Exhibitions, whether they be local or national, are a great way to promote your business and generate leads.

I’m  exhibiting with a stand for Attractive Marketing at the Better Business Conference at the Hilton London Gatwick Aiport on 11th October. Come and see me! To ensure I get the most out of the event and a return on my investment, here’s my check list.

1) Choose the right exhibition
Check out the demographics of the visitors.  They should match the profile of your typical client and the target audience you wish to attract.

2) Make a plan
Create a project plan with tasks, dates and budgets.   What needs to be done by when and how much it’s going to cost.

Don’t leave things to the last minute.  If you are having a roll up made or exhibition stand get started on the design and the message early so that it’s not a rush job.

3) PR
Take all the opportunities presented by the organisers of the event to promote your business.  As standard there should be entry in a programme and on their website.  There will be other opportunities such as speaker slots of key sponsors that can be considered

Promote yourself too.  Invite your customers and prospects to your stand.  Use social media to tell your followers about the event and that you’d love them to drop by to say hello.
Update your website with the event.  Write a blog!

4) Stand out from the crowd
Make your space at the exhibition inviting and interesting.  This includes you!  It’s hard work but keep smiley, enthusiastic and attentive.  And make your stand attractive, interesting and appealing.

Have an ice breaker to get the conversation going.  I’ve used an indoor putting competition in the past that became quite competitive!

Consider the most appropriate literature that will provide answers to the visitors’ questions and present your products or services attractively.  This may be a printed flyer or mini brochure.  And have loads of business cards to hand.

Free give aways are always popular.  Especially branded mugs or pens because they are useful and will be used for a long time after the show.

5) How are you going to capture visitor details?
A competition or draw will provide quantity but it’s important to find out a little bit more about your visitor and whether they are a potential customer with a requirement you can fulfil.

Prepare a few questions to ask that will give you some insight to their requirements.  These can be printed on a form so that you can quickly note down their response.  Have a stapler handy to attach their business card.

6) Follow up!
This is really important to ensure that you maximise the return on your investment and reap the rewards of the effort you’ve put in.

Have an email already prepared so that you can swiftly send a thank you to everyone who visited your stand.  Invite them to join you on LinkedIn so that you can stay in touch.
Then prioritise the leads making phone calls a couple of days later to the ‘hot’ ones.  Know the objective of this call i.e. to make an appointment, ask for the order etc.