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Ten Top Tips for making the most of your time at an exhibition

Some of us love them, some of us dread them, but if you are planning to exhibit at a conference for the first time, here are some handy tips to make your life easier and less stressful!

1 – Decide if it’s really for you – just because you’ve been asked to be an exhibitor, doesn’t mean that you should be! Check out who is likely to attend, are they your target market? Find out what sort of footfall the event gets and make a judgement based on that, and the costs involved. If that event is not for you – there will be another one that is just perfect.

2- Consider your marketing messages – what key message do you want to portray at this event? Make sure that the message is consistent across all of your marketing for the event. You can add your marketing message to any collateral for the event – banners, flyers, promotional products etc (which should be ordered in advance of the event – don’t risk being without this on the day(s) of the event.

3 – Tell people that you’ll be there! Make sure that you tell your existing/potential customers that you will be there. Give them the chance to attend themselves and meet you on neutral territory! It’s a great way to add value to a customer relationship if you tell them of events that are relevant to them. By telling people that you’ll be there, it also opens up the opportunity for other discussions around the event- so you can get involved with fellow exhibitors or attendees before the event.

4- Plan your look – you’ll know your marketing messages – but plan how your exhibition space will look – will you have a table? If so, how big will it be and what will be on it? Practice this in advance, and you can even take a photo of it to help you on the day of the exhibition. Think about how YOU will look too – what will you wear to promote your brand well?

5- Organise your business cards! – this event is likely to be busier than your standard network meetings – so make sure that you have plenty of business cards to give out to people that you talk to. Ideally, you’ll want to be capturing their details too, so that you can stay in touch – whether this is with their business card, or them entering their details directly into your database via a smart screen.

6- How will you attract attention? – in a busy space, you need to create a buzz to attract people to your stand – whether this is in the form of giveaways (it doesn’t have to be pens! Maybe a useful checklist or top tips with your details on). Maybe you’ll run a prize draw, maybe you’ll have something interactive on your stand – think about who you want to attract and what would attract them (within reason!)

7 – Be prepared! Charge your phone/laptop/ipad before you set off and (if necessary) take your chargers (or branded Power Banks!) with you – you don’t want to be juiceless whilst you’re demonstrating your product/service to potential customers. Take a drink, talking is exhausting and you’ll find that you’ll dry out quickly.

8- Stay calm! – easier said than done sometimes- but by preparing in advance, you’ll be as confident as you can be! Have faith in your brand, and your own abilities to promote it. Remember WHY people want to do business with you.

9 – 30 seconds –  practice your “elevator pitch” -what are the key messages that you want to get across – how will you tell people what you do (if it’s not obvious), and why you stand out from the crowd.

10 – FOLLOW UP!  Make sure you follow up on ALL of the contacts that you make on the day – this can be a bit time consuming, but it is worth it- make sure that you remember any key conversations that you’ve had with people on the day – you might find that a small notebook on the day helps you to keep up with who is who.

Take your time to prepare and enjoy yourself along the way – you’ll be just great!

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