Exhibiting at a trade fair or conference will give you the opportunity to launch and showcase your products to a targeted audience of qualified buyers with face to face meetings. Exhibitions are also a great brand building opportunity and give you the chance to evaluate your competitors, learn about any future industry trends and help you penetrate emerging markets.

Visitors to an exhibition have direct access to suppliers and have the opportunity to examine, question and compare products. They will be the first to see new products and keep up to date with new developments and innovations in their market.

Exhibitions can be challenging when you have a lot of information you want to get across to potential customers and competition will be fierce. It will take a potential customer only five seconds to walk past your stand so you need to stand out in a crowded market place, grab their attention, create a lasting impact and communicate your key message quickly. Don't just stand there waiting for attendees to come to you, don't clutter and over stuff you stand with too much information or over staff your stand with staff that have a lack of product knowledge and enthusiasm.

Reach your customers with a targeted approach and focus on one or two essential messages and supplement with brochures, flyers and promotional giveaways. Make sure your stand is visible and really stands out from your competitors, try and get close to the entrance of the venue or around food stands or even the toilets were footfall is at its highest. There will be hundreds of other exhibitors just like you trying to appeal to thousands of attendees so ensure you have a vibrant, unique and eye catching stand that is functional and using promotional items and giveaways can significantly increase traffic to your stand. Make sure you have tidy and professional staff manning your stand and promoting your brand in corporate branded shirts, printed t-shirts or embroidered polo shirts that will help reinforce your brand. Suited and booted staff often doesn't stand out from the throng of attendees. Think carefully about which promotional items and literature to give away on your stand. Promotional giveaways can be a clever marketing tool but handing giveaways out to anyone that passes your stand can be expensive and could blow your budget so look for special offers and low cost options for the day. Consider giving any literature or giveaways in customised, personalised bags so everyone attending will see your brand being carried all around the event.

Trade Fair by JATAWTF via Wikimedia Commons

Trade Fair by JATAWTF via Wikimedia Commons

Amazingly a lot of companies spend thousands exhibiting but then fail to follow up on leads generated and potential new clients. It is vital to follow up on any potential leads and attendees you spoke to on the day otherwise all your hard work and effort has gone to waste. When you give away promo items try and capture details about these customers and record details of the conversations you have had and the customer's requirements rather than just hand literature out to anyone who passes. Most attendees of exhibitions will return back to the office with a bag full of brochures, flyers and freebies that will often get stuffed under a desk and forgotten about. Send a follow up email and a postal mailing including a promotional item that your customers will use back in the workplace and one that will serve as a continuous reminder of your services like a branded mug, mouse mat or sticky notes that are cheap and cost effective to mail out.

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