Using the exhibition organiser’s PR company
Most, if not all, shows will have a PR team working on the event and whether that’s an internal or external team, they are always looking for a good story! Be sure initially introduce yourself and your business to them and send them interesting stories and information.The better quality and engaging the photographs are, the greater chance of landing on social media or press you have!
Your business could be celebrating a big milestone in the number of years trading, or it could be a family business over a certain number of generations, you may have won awards recently or be the first company to bring this product to market – anything that sets you apart from your competitors!
Tip: Get your whole team to engage with the organiser’s PR company, too!
Hosting a competition where the winner is announced at the exhibition!
You might want to do a teaser campaign to your database by giving them little bits of information about your products/services with a competition element or everyone going into a draw at the show itself. You could engage the organizers to announce the winner at the show over the PA system. People love to hear their own name being called out or to be the winner of something! Engaging people like this also increases the chance that they will visit the show and ultimately your exhibition stand.
Tip: Create a clever teaser campaign
Promote something that will discount specifically at the exhibition
As with all things in life, people like to get the best deal or a discount on something so it’s always worth promoting a special offer just for the show. This is also a nice introduction via email before the show to entice them to visit, as you are giving them something of real value. Facebook is a great avenue for this type of promotion and works well. One thing I saw recently was a company offering a £50 voucher at the show to redeem post-show, just for visiting their stand. Not everyone can afford to do this but it’s a great way of getting visitors to come to your stand…what happens after they do is up to you!
Tip: Have a free/discounted offer for the show only
Send them a discounted voucher that can only be redeemed at the exhibition
You could look at the same thing as above but send them the voucher in advance! They’ll have to redeem it on the show days which will help you with footfall to your exhibition stand and also entice them to buy at the event. You could go a step further and personalise the voucher with their name on it. It makes them feel more valued as a customer and is a strong way of getting personal engagement.
As an aside but connected… emails sent with the person’s name in the subject line get a 2.6% higher open rate and I think it’s fair to say you will probably find the same with personalized vouchers! 1,000 vouchers at a 2.6% return… you work the math out as to why this makes sense!
Tip: Create a redeem at show voucher
Put your stand number on all invoices, statements, or any other material you send out to clients.
People often underestimate the real estate on all their posted correspondence they send out to clients such as statements, invoices, reminders etc. Putting your exhibition stand number on this correspondence is an easy thing to do and again serves as a reminder that you’re at the show.
The correspondence you send out very often is passed to multiple people in an organization so it’s valuable real estate that can and should be used.
Tip: Put your stand number on everything!
Communicate your exhibition stand number on social media
Similar to above, social media plays such a big part in marketing. It’s not just our connections that see our social media posts but also the wider platform that it’s share upon. It’s important that you promote your exhibition stand via all social media channels that you are present on. This is straightforward to do and if we get in the habit of it then it just becomes another possible visitor channel for us. Be sure to read the full guide on how to maximise your impact on social media.
Tip: Put your stand number and an offer on social media
Send out free invitations supplied by the organiser to your full database
Every show will offer you a number of free tickets to give directly to your client, this is hugely in the organizer’s interest as it’s one of their key routes to get visitors. Make sure all your key clients get a ticket from you either in print or electronic format. It may surprise you that a lot of the exhibitors I have worked with over the past 25 years either don’t do this or send them out too late!
Conversely, you don’t want to send them out too early as they get lost or forgotten, timing is crucial. Ensure that your customer receives the ticket(s) 2 weeks before the show. (Little tip here would be to keep a very small stock of them at the exhibition itself as your clients may arrive without them and it’s a nice touch to be able to meet them at the front door and give them a ticket – and save them or you the embarrassment of them having to pay it!)
Tip: Hold back a few tickets for on-site at your exhibition stand
Offer competition prizes for the organizers to use in pre-show advertising.
This tends to be more prevalent at consumer shows, but very often the organizers look for prizes from exhibitors for competitions – this can be a great way of getting your brand in front of thousands of people pre-show for a competition. This may be promoted on the radio or national media so it’s a great opportunity to get more publicity and rally your business as a key exhibitor at the show. You’ll need to give them the prize free of charge so be sure to weigh up the costs and your overall marketing budget, however, in my experience it’s very often worth it!
Tip: Decide what you could offer as a prize for a competition
Do a pre-show blog or newsletter about what you will be showing
Newsletters and ezines are becoming a more effective marketing channel each year and doing an ezine and promoting your exhibition stand at a show is becoming increasingly the norm. Get your marketing team onto Mailchimp or whatever email marketing channel you use and promote your exhibition stand to your database.
Again, very effective for special offers, discounts or other things offered at the show. Word of warning, I would ensure the ezine is not solely about the show as this can alienate or be oversell to some people, but do make it a strong feature within the ezine.
Stephan “The Exhibition Guy” Murtagh has 25+ years’ experience in the exhibition and events industry and has worked with many of the biggest organisers in the industry. As a qualified Fetac trainer, he set-up The Exhibition Guy to educate and train people on how to sell more, his website features module-based courses and coaching for real-life situations within the sector.
Contact The Exhibition Guy to learn how he can help manage and educate your exhibiting team.