Events – Stand Out From The Crowd?

I am sure that at some point in your business life, you would have been to a trade fair or business event of some sort? There are now more events available than ever before and they are great for both exhibitors and visitors, allowing companies to raise their profiles and for all attendees to network, meet new clients, contractors and / or suppliers.

However, (most) events come at a very high price for exhibitors. Not only do you need to book exhibition space, but if you haven’t already got one, you will also need to create a stand, produce print materials and merchandise, pay for accommodation, meals etc.

Being quirky, different and unique is key to any event, whether it is a small local one, or a huge national event being hosted at Olympia, ExCeL or NEC.

So today, I would like to talk to you about how to maximise your event opportunities.

Stand (out!)

Your stand should attract people and encourage them to stop and be intrigued, you shouldn’t clutter your message by splashing too much writing across your walls and banners and you should try to play with pictures and illustrations. It is also recommended to use simple, easy to understand language, as you may find that there are a number of foreign visitors in attendance, who may not be able to understand industry jargon and posh words.

If you’re looking to exhibit a few times a year it would most probably be worth purchasing a stand if your exhibition space is likely to be consistent, but if this is an irregular activity, a cheaper alternative may be to hire one.


money-grabber-machine-750px-2Once you have designed your stand, the next step should be to create “activities or attractions”, which are engagement tools to make people stop and come over to your stand

Depending on your industry and the type of event you’re attending, playing a video on a loop can be a great tactic.

I personally like it when a company thinks outside of the box and really puts on something creative – some kind of game or competition. This way t
he potential visitor stays at your stand for longer, meaning you have more time to chat to him or her. On the other hand, a busy stand, full of people, attracts more people – this is just how it is.

There are 100s, if not 1,000s of games that you could use – from guessing ones (how many sweets in a jar? Guess the weight of this product?) to more interactive ones (game simulations and ‘The Cube’ type of games – throw as many balls into a see-through box in 1 minute, or catch as many items inside a cube in 30 seconds). You could also provide visitors with entertainment – magician, DJ, sport car or even a well-known celebrity – the sky is the limit.

You may start to be wondering how all this is related to my brand or service offerings – well, the truth is, it doesn’t have to be!

Games are not only a great way to attract people to your stand, but they are very useful for data capture, as it is highly recommended to incorporate a prize draw into your game. By delaying the draw until the end of the event, it requires entrants to pass over their contact details, which you can then use at a later date.

If you don’t have capabilities or don’t want to offer a game then a prize draw is a great alternative. 99% of people who visit business events will have a business card on them, explain to them that you’re running a competition, tell them about the prize and encourage them to pop their business card into the draw.

Once again, the sky is the limit when it comes to prizes – these could vary from a bottle of a champagne, to High Street vouchers, Spa or hotel breaks, tablets, smart watches or phones, to your own products or services.

Driving Footfall To Your Stand

The area for your stand within the floor plan is now selected, stand is designed and we have talked about some of the activities that we may want to run. IMG_3040
However, we need people (visitors) to come in order for it to be worthwhile. Last month, I talked in my blog on maximising the footfall to stands at events – if you would like you can read it here.

Plus, I don’t know if you remember, but I mentioned earlier in this blog that a crowd of people around a stand should in theory attract even bigger crowds?

This can be achieved in a couple of ways, you can use your own staff to drive footfall to your stand by engaging with people as they walk past, or you could look to use Brand Ambassadors – also known as promoters – who can act on your behalf and do the initial engagement aspect for you. This then frees your staff to answer questions about your products and service, run through demos and ultimately close sales.

Leveraging Your Brand

As a marketer, you want to ensure that after the event your brands recognition maintains momentum for the foreseeable future.

A fantastic way of doing this is to produce and hand out different types of merchandise and giveaways. Just like the games, you want to be different and try where possible to stay away from the typical events merchandise – pens, notepads, bags, mugs, pencils, stress balls, USB sticks and key rings. Everyone hands out these goodies – be different – be quirky. I often say less is more – give something smaller, which lasts longer.

For example, recently I was given a branded travel adapter that is very useful as I travel a lot, its kept in my suitcase and always reminds me of the brand, plus I find myself purchasing their products much more. I have also been given branded screen cloths to use with my laptop, tablet and smartphone – these screens are constantly getting dirty and the need to use the cloth and keep it, has been very beneficial.

Being different can have a wider impact too, not too long ago, I was talking to one of my Clients in the travel industry. Following on from recent safety incidents, they wanted to put emphasis on the fact that traveling with them is still safe and started giving out… condoms! This was a very unique take on travelling safely, not only were people queuing to get free condoms, but they were sharing it all over Social Media, which generated a far wider reach.

Follow Up…

Any kind of merchandise will remind the customer about you and your brand, but it is also down to you to arrange follow-ups. IMG_0909

Whether it’s via an email, phone call or face-to-face meeting, the Marketing & Sales Team should reach out to each and every individual, thanking them for their interest in the company, highlighting key information and facts about your brand and inviting them to contact you should they have any questions. You should also encourage them to engage with you via social media platforms.

I personally like emails with some pictures from the event – their stand, team picture and etc.

Also, if you were running a competition, the follow up “Thank You email” could also come in handy, to announce the winner and to prove to participants that the prize has been handed out.

Pre, During and Post Event

Finally, when planning any marketing around events – remember the golden rule of 3:

  1. Pre-event marketing
  2. During the event marketing
  3. Post event marketing.

Before the event, as soon as you book a stand, you want to be promoting the fact that you’re there, informing your current Clients and suppliers, plus letting prospective customers and contractors on the event books know that you will be there – tell them your stand number, share pictures of the stands, etc.

Ways to do this? Add a small note to your email signature, make it visible on your website, tweet about it, share it on social media to name a few.

During the event, provide updates from your stand by telling people what you’re offering, why they should come and visit you, where you are located and any funny stories or interactions you have already had. The power of social media is great for these kinds of promotion – remember to use the official hashtag of the event (#).

After the event, share some photos, your key highlights and information from the event. Maybe share a link to the brochure that you were handing out, this is a very good way to engage with those who didn’t visit your stand.

Lastly, whatever the event is – remember to have fun!

P.s For those of you who are attending an event, GottaBe! has prepared a small checklist – feel free to download it and tick the boxes as you go along. If you happen to miss a box – don’t worry, we’re here to help.

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