Are you exhibiting at the right events?

Attending industry events is a time-tested way to grow your business and access new clients. With the number of events on the rise, how do you make the most of your attendance and maximise your time and results? Here are five steps to choosing the right event and securing ROI for your business.

Step 1: Set some goals

Write down what you want to get out of the event — use the SMART goal framework

  • Main reason for attending – generate brand awareness, access new clients, break into a new market or make people aware of a new product or service
  • Defining success – you may want 50 new leads, to increase web traffic by 30%, to make 4000 attendees aware of your new product or to attract 10 potentials with budgets over x amount.
  • Time and budget: make sure your goal is achievable and timely. Do you have the resources to commit to achieving these goals? Including stand cost, furniture, signage, brochures, prize giveaways etc
woman writing on paper
Write down what you want to get out of the event — use the SMART goal framework

Step 2: Choose your event

Evaluate an event’s alignment with your brand goals. Check out their prospectus for sponsors and exhibitors to make key decisions.

  • History of the event – how long has it been running? Does it have a strong record of speakers, program, attendance
  • Who are the attendees/delegates – are they your target audience? Will you have access to them?
attendees listening to presentation
Evaluate the event’s alignment with your brand and ability to facilitate your goals

Step 3: Your investment

From booth location to sponsorship opportunities, find out what options are available and outline the plan to get the most out of your investment. 

  • Many events will have a large range of exhibitor booth options and sponsorship items available. If this is the first time you are attending the event it might be best to do a trial and pick some a la carte sponsorship items and choose a small/medium booth. Going all out could be a risk for an event which you have no record of ROI. If the event is a success you can upgrade and build upon your success the next time around.
  • What kind of collateral do you need available to prospective clients? eg business cards, brochures, a promo item or merchandise. Make sure everything is up to date with your logo and contact details.
  • Advertise your attendance to your networks in advance – social media, edms, industry contacts. If possible set up meetings in advance.
  • Press coverage – are you launching a new product or service, have something exciting to share? Make the most of the events media and press contacts by organising a news item to go in the event newsletter or press conference.
Considerations, booth location to sponsorship opportunities. Image Credit, Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference and Exhibition 2017

Step 4: The game plan

Make sure you know what your strategy is for you and your team at the event.

  • What’s your elevator pitch, what makes your business unique, what are your key selling points, how can you specifically help buyers from this event audience? Make sure you have this written down and your team is across it.
  • Qualify your leads, be an active listener. If the event has provided an exhibition lead capture/generation app, utilise it to add personalised qualifying questions and add notes to your leads. Have they heard of your business before? Do they have a budget? Do they want a follow-up demo/brochure? Are they looking to buy/engage a service within the next 6 months?
attendees smiling at camera in exhibition
Create a ‘game plan’ for the day so you can focus on making connections and getting leads. Image Credit – Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference and Exhibition 2017

Step 5: Follow-up Leads

Make sure you stay front of mind and get in touch while your conversation is fresh in your lead’s mind.

  • Pre-prepare a follow-up email to go out the day after the event. Thank leads for visiting your booth, send extra info or invite them for a coffee.
  • Write up a debrief document of what you got out of the event, how did the stand work, the collateral, what percentage of leads did you get, are they quality leads? This will be invaluable information to review next time you are considering involvement in a event.