13 November 2010

In today’s digital world, it is sometimes easy to overlook the value of exhibitions for SMEs to build their business. Once all the elements of your digital strategy are in place, exhibitions can prove to be an efficient way of generating new business.

For the busy executive, spending two or three days at an exhibition can seem like a long time out of the office. However, a well targeted show could result in more leads in a weekend than could normally be achieved in months. Exhibitions also provide a great way of networking within the industry and keeping abreast of the latest hot topics.

The key is choosing the most appropriate show for your target audience. Where will you find your best prospects and at the right volume? Some exhibitions, such as “The London Book Fair” and “Technology for Marketing and Advertising”, will have upwards of 10,000 visitors over a two or three day period. Other exhibitions might be smaller but better at delivering you high quality leads that convert.

Define your objectives and then research the exhibitions that are relevant to your target audience. Preparation for the show will start several months in advance ‚Äì there are numerous logistical and administrative details to be taken care of – and don’t forget about your pre-show marketing campaign.

Things to think about:-
Can you make appointments in advance to make the most of your time at the event?
Will your stand be effective at attracting prospective customers?
Can you demonstrate your product or service?
What marketing collateral you will have on the stand?

Building your prospect database is an important element of attending exhibitions. I find it worthwhile to rent a bar code scanner to capture all the details of visitors to your stand – this will help ensure that you have accurate information. And after the exhibition, don’t forget to follow up relentlessly your valuable new business leads.

With a carefully selected exhibition and a well executed marketing strategy, you could be delighted with your results and ROI.

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