One of the sectors to have suffered the most over the last 12 months is the event sector. Vital for so many businesses, the lack of face-to-face meetings at conferences, trade shows and exhibitions has impacted the hosts and the support industry, as well as the thousands of exhibitors.
However, there is positive news on the horizon as events begin to be confirmed later in the year. From our perspective here at EBY, exhibitions such as The Emergency Services Show, UK Construction Week and Advanced Engineering will see some of our partners return to live events for the first time in over 12 months, but what can you do now to be event-ready?
Many exhibitions are now confirming dates for later in the year. Show floor-plans may be slightly different to adhere to safe social distancing, which may affect availability, so the earlier you book, the better location you can secure. Questions to ask include, where are your partners’ stands, where are your competition, where are the entrances and where is the food! There is nothing worse than being at the quiet end of the show, so book as early as possible and ensure the best location for your stand.
You’ve got your stand sorted; the next thing to do is to start making the event work even harder for you. Many events have a guest speaker programme and this is an excellent way of raising your profile and getting your message out to the attendees. Sometimes, all it needs is just a call to the show organisers to put yourself forward to speak on a particular topic. We’ve created plenty of engaging presentations for clients to use at events that allow you to communicate your key messages to a captive audience. So make sure you don’t miss this simple add-on.
Engaging content has never been more important – it’s why we create guides like this – but with shows taking on hybrid physical/virtual formats and overseas visitor numbers reduced, more thought has to go into the type of content you need to support your event. Gone are the days when a simple brochure would do. Today, you need a range of communication collateral to cater for the different ways attendees consume information. From videos to podcasts, vlogs, to augmented reality demonstrations, the choices are almost endless. Here at EBY, we’ve created all of these for clients and with careful planning and forethought, it doesn’t have to cost the earth and give you a valuable bank of content.
This is the time where the early hard work begins to pay off. At many events, you are competing against tens or hundreds of fellow exhibitors for attendees’ attention. The earlier you start the conversation with attendees, the easier it will be to get them onto your stand for those crucial meetings. If you’ve followed the earlier steps, then you’ll be on the right track already. You’ll have an easy-to-find stand, a keynote speaking event to invite prospects to and a range of content that you can use in your pre-event promotional campaigns. By targeting pre-built lists of prospects, you can also tailor the messaging to different groups such as customers, warms leads, or cold prospects. All this is activity has the primary objective of driving footfall to your stand. This can be a lot to manage effectively, but pre-promotion campaigns including email sequences, direct mail campaigns and co-ordinated sales outreach will all pay off with better results at the event.
Often overlooked during events, trade shows offer the whole industry the chance to meet, including journalists from trade publications. This gives you the opportunity to host them on your stand and have one-to-one sessions where you’ll be able to provide them with updates on your business. It could be a product launch, or an announcement of new investment, or just the chance to build a relationship with a key contact in your industry. Trade publications and websites have plenty of opportunities for content submissions and there is likely to be a chance to re-purpose some of your existing content. Invite journalists onto the stand, buy them a coffee – it will be well worth the time.
Like the whole of the event sector, we can’t wait to be working with our clients to make the most out of their events, and while anyone can follow these five simple steps, there is plenty more you can do to make sure your event is a massive success. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you make the most of your next exhibition and become event-ready today.