when it comes to choosing, and taking. So when you see that other exhibitors are getting all the attentions than yourself, you may find out they have gone a little above your package.

If for any reason you don’t find the things you need, it is always wise to have a word with your event organiser. Negotiation is still part of business the last time I checked. You can negotiate your way through every difficulty. So don’t rule out anything until you have made that call or sent out that email.

4. Treat your exhibition as a collaboration; Establish a cordial relationship with your event organiser

When you genuinely warm up to people, they open up for you. Remember, your event organiser may be dealing with several other people. Each competing for their attention and help. You want to stand out and feel at home during your event. Good rapport, great team player attitude is your master key.

When you play this well and genuinely, your brand name is easily remembered, which means your brand has a 20% more chance of getting that all important pre-event promotion.

Stay engaged with the event. Show interest both on social media and other places. Use the event hashtags, and tweet the organisers. You will find you have more shout outs than everyone else and this will increase your chances and exposure. You also find on the day that the event team are more likely to remember you and will easily attend to your needs as well as directing people to your stand. Be a team player and get into the game.

5. Create and Define your brand. Stand Out.

Before you register for exhibition make sure your business has a recognisable element to it. Have your branding at least done to a minimal. Have your logo, social media handles, and or website. Have a clear definition and description of what your business is about, what it’s offering and what your clients must expect.

Some entrepreneurs register their business without a business name, no business description, no target audience or what the audience should expect. Your event organiser cannot do that for you neither can they convince your potential clients on how good your products or services might be.

If you don’t know what to do, then it’s a great opportunity for you to learn. Approach event organiser and see if they have any package that can help you with sorting out these minor things. In my experience, most event organisers are marketing and PR experts as well. If they can’t help you directly, they definitely can direct you to who will.

6. Be known with a few events and build with the audience.

A lot of women are caught up in this attitude. Running from one event to the other and getting the same result. You find that it is not the events but your inability to troubleshoot your results. Loyalty is everything. It is good to build a brand presence with a particular event – maybe one or two events. Especially at the beginning of your business. This helps to make your brand identifiable to the audience and when they take note of you, they expect to see you at the next event. You might lose many clients for failing to have a repeat call at your previous event. There maybe people who saw you, didn’t necessarily make a purchase but have taken note of your brand and will come back for you next time.

Be known with particular events and stick with them. These become part of your brand identity. Don’t disappoint your prospects.

7. Exhibit with the long term benefits in mind.

So many people go for exhibition with sales, sales, occupying their minds. Therefore, they become too aggressive on making sales on the day and thus losing out on the juice part of it. Don’t be a money chaser. Be a client builder. Establish connections and be ready to follow through.

Trade shows are great platforms to build your database, make offers, and build a clientele. If you exhibit to just recoup all your investment at once, then you create a tensed environment for yourself and your prospects. You in fact form an unconscious repellent around you. And it will be a total disaster.

Exhibit to meet people, tell them about your product and services, show them how it works, let them try it, connect with them on social media, be friendly and approachable. Move round and talk to people. Drag them to your stall. (One secret; people are drawn to a stand that has more people around it, where the fun is.) Consider, having some digital display, music or pictures that will attract people to your corner.

Brands exhibiting at Divas of Colour.

8. Lack of or lacklustre preparation for the day.

I’ve had exhibitors showing up about 2 hours after event has begun. They’re so unorganised, panicky, and agitated. They are already angry and can’t find where to position their stand.

A week before the event day, you must have gone through your checklist to make sure you have everything you. (Come back for the checklist here ). A day before your show, also go through everything. Determine how you intend to get there. Check all correspondence with organiser and be sure where to pack if you’re driving. Also check for any events that could cause traffic on the road. Plan to avoid them if any by either looking for other routes or leaving much earlier. Plan to get to the venue at least one hour before start time, and have your stand set 30 minutes before guests arrivals.

Make sure you rested well the previous night and have your warm cheerful self ready to win.

Sponsored.

Book Your Stall to Exhibit At Divas of Colour

Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu is a features writer focusing on people's stories, entrepreneurship, start-ups, social media marketing, and profiling. Follow her on Twitter - @fauntee Official Website: www.faunteebon.com Mantra: Real Women Think Legacy.

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