Telling People You Are Going To Be There

Thursday, 02. July 2015

You've decided to take the plunge and put in a presence at your first exhibition. You will have booked your stand, confirmed the stand number, started organising your show graphics and planning the content. But, whatever your exhibition goals are you're not going to achieve them unless people know where, and when, you are exhibiting. Whether your ambitions are to generate a certain number of pre-qualified leads, raise awareness of your brand or boost your product's profile you need to communicate effectively to customers and prospects.


It might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of business that seem to think that  simply being at an exhibition is enough. The truth is that you have to push the message out to everyone, at every opportunity and that takes a little forward planning of its own.


Start publicising your intention to exhibit as soon as you have confirmed a stand number at your chosen event. You want to reach all your customers, prospects and key influencers. Begin with using all your usual outbound channels – web, email, newsletters, and standard post. Start blogging about your preparations, and include shorter updates on your website news section. If you tweet, tweet the links to your blogs and news articles with every development. Use your social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn too, but remember not to simply duplicate the same message on every platform, as your audience will not warm to reading the same thing in three different places!


Depending on the volume of your outgoing post, you might consider stamping or stickering envelopes with your exhibition details e.g. 'See us on stand J301 at Sprocket World 2016, July 7-10, at the NEC!' or something similar. Likewise, if you amend all company outbound email signatures to do the same, you can broadcast the message far and wide with minimum effort. In digital communications, remember to include a link to your own website news and the show website wherever possible.


Next you should find out what the organiser is offering in terms of marcomms support. Find out if there are opportunities for mentions on social media, the show site, or other supporting communications. Check to see whether there are exhibitor profiles or listings on the show site. Make full use of every opportunity offered!


Organisers and venues want your stand to be well attended as much as you do – and should support you in all your efforts to achieve this. If you can time your exhibiting to coincide with some newsworthy activity, unveiling a new model or product, or launching a new brand, then you have an ideal combination for a press release you can distribute to your industry trade press and other appropriate outlets to reach your target audience. You may even want to invite the press to your stand to see what's new.


In brief, tell everyone! But plan your messaging strategy to release a steady stream of well differentiated news and updates building up to the event, and spread it across several channels.