5 Tips for Increasing the ROI of your Expo Participation
By Alice Kuepper, Event Director, Online Retailer
Participating in an exhibition is a big investment and whilst signing up might feel like the biggest decision, the really important part is getting ready for the show so you are making the most out of it and can demonstrate a return on the investment.
Online Retailer is only 10 weeks away. Now is a good time to think about your stand and decide how it will look and what it should achieve.
Here are some tips to help you get ready for the show:
#1 – Know your purpose
What is your objective for participating at the event? Is it about lead generation, brand awareness or nurturing relationships? Each of those objectives will be best served with different stand designs. For example, if you need to collect new leads then you might not need a big booth, and could instead invest in ideas and activities that drive many visits to your stand, such as speaking at the conference or drawing a great prize.
If your objective is more about nurturing relationships, then you might want to think about a larger space with comfortable lounges, perhaps investing in a coffee machine so that you can invite clients for a conversation.
Lastly there is the brand aspect. If you are new to the market you may decide to make a grand entrance and work with a design agency on something really impressive. Or you have you always had a shell stand but feel that your brand has evolved? It might be time for something more impressive and creative.
The look & feel of your stand will determine how conducive it is for a certain engagement. So make sure you understand your purpose and design for this.
#2 – Prepare
I cannot stress this enough – prepare for your participation and work with the organisers! Exhibition halls are like malls and exhibitor stands are like shops. We need to work together to get people to buy.
Share your wish lists of new target accounts with the organisers. We can work with you in inviting them to the event and your stand. At Reed Exhibitions we have developed new matchmaking systems that enable us to direct people to the exhibitor categories they are interested in. We can outline specific categories but without information about what you are showing we do not have enough to share. If you are launching a new product, make sure you share this with the organisers as they can do social media shout outs on your behalf.
Invite your clients to visit you at the event, we have marketing kits ready for you to use. If you have existing clients at your stand engaged in conversations you have much higher chances of attracting more people to your stand. They will talk about their great relationship with you and be your advocates. Make sure your company star is at the event, this may be your Founder, CEO or your Head of Business Development. If you have been in the market for a while, it’s the person the industry knows and will come to greet. This creates excitement and buzz and people will want to visit your stand.
Think about any new material and assets you might want to distribute, and take into account the production lead times. Get them done early and perhaps think about something new (other than mints or stress balls).
Lastly, if you cannot dedicate much time to the furniture in your stand, make sure to take advantage of the Walk on Packages we provide. You can choose from different packages and inclusions and it is a very easy way to have everything on your stand ready so that your team just needs to arrive with their knowledge.
#3 – Surprise and connect
Make your stand an experience. Just like shops need to engage consumers your expo stand will be so much more successful if you surprise, delight and engage your visitors. Make it fun or informative to visit your stand, have a conversation opener, this can be an activity or a giveaway.
Most importantly, choose the people who will be at the stand wisely to represent your brand. They need to be social and comfortable at engaging with people. Sometimes the people who know most about your product are not the best people to be staffing your stand. It is crucial that you do not let anyone on your stand work on their laptop or phone during the expo – this is the best way to keep people away.
#4 – Extend your reach
If you have only booked a stand space, make sure you have giveaways, treats or wearable gifts that will extend your brand beyond the stand. If you have the budget think of something new or unique that other visitors will notice and desire. An even better way to extend your reach is by adding a gift bag insert or a speaking opportunity. There is no better way to educate customers and prospects about your product and service than by sharing a success story with a client. If presented well, people will talk about it at the event and you will be seeked out for your expertise.
#5 – Follow up fast
Out of sight, out of mind (because there are meetings to held, emails to be answered and decisions to be made). So follow up with the people you connected with as soon as possible. Latest lead tracking devices will allow exhibitors to download their data in real time. Make sure to allocate time with your teams following the event to evaluate the data and to follow up with qualified leads with a meaningful comms piece. If you can, individualise the messages so that they are relevant to the conversations held.
At Reed Exhibitions we have developed a new in-house lead scanning app called Emperia which will be made available for free to all exhibitors. The real advantage of this lead app for our exhibitors is that connections are two-way: visitors will receive a list of exhibitors who they met with so that they can also follow up on their own account and be reminded of the interactions they had.
I hope these tips were useful or have at least have prompted you to start thinking and planning your participation. The team and I are always happy to assist, as we want nothing more than for each one of our exhibitors to have a successful show. I cannot wait to welcome you to the 10th Online Retailer at the ICC Sydney from 25-26 July 2018. See you there!