Exhibiting your brand, services or products at an expo is a great way to build your customer base and meet with potential business partners and vendors. If you have a space booked for an upcoming expo, great! That’s the first step done. But there are some things you should consider before the big day comes, so you can be sure to get as much as you can out of the experience. Here are the top tips:
Before the Expo: Preparation
1: Set objectives and goals
In the lead up to the expo, write out clear goals and objectives you want to achieve on the day. Perhaps you want to meet a few particular vendors and discuss your products with them. Perhaps you want to get a feel for where the market trends are. Perhaps you want to attract a new customer base by offering discounts and specials. Whatever your goals are, make sure you and your team are clear on them, so you can make them happen!
2: Get your stall ready
An eye-catching, inviting stall is key. When designing and printing materials, make sure the colors reflect your brand’s image and will stand out against the other stalls. A well-designed booth is an indicator of a quality, hard-working company. Keep your stall simple and open, so there’s enough room for people to come in and comfortably stay and talk. If you have a big table along the front, it gives the impression that you’re more of a “panel” rather than a friendly group of professionals.
3: Select good staff to help
Bring helpers with you who are bright, confident, friendly and well-informed about your company and/or products. Interpersonal skills are crucial for making a lasting impression on potential customers and business partners. Choose people you feel comfortable leaving in charge of the stall as you go and browse the expo.
4: Get to know the expo stall map and set-out your schedule to visit key booths
Sort out a rough schedule with your team so you have ample time to meet, greet, and learn from other stalls. Keep the expo program close and circle the vendors and stalls you want to visit so you can head straight for them on your break from your booth. Look out for people you want to meet as potential vendors, customers, or simply to get some advice and have an industry chat!
5: Have an idea of your “pitch”
You don’t have to memorize an entire sales pitch or speech, just have a few pointers ready in your head to pull out when meeting prospective customers or partners. Giving them a clear, confident and inviting impression of you and your company will set you off to a great start when having those important networking chats.
During the Expo: Working it!
1: Make your text clear and informative
Your booth might be bright and enticing, but if no one can tell what you are offering or selling, they will walk right by! State your products and services clearly, so people who are on the lookout for your type of business can identify you instantly. If they can put a name to the face, then they are much more likely to recall your business once the expo is over, and investigate further if they liked what they saw.
2: Send out friendly vibes
Sitting behind a booth, looking bored, texting, typing, reading…none of these shout “hey, come have a chat!”. Stand outside your booth, so your body language is open and inviting. Smile and have fun with your colleagues to show you are a positive and confident company. Be available as soon as someone approaches your stall, just so you can give them a friendly greeting. If they know you are there, they will be likely to ask any questions they have.
3: Provide an offer for customers
A good old-fashioned deal is a good way of getting customers to give your company a go. If you are selling there and then, then a deal is the best way to get instant sales and potential return customers. If you aren’t selling, then state clearly on your signage that you have a deal for expo-attendees on your website. You could state “see us for the discount code” on the signage so people can come and chat to you for more details. Once you have them there, you can ask if they’d like to fill out a contact form so they can receive information about upcoming product releases and more. Remember, don’t be pushy or forceful! Just present the information clearly, so they can take the offer if they wish.
4: Have fill-out forms to ensure all contact information is collected
You want to make sure you are making the most out of your exposure at the expo, and that means gathering as much information you can about interested visitors to your stall. Have a fill-out form and a pen ready for people to fill out so they can receive information from you after the expo. If they are truly interested, then they will take the time to fill out the form, if they’re not…then they won’t. This is a great way to filter the good leads from the bad. After having a chat to each visitor, suggest they jot down their details so you can send them some further information about their particular query. Make the form short enough so it’s not a drag to complete, but comprehensive enough so you know: their name, email address, and what they’d like to know in the future.
After the Expo: The Follow Up
1: Reach out to your new connections
There is absolutely no point in making all the effort to capture the eye of potential customers, only to forget all about them after the expo! If you spoke to vendors and potential business partners, then email them within a few days of the expo and set up another meeting or chat. Let them know you enjoyed talking to them, make a few specific mentions of what you spoke about, then open the offer to catch up soon.
Use the completed fill-out forms to compile the information you gathered about potential customers and send them a follow-up email to thank them for their time. Include a link to your site, an offer or deal if it’s relevant, and a call-to-action for them to browse your services and products.
2: Monitor website and social media traffic and note any changes
This simple tip is a great way of seeing whether or not the expo has engaged people enough for them to look at your website when they get home.
3: Summarize the experience and make notes for next time
After the expo is over, you have followed-up on leads and contacts, and you have monitored any changes to site traffic and sales, summarize the experience. Write down what went well, what could have been done better, what you learnt from other stalls, and what you would change next time. This will be really helpful for your next expo, as you can go from strength to strength by learning and adapting.
Making regular appearances at expos will help to boost recognition of your company. It will cement your brand in the minds of customers and other industry professionals. Set some time aside to plan your stall, your schedule, your approach and your post-expo checklist. Remember that friendly staff, an inviting booth, and the willingness to meet others and make the most of the day will make for a successful and enjoyable expo experience.
Here are a few of the key Pet Expo’s coming up in the next 12 months. If you’re in the pet business you need to attend at least one of these.
Global Pet Expo