Ultimate Exhibition Guide 3 – Your Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan is a vital part of your overall plan for having a highly successful exhibition.
Obviously, you can’t just show up at your exhibition without having done any pre-publicity to promote your appearance – marketing activities before any exhibition are key.
Your marketing plan is a vital part of your overall plan for having a highly successful exhibition, and while it’s tempting to just shout about what you are doing and make lots of noise about how impressive your stand is going to be, as with any other marketing activity, you’ve got to keep in mind that it’s not just about you. Your potential customers don’t care that you spent X amount on branded mini cupcakes and a coffee machine that looks like it could run the International Space Station. They want to know what you can do for them, why you’re the company they need, rather than your competition, and why they should spend their precious time visiting your stand.
Keep that in mind all the way through your marketing and you’ll have a far stronger message.
Your marketing strategy
Plan your message
Create an elevator pitch that draws in your audience like a cat to catnip, then use it everywhere – on your website, on your exhibitor web page, send it to your email list your social media, your printed materials, in show advertising, your email signature… Anywhere that your target audience is likely to see it.
And on social media, use the exhibition’s hashtag if they have one – you could get some retweets from them, from current customers, and from businesses that are interested in meeting you.
Consistency is key
All of your marketing, whether it’s printed, emailed, posted on your site, printed on your stand, or spoken to journalists and stand visitors must be on message, consistent and on brand.
Be clear, be punchy, and be eye-catching. You’ve got literally seconds to get people’s attention.
It sounds obvious, but so many companies don’t do it. Make a list of the people you really want to meet and send them an invite. If you don’t have a lot of time, you could simply do a general email or mailshot, but if you can, take the time to make your invite personal.
However you decide to hand out information on the day, whether you use our going green ideas or stick to traditional paper leaflets and business cards, again it’s about consistency.
Everything should be perfectly branded and put your exhibition message across, from your leaflets to your exhibition stand itself. Stick to your brand guidelines on everything and ensure you use the exact shade of your brand colours, the correct fonts and your logo in its correct proportions. People might not know exactly what’s wrong if you make a mistake with any of that, but the inconsistencies will make them uncomfortable.
Press and PR
Create a press pack with everything journalists will need to know, including your contact details, company information, why you’re exhibiting and why it matters to the press, excellent images of your staff, your products, etc, and any news you want to share.
Contact journalists well in advance and invite them to your stand. If they can’t do that, do an interview in advance, whether it’s in person, by phone, email or Skype.
Send out press releases and copy announcing that you’re exhibiting to relevant trade magazines and the event media partners.
Advertise that your press pack is available on your event publicity page.
We know, you’ve not even got to the event yet, but put in place how you’re going to collect visitor information and contact details now and think about how you can market to them afterwards.
Order any printing and giveaway items, such as pens and USB sticks well in advance, plan out plenty of time to approach the media and your intended audience, and you should have a successful and busy exhibition.
Never underestimate the importance of planning your marketing for every exhibition.