As an event planner, you want your exhibitors to come away from each event with a great list of quality leads, a measurable return on investment and a plan to pitch at your next event. Below we take you through the steps an exhibitor should be going through in order to make the most out of an event, and how you can be supporting them.

Before the event

1. Exhibitors need to plan their objectives and goals

Whether it’s meeting new prospects, shaking hands with current customers or raising their brand’s profile, make sure exhibitors have identified goals before the show. Having their objectives agreed upfront makes it much easier to plan exhibition stand messaging and layout to support their goals, as well as supporting the event with effective marketing in advance. This will help exhibitors get the most from their event experience, see the best return on investment, and be encouraged to return for the next event.

2. Be exclusive

To make an exhibitors event attendance unique, and ensure they get the right visitors to your stand, think about what event exclusives they can offer. Are they having an expert attend the event who can give face-to-fact consultancy and advice at the event? Are they launching a new product for the first time? Is there a specific offer they can give to event attendees? The more exclusives, the more event attendees, and the more there is for the press to cover. From an exhibitor’s perspective, this also helps them get the best return on investment from their stand.

3. Get social

Anyone with a stand should be connecting with prospects before the show. Following them on LinkedIn and Twitter. Make their presence at the show known through these channels so they remember you and their new leads, should they attend. Make sure exhibitors are having the right type of conversions on social media in the build-up, are they engaging with content from the event organisers? Are they interacting with speakers or other exhibitors? Are they using event hashtags?

4. Personalisation

exhibitors need to identify who’s in their database and tailor their marketing communications. It’s unlikely they will want to send the same message to prospects that you do customers. You’ll be surprised at the impact a more customised message makes.

5. Preparation is key

Ever had exhibitors drop out of an event due to being let down by suppliers? Or just had a stressful experience because of preparation? Making sure that exhibitors have stands designed and produced on time, have the correct technical requirements planned in advance, and that the setup is planned and rehearsed can be the difference between a happy returning customer and a no-show on the day.

During the exhibition

6. Staff are key

Whether exhibitors are sending internal staff down to the show or using a team of promotional staff, it’s important that everyone is prepped for questions they’re likely to be asked on the day. Stand staff are the face of their brand but think beyond stand staff – events are a great way to show off a brands experts.

7. Engage with the senses

Did you know that we recall what we smell for much longer than any of the other senses? Get those creative juices flowing and make people aware of your presence with more than just graphics. What can the exhibition venue provide to enhance exhibitors and attendees experience? Do you need a more informal networking area away from the main exhibition room?

8. Don’t miss opportunities

Visitors need to be convinced by exhibitors that they can be trusted and are the best at what they know, so how else can the event support this goal? Speaker sessions are a great way to demonstrate what makes a product/service special, allowing brands their time to shine. Can exhibitors be given the option to sponsor speed networking or smaller break out conference tracks? The more options an exhibitor gets, the more benefit they will see from the event.

9. Keep it simple

Humans have specially-wired brains which allow them to have ‘selective attention’ when they are overloaded. Keep stands focused and simple to avoid being lost in the information overload.

10. Make it digital

If an exhibitors stand is small or your product or services tricky to exhibit, what suppliers can you suggest to help make them stand out from the crowd? From wearable technology to interactive screens – get creative with what could work for your event brand as well as exhibitors and attendees.

The follow-up

11. Leads

How are exhibitors thanking attendees and those they talked to at the event? As an exhibition venue or organiser, the more you can help a brand convert potential leads, the more value they will have received from the event, the more likely you are to retain clients. 80% of sales leads are converted after the fifth point of contact, so supporting exhibitors during this key stage of the process is really valuable.

12. Review

It’s really important than the success of an event is reviewed with exhibitors. This can help ease the sale of the stand at the next event and builds stronger relationships with clients. Do they need more support marketing their stand in advance? Do they support converting leads? Do they understand their ROI for the event? The more value an exhibitor gets from the event, the venue and the organisers, the more likely they are to come back.

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