The New year beckons with a host of trading events for launching new ranges & brands. Will you be squeezing the maximum value out of your investment from that next group Trade fair / Craft Market stall / Exhibition appearance?
So you’ve booked a stand – what next?
You’ve just signed off on an application form and are about to part with some hard-earned cash for the next stand / booth / stall. What would you do next?
Well, the last thing you’re going to do is sit back and merely wait for the day to arrive, load up your displays in the vehicle and assume there will get a stampede to your stand once the doors open, just by being there.
Granted, most of you are well versed in the art of pre – show promotions and will proceed by letting all and sundry in your client list and database know about your next event. If you are like the rest of us, you are probably looking for ways to stretch that marketing budget as you promote your participation pre event. There will be much brochure printing, decorative packaging and sales promotions set up in-house in anticipation. Question is, are you going to use that other large promotional machine that should be working just as hard on your behalf: The event organisers?
It’s not 3 dimensional Space you paid for – it’s a 4 dimensional Opportunity
Think in 4 dimensions – you didn’t just pay for a 3 dimensional space confined to the 4 walls of the venue floor plan – you paid for a slice of the cumulative experience, history, database, reach, PR contacts and advertising budget that an event has to offer before, during and after the event. What I have noticed in the past at our annual trade fair, is how some exhibitors were not prepared enough to exploit pre show visitor campaigns to their fullest potential, at a time when marketing via social media opens up a whole new array of additional promotional opportunities to a wider audience and every little helps. Most event organisers work hard on several channels such as trade press advertising, feature advertorial, direct marketing via post and email, digital marketing, and Telemarketing in advance of every show. Fancy tapping into this?
It’s a symbiotic thing
As a participant in an event your products, your offers, your photo shoots, your story and even your expertise are all valuable content to any organiser engaging in pre-show promotion. What’s in it for you? Getting all or any of these elements embedded in their publicity machine ensures you get seen and remembered by potential buyers before they arrive, giving you a competitive advantage vis-a-vis other stall holders. In the digital world it would also be a potential boost to your rankings online of you create links with the event’s online presence. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship: the more content the organiser gets in promoting the event, the more buzz is generated about your presence and the event itself, the more likely it will be a successful one for you. Here are some examples:
Content is King – take the initiative and provide the following:
- Have a portfolio of good photographs be they product shots or good profile shots of you and your work if you are selling a service. You should already be able to recycle these from your own promotional material. Organisers are hungry for attractive and colourful graphic content for their printed brochures, advertising, website galleries, visitor tickets & invites, etc.
- Provide well written copy and press releases ready to go with any photos you submit or new ranges you will be introducing. When the organisers begin putting together a blog, newsletters or press Features / Advertorial, you are making it easy for them to use your products as examples of what to expect at the show. This can be linked from your website.
- Have you an interesting bio or story about your company, yourself including interesting historical facts about your company? Share it. The organisers may choose to profile the exhibitors at their event in press releases and in newsletters to their target buyers in the run up to the show
- Have you a sales promotion, discount code, coupon or free gift to redeem at the event? It’s your hook to potential buyers and existing ones to visit your stand the event. Make sure the organiser includes this in their newsletter marketing, catalogue listings both printed & online.
- Ask if you can piggy back on their invite mail out both online and in the post – for a small fee you could probably insert a flyer and I bet it will still cost less than if you did it yourself.
- Make available any respected, well-known or creative people in your company including yourself for interviews especially if you have expertise to brag about. If you have a blog, why not offer these up to the digital marketing side of the event as a guest blogger? It costs nothing right?
- Want to make it easier for your contacts and clients to get in the doors? Make sure the organiser sends them direct invites to come to the event. It saves your target clients the hassle of having to look for a way to register for the event.
Above all make sure your handy info is handed in early to the event marketing team early for inclusion in show catalogues and online listing on the event website. Don’t forget the better looking shots get placed in the press, advertorial, in print, or on show website galleries ahead of the others.
Everytime you walk down Grafton Street its the quirky, colourful, titillating, and most eye-catching products in the storefront window displays that make you, the potential Buyer stop, linger and even walk into the store to make that purchase. Just remember, the same principles apply to events be it a Market, Conference, Exhibition, or Trade Fair. You can maximise your presence in the marketplace in the same way: Be more visible to potential buyers through the pre show visitor campaigns: get into that virtual window display.