Small Business Saturday Blog

Exhibition Marketing ideas for Beginners

Wednesday, November 25 at 13:25Branding | Events | Top Tips

Trade shows and exhibitions are the perfect vehicle in so many ways when it comes to promoting your company and snagging more customers. 



With your exhibition materials created by Colour Graphics, you will feel poised, ready for the action and the floods of delegates that will stampede their way toward your booth.

Except they won’t.

There is no tougher an audience than the hordes of delegates, veterans of exhibitions from years gone by. The hardened delegate is constantly looking for something new, something big and YOU need to be the next big thing.

Into the lion’s den with a roar
This is perhaps unfair for newbies to the exhibition circuit but, you do need to be aware that some of those delegates passing you buy will need persuading/cajoling over to your booth. And the HR manager dressed as a fluffy duck is not going to cut it.

Try these ideas for starters:

Tip 1 – Think ‘inbound’
You have footfall walking past your booth every day you are at the exhibition. You need to capture attention and lure them on over. There are all kinds of way of doing this:

Create unique signage that gives a snippet of what you do
Invite them over for coffee and the use of your iPads
Be ultra-modern and cutting edge with your own app for the conference that does something amazing!

Tip 2 – Social media
There are all kinds of reports and articles that inform us we are all connected to our smart phones and tablets virtually every hour of the day. And people rarely log off when they are at a conference too.

So, harness this. The conference or exhibition may have their own hashtag campaign running on social media thus make sure that you piggy back on to this. You can also create your own and work the boards to get people to talk about you on social media (link it to your competition too!)

Tip 3 – Get people to share their location and who they are with
There are all kinds of apps that allow people to log on and show their location via GPS. Facebook do it – you’ve seen the statuses, “I am at the Coffee Shop, in East London with Bruce Willis”.

You could also encourage people to be part of a Periscope session, where live sessions are broadcast to your Twitter followers about where they are, what they are doing etc.

Tip 4 – Prepare beforehand
People tend to see their exhibition presence as a standalone activity but, you can leverage far more from it than what you thought. Start creating a buzz about you being them a few weeks before hand, and use it as much as possible afterwards too.

Tip 5 – Target offers
This is about offering the delegates at the conference an offer that is only available to them and at that particular point. You know your own margins and, what you can and cannot offer.
It needs to be more than free postage and packing…

Tip 6 – Chairs
As high tech as some of these ideas are, you can also play to the weakness of every delegate – tiredness, sore feet and just somewhere to sit down.

Many booths will have all kinds of things to entice people over but, inviting people in to take the weight off their feet and check their emails whilst sitting down is a great way of connecting and engaging people.

Which of these tips will you try?

Exhibitions and trade shows are busy places but there is room for every business to really create a buzz about themselves. Colour Graphics have been supplying printed materials for all kinds of businesses to cement their place in the busy exhibition hall, from roller banners to flyers. 

Five ways to better know your customers

Thursday, October 15 at 12:33Events | Research | Small Business Saturday

Using Research Methods for a Better Understanding of Your Customers 

At Who London we constantly research to make sure our events are fun and diverse for our customers. In today’s world where there are so many options for consumers, we have to listen to what our clients are telling us. We shouldn’t forget to really research our audience and not just our market space; take the time to ask potential customers how your product or service could suit them.

Here is an outline of ways to use research methods to better understand your customers. With all research methods do remember to decide if your findings will be confidential and let potential respondents know if they are or not.

Primary and Secondary Analysis
The first step and continued approach for best business practice would be to find data and documents both online and offline and analyse them to see how you could develop or change what you offer. You could use statistics, newspapers, forums and social media to shed new light on topics. It’s vital that we keep abreast of improving our services for our customers.

London changes all the time with new restaurants and courses on offer, so this is something we at Who London research continuously.

Interviews/1-2-1s
These can be useful on an ongoing basis and can be casual as well. For a more formal approach you can set up interviews with an individual and make them as structured or unstructured as you like, i.e. think about if it’s most appropriate to have closed questions such as “Do you like eating out?” Or for more open-ended questions you could ask “What type of restaurants do you like?”

If set interviews are not something that is appropriate for your business, why not ask people you meet for their thoughts and ideas, or simply discuss your venture with them and see what they reply? We’re always talking to new people and this can provide so much interesting and valuable information.

Focus Groups
These groups usually range from 4-12 people and they work as discussion groups because they’re used for understanding group dynamics for a particular topic. Focus groups are perfect for Who London as we are about people interacting in social groups at our events. Focus groups can have some structure but this research method’s strength is that with them you can see where points deviate to without leading respondents into areas that you believe are most important. Some participants will be more vocal than others, so try and make everybody feel naturally comfortable, whether it’s by introductions or even offering drinks and nibbles.

Observation
You might be able to study individuals or groups and learn this way. You could also think about participant observation where you would become part of e.g. joining a dining club to understand how they’re formed, what they’re like first hand and how, looking outwards, you personally feel part of the group. If you do this, think particularly about ethics during your planning stage.

Surveys
These are great for giving anonymity to respondents if needed. For instance, you might feel you’ll gain honest in-depth answers if the respondent knows that you’re not able to assign answers to respondents. They’re also time-efficient in collecting responses.  However, like with all other research methods, they require more planning than usually initially thought.  For instance when you’re devising your questions, be careful not to ask two questions at the same time, e.g. “Have you gone to a restaurant in the last week and do you have any favourite restaurants?”

Try not to be ambiguous with wording or phrases because we all have a different comprehension of the English language after all – simple is the key! Surveys are great for feedback too. You can even ask if you could use comments given here as testimonials on your website (just get permission to use their name/s and location). At Who London we like to keep our after events feedback questions quite open-ended so that the attendee can really say what’s on their mind and we don’t assume anything.

Good thorough research should be done at least yearly, but that doesn’t mean you should entirely refrain from it at all other times. Research can be done in bite-sized chunks within this timeframe too – for example you might like to solely research which special offers appeal to your customers during the Christmas period. Whatever stage your business is at, don’t be afraid to change and add things in response to what your ongoing research tells you.

The good news is research is an enjoyable way to uncover new insights and results to ensure you’re fulfilling customer needs, the lifeline of your business. Make sure you show your customers they’re your priority.


In 2014 Alexandra Felce launched Who London, the London social events organisation for anyone 50+. To find out more visit www.wholondon.co.uk
























Categories:

Latest Posts: