Home Articles & Features Are you making the most of business conferences and exhibitions?

Are you making the most of business conferences and exhibitions?

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Getting the most from business exhibitions

Developments in technology mean that the world of business has changed beyond all recognition but despite this customers still prefer to buy from real people.  With this in mind, business conferences and exhibitions offer a valuable opportunity to meet new contacts and customers; so making the most of exhibitions is a great way to establish and develop customer relations.  Yorkshire boasts a wide range of business events, conferences and seminars held throughout the year, so it can be well worth asking yourself if you are making the most of the opportunities which are available.

Making business exhibitions a worthwhile investment

Many small businesses make the mistake of disregarding exhibitions as being too expensive but by making a short term investment in attending an exhibition, you’ll have the opportunity to reap the rewards in the form of new customers and clients.

Maximising your investment in exhibitions can only be achieved by choosing the right events.  Thorough research is crucial if you are to establish which events will suit your marketing strategy and help you to connect with your target customers.  By getting in touch with the event organiser you should be able to find out how the event is marketed and how they intend to maximise visitor numbers: a strong line-up of speakers and seminars combined with an event marketing budget targeted towards maximum visitor numbers are things to look out for.

Meet the movers and shakers of your industry

A wide range of different events – including exhibitions, trade shows and conferences – provide an excellent opportunity for meeting the movers and shakers of your industry.  Meeting key people face to face is an opportunity that doesn’t crop up very often so you should make the most of it by talking to as many people as you can: spend as much time as possible learning about their businesses and don’t forget to ask for their business card!  Face-to-face marketing in this way is also a great way to carry out a little market research so don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your products, brand or marketing material.

Value for money is vital for all small businesses and if you’re going to maximise your investment in attending an exhibition, you need to spend time on planning the time you spend there.  Once you receive your exhibitor manual, read through it thoroughly and make sure you organise everything you’ll need in advance.  Think about your objectives for the event and set realistic deadlines for everything including getting your stand and signage designed through to  any information that you’ll need to submit to the event organisers.

Preparation is key

To maximise your attendance at an event you should make sure that all of the different strands of your marketing strategy are consistent and pre-prepared.  You need to make sure that everything from your exhibition stand to your company literature sends out the same message.  Your marketing groundwork should start well before the actual exhibition and could consist of a range of techniques including direct mailings and e-newsletters, for example.  It’s also important to prepare a pack of information suitable for handing out to journalists: the majority of exhibitions have a press office and by assembling information on the background of your business, case studies and news items is a great way to present your business to the press.

Follow-up those new business leads

Don’t forget that the hard work doesn’t stop once the event is over as you’ll need to ensure that you follow up every lead you make.  To increase your chances of converting leads into sales you need to keep your business at the forefront of potential customers’ minds by keeping in touch as many sales can be completed once the event is over. Contacts made at an exhibition can be very worthwhile but ‘slow-burning’ and it’s not unusual for some to take months or even years to bear fruit.

Provided you spend time on the right preparation, attending one of the many exhibitions which are held around Yorkshire is a great way to build awareness of your brand whilst generating new sales leads.