Your event is done but your work has just begun. Before you start the next stage of your business development take time to reflect on what went well and what you could improve on if you were to deliver another exhibition.
At the event conduct an exhibition de-brief, although you are all exhausted, a short de-briefing session will help to capture the most significant learning while it is still fresh.
Your exhibition stand is your corporate brochure and the most important representation of your brand. I know we were disappointed by a supplier who insisted that the exhibition display would arrive 12 noon the day before the show, meanwhile it sat in France not moving at all. Consequently, our exhibition display did not arrive until 2 pm on the day of the show which caused a great deal of stress. When it did arrive, it looked wonderful. seminar position was excellent, the lighting was good and Olympia is a beautiful domed venue that had good sound acoustics.
The seminar we delivered was standing room only, people were sitting on the floor and I was besieged with questions. Meanwhile my target audience of established businesses rushed to our stand and a queue formed for our gift bags in exchange for business cards. The marketing worked beautifully.
Post event follow-up is critical to ensure you get the results you want and deserve. Do not wait for the dust to settle and the conversations to be a distant memory before you following up.
If you have qualified your leads at the event most will be hot and need to be followed up within a few days of the event. Better still, sent out an acknowledgement at the end of each day of the event. If details conversation were conducted on the stand follow-up with an agreed commitment to the next step.
Whether you used a data scanner or collected business cards you cannot wait for your contacts to connect with you, you are not their priority. Industry stats suggest that an incredible 75% of leads are not followed up after an event. Partly because of exhaustion and partly because of no pre-planned follow-up strategy is conceived. This is like buying book and leaving it in the shop. You cannot expect immediate results, research suggests that we should expect to follow up six times before a lead converts so get started with prep event targeted marketing and follow-up immediately after the event. It is best to prepare your post show follow-up strategy in advance and invest in building the relationship post event that will secure your event goals.
Our Business Show Goals have the following Actions and Measures of Success:
- Generate Contact Database of Qualified Leads – Collect 150 New Contacts – Use a Quality Rating.
- Develop Quality Sales Leads Contact – Engage & Segment Leads – Use Conversion Rate to measure Value of Leads.
- Create & Build Market Awareness – Branding Exhibition Stand & Social Marketing – No & Quality Attendees, Gross Impressions During & Post Show, Calculate Equivalent Advertising Value.
- Develop Partnership Connections – Brand Proposition Attracts Quality Prospects – No & Quality of Prospective Partners Consider Lifetime Value.
- Build Media Relations – Distribute Press Kit Secure & Interview at Stand – Quality of Interactions Calculate Equivalent Value of Impressions as Advertising.
What is your measure of success? Consider the long-term value of new business. What do you need to break even? One new customer or a media mention could be a significant success. At each event capture your learnings so that you can improve your exhibition marketing and maximise the results over time. The planning, execution, measuring and reporting should become an integral part of your exhibition activities. To succeed at exhibition business development put as much effort into post event activities and pre event planning and execution.
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