Why is Exhibiting Important?
Why should your business exhibit? In this modern digital age, you could be forgiven for thinking exhibitions and trade shows are no longer relevant to your business.
But you would be wrong. As so much of our business and marketing is increasingly conducted online, the exhibition industry is bucking this trend.
As our world becomes more and more an isolated digital one, being able to do business with people you can actually shake hands with and look in the eye has never been more popular . . . or necessary.
Despite all the great possibilities offered by online marketing, exhibitions or trade shows still offer unmatched benefits for your business. Yes, there can be risks involved should you decide to exhibit at a trade show – especially when you consider the cost of standing at an exhibition and the likelihood that you’ll get a good ROI in the short-term.
But if your business is not already exhibiting then it should be. You’re missing out on a whole range of game-changing benefits. Benefits that just might make that pivotal difference in transforming your SME into a company that can compete with the big players in your industry.
Here are the top 9 reasons why your business should be exhibiting at a trade show.
1. Show Potential Customers You’re Human
Despite having access to any information we want and the means to communicate with anyone in the world, exhibitions are thriving. Why? Two words: human interaction.
And unlike other pushier forms of outbound marketing, such as cold calling, visitors to exhibitions or trade shows are eager to learn about your products or services – and they may even have paid an admission fee for this privilege. Can you think of any other form of marketing that can provide such an opportunity for your business to reach out to so many receptive potential customers?
This unique ability to meet face-to-face and build a rapport with your target audience in a relaxed atmosphere should not be underestimated. An exhibition show provides you with an experience that just cannot be matched by any form of online communication.
To close sales and make leads you need to build trust. It’s much easier to gain a customer’s trust when they are in front of you – as opposed to over the phone or over email. That is why exhibiting is still, by far, the best way to grab your target audience and build new client relationships.
2. Raise Your Brand Awareness
It goes without saying that this is one of the main reasons to exhibit. You operate in a highly competitive market place, but exhibitions are a fantastic opportunity for your business to make a name for itself. What is more, you can promote your business in an environment where you have the same access to the same clients as the big players in your field.
Of course, simply being present at the exhibition is only one part of this. You will need to ensure you do everything you can to stand out from other exhibitors. The only way to do this is with an eye-catching design that attracts the right type of attention.
Maybe the bigger players in your industry will have larger stands and more floor space but, as we all know, size isn’t everything. With a professional-looking stand design that perfectly captures your brand, you can catch the attention of those valuable leads among the crowded exhibition hall.
Most importantly of all, having a stand at an exhibition is the perfect way to let your industry know your company is serious enough to have its own presence at leading events.
3. Get Hot Leads & Close Deals
According to Exhibitors Survey Inc, over 82% of exhibition attendees have buying influence, and the Simmons Market Research Bureau has found that 1 in 2 visitors make purchases at exhibitions or trade shows.
The scale of sales possibilities for your business at an exhibition cannot be underestimated. Contrast this with laborious cold-calling or email campaigns, where your attempts to connect with a purchase manager will most likely be regarded as an annoying distraction to their busy day.
Standing at an exhibition means you get to sell directly to receptive key decision-makers who will be in buying mode – an undeniably incredible opportunity that cannot be provided by any other form of marketing.
4. Spy (Legally) on Your Competitors
Strong competition at an exhibition doesn’t have to be a negative. In fact, it’s even more of a reason to be standing at a show.
While you’ll be more focused on generating leads and making sales, don’t overlook this invaluable opportunity to do some surveillance on your competitors. Although technology may offer some opportunities to research your industry rivals, at an exhibition you’ll have the rare chance to see what everyone in your field is up to.
If you’re new to exhibiting, you should certainly take the time to walk the floor and see what others are doing differently or better. How are they attracting visitors to their stand? What are they offering potential clients? Find out what ideas or techniques you can use to make improvements to your exhibiting strategy next time around.
5. Stay Ahead of the Curve in Your Industry
No matter how long you have been in business, there is always plenty of room to discover more about your industry. Exhibiting means you have the opportunity to attend numerous industry-orientated presentations, seminars, and lectures taking place during the show.
These talks, delivered by industry experts, can provide you with new insights that you might have otherwise missed. Learning about new ideas and trends in your industry will impact on how your business operates in the future. If a particular speaker has made a good impression on you, why not introduce yourself and get more specific advice on how you can take your business to the next level?
Exhibitions or trade shows are also the places where businesses will launch their new ground-breaking products or announce cutting edge developments. The implications for you cannot be underestimated as their news might mean you have to redefine how your business operates.
Or it might not. The upshot of being at an exhibition when your rivals are trying out new ideas means you get the privilege of seeing how your potential customers react and respond to these changes first hand.
Maybe you were considering taking your business in a similar direction – attending an exhibition means you can let your competitors can be your “canary down the mine”. It might be that their new idea or product hasn’t gone down well with the crowd – in which case you know this is something you might want to avoid or, at least, do differently.
Either way, just by being part of an exhibition you get to discover the direction your industry is heading in – allowing you time to plan your business strategies in a more effective manner.
6. Get Instant Customer Feedback
Customers are the driving force of your business, so it’s important to know what they think and feel about your products and services. An exhibition gives you the perfect opportunity to find out what your existing customers, as well as potential customers, think about your products or services.
It’s also the ideal environment to test how attendees feel about changes you’re thinking about making to your business. With only a small amount of preparation you could gain some valuable market research that may help you unlock some of your business’s issues.
7. Make New Business Partners
Surprisingly, not all of the important contacts you make at an exhibition will be about generating leads and sales with clients. In fact, some of the most significant connections you can make will be other exhibitors.
If you’re exhibiting at a show that is specific to your industry then it won’t just be your rivals who have stands but also other businesses in your supply chain. If you’re a food manufacturer attending a food and drink exhibition then you will have the potential to find better suppliers for your ingredients or packaging.
8. Huge Visitor Attendance
Audience numbers for exhibitions across the UK and Europe are increasing every year. According to Eventbrite, UK exhibitions, on average, attract over 13 million visitors a year, generating over £11 billion in spending.
Great news for the UK economy, and having this unparalleled access to a very large pool of potential sales and leads is fantastic news for your business.
This extraordinary opportunity to attract thousands of attendees to your stand, and make a big impression on them, is precisely why no other form of marketing can offer your business the same experience as exhibiting.
9.Networking with Your Industry Peers
An important, but often overlooked reason for exhibiting is simply the chance to meet and connect with likeminded people in your industry. Rather like conferences, exhibitions or trade shows bring together people in your field from far and wide to one location – at the same time.
Although many of the other exhibitors will be your rivals, it is possible some of their staff could one day be potential employees for your business. Not that it is a good idea to use exhibitions to actively poach talent from your competitors, but if you exhibit at the same shows on a regular basis you can get better acquainted with some of the people you might like to work with in the future.
This is not only a great way to get to know new people in your industry but to also arrange meetings with clients or business partners who will be attending the event.
Taking the time to network with your industry peers at an exhibition might open up invaluable business opportunities you would never have come across by staying at your home workplace.
Not Already Exhibiting? Then Your Business is Missing Out
As you can see from these 9 benefits, exhibiting is a unique form of marketing that your business simply cannot afford to miss out on. By offering your business a huge number of potential leads with customers you can interact with personally all in one place, exhibitions present opportunities that other forms of marketing simply cannot match.
Even in this digital age, exhibiting is still one of the best ways to build your brand, transform your business, and gain invaluable insights into your industry. It is important though that you ensure you choose the right exhibition for your company.