What you need to know if you’re attending an overseas exhibition

What you need to know if you’re attending an overseas exhibition

Exhibiting at overseas events can be a great way to promote your products and generate international awareness about what you do. The exposure to the broader audience overseas exhibitions give can be essential in breaking into foreign markets and securing export business.

As with any trade show, there are opportunities for issues to arise, but more so with exhibiting abroad due to quite often heavy expense and long distances they involve.

For some though, this slight risk is worth the huge potential reward. So, what do you need to know about attending an overseas exhibition to produce great results?

Proper Planning

Before you begin to plan your stand or journey, you must assess whether the venture and cost of your trip will mean success for your business.

There is no point in spending thousands of pounds to attend an exhibition to only find out it was unsuitable for your business and gain a few hundred pounds in revenue from unqualified leads.

Do your research and ensure that the event not only looks ideal for your business, but really is. Contact the organisers and request floor plans, visitor demographics, and exhibitor and speaker details to really assess whether the clientele could become assets to your business and will become invaluable contacts to you later on.

It may even be a wise decision, if circumstances allow, to register and attend other exhibitions abroad to simply assess the conditions – make connections to help you when you exhibit, see how the competitors measure up, and discover innovative ways to make your marketing stand out.

Preparation checklist

The preparation for an exhibition is not done overnight. You’ll want to be planning almost a year in advance in order to stand the best chance at having your exhibit run smoothly.

  • 6-12 months before – do your research and look at funding options.
  • 5-6 months before – book your space (try and get the best space you can!) and begin promoting your appearance at the event.
  • 4-5 months before – book your transport and hotels, and make sure your marketing materials are ready (print, freebies etc).
  • 3 months before – have your vaccinations and check travels documents (passports etc). Read the exhibitors manual and familiarise yourself with any pending deadlines.
  • 2 months before – plan the layout of your stand and ensure you have all the necessary equipment like lighting. Consider and finalise your equipment transportation options (freight, shipping options and delivery etc).
  • 1 month before – ensure you have a list of price conversions for your services as you’re selling in a country with potentially a different currency. Organise your finance for your trip and ensure you have changed currency. Create a packing list and gather equipment.
  • 2 weeks before – Ensure you have all necessary documentation like travel documents and exhibitor passes.
  • 1 week before – double check arrangements and pack your suitcase. Research any cultural considerations and implications and make sure you know this in order to make a good and respectful first impression.

Access and support

If you know a particular show would do wonders for your business but you simply can’t afford it, there are services available to help make this opportunity accessible for you.

The UK government’s Trade Access Programme (TAP) provides funding for those businesses, covering some of the costs of exhibiting at overseas trade shows.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) partners with TAP to confirm a number of shows annually that would provide good business for UK companies and the support from these two organisations allows the grants to be put in place.

The grants available can be anywhere between £500-£2500 provided they do not exceed the business’s own expenditure on things like exhibition space costs and stand costs.

If cost is an issue and this money needs to be allocated to other resources, remember there are always alternatives to the recommended guidelines that could save you money elsewhere.

Consider hiring someone to ship stands to your exhibition rather than renting one there – this can work out a lot cheaper than most people expect.

It is crucial to plan changes like this in advance to help your overseas exhibiting make an impact and stand the best chance of gaining a positive response. Choosing the right exhibition methods for each show will help attract people to your stand and make overseas exhibiting worth it for you.

To browse our range of stands, sort your printing or outsource your exhibition management, visit our website and get in touch today.

Top Tips for Exhibition Networking

Top Tips for Exhibition Networking

Exhibitions are a great place to start networking with likeminded individuals and with people who are looking for your services. But, even the best of us can get a few networking nerves, especially when you’re in a hall full of people.

So, here are a few top tips to make you a networking pro at your next exhibition.

Business Cards

They have been around for hundreds of years, and they aren’t going anywhere, these little cards are the backbone to networking, they make the whole process worthwhile.

Make an impact with an amazing design but remember to try and tell your company’s story through this card. This card will be the face for your business when everyone goes back to their offices; you want to make them want to get in touch with you.

If you want to make the process of someone getting hold of you easier, you could use a barcode which when scanned will input your contact details.

However, if you do decide to take this approach, include a written version of contact details as well.

Possibly the most important thing to remember with business cards is to have enough of them!

Interesting Questions and Memorable Answers

Don’t get caught in the trap of asking mundane, repetitive questions with boring answers. These are going to make you forgettable.

Researching who will be at the exhibition before the event allows you to find out about what their business is and come up with relevant and interesting questions about their industry or job role.

In return, you do not want to give boring and generic answers – you want to stand out! So, it is always best that you have a few answers stored for the typical questions you receive at a networking event. Think of fun or interesting answers to these.

Body Language

Body language will get you far when it comes to networking, and even if you’re terrified, if you look relaxed everyone will think that you are.

Think confident and relaxed, emitting this kind of body language will, in turn, make your companion relax in your company as well allowing for some great networking to take place!

Remember always to smile and shake everyone’s hand when greeting and saying goodbye; it is also important to keep the appropriate amount of eye contact – think interested, not obsessed.

If you act the part, it will make the whole process easier for everyone involved and you will get into the flow of your conversation much quicker, which means more time for networking properly and building working relationships.

Follow Up!

This could potentially be the most important part of the whole networking process, and it’s the easiest to forget as well.

Developing a relationship takes more than just a 15-minute chat at an exhibition. Connect with your leads via email, social media and you could even give them a call.

Build a working relationship where you could refer clients to each other and in turn convert this individual to use your services.

It’s important to keep this relationship going past leaving the exhibition hall doors!

Ensure that Your Exhibition Results are Measurable

Ensure that Your Exhibition Results are Measurable

It’s important to create measurable actions in order to determine your success and ROI at an exhibition or event.

What you want to achieve from your next exhibition will determine what factor you want to track and how you will ensure this is measurable.

Generating Sales

An exhibition can also be an opportunity to sell to a whole new audience, however, this may only be relevant to a few businesses with physical products to sell or simple services.

But, if you are one of the lucky few businesses to be able to physically sell at an exhibition, it is a great way to track and measure the success of that show.

You can do this by tracking the number of sales you make, the profit made and then ultimately what your return on investment is for the day.

Use a similar, if not the same, system that you use day to day in your office, whether this is your tablet or a written document. Ensure you record all of this data appropriately.

Lead Generation

An exhibition is a perfect opportunity for a spot of lead generation, whether it’s for marketing purposes or even direct sales, it is always useful.

Lead Generation can take many different forms, you could collect business cards, ask visitors to fill out a survey on your tablet, or ask them to enter competitions.

This is a really simple way to measure the success of an event. Every business knows the worth of one of their customers, so you should be able to decide how much you would be willing to pay for one new prospect.

Once you know the cost you’re willing to pay for one prospect, you can then work out how many prospects you want to get from that one event. You’re then able to work out your success and importantly your ROI.

Social Media Activity

Social Media is a great tool to raise brand awareness and build connections at an exhibition, it can also provide you with a means to measure that brand awareness.

This is notably the most difficult factor to track as brand awareness has no generic metrics in order to track. However, you can track social media hashtags, mentions of your business name or any phrase of your choice. This can help determine whether there has been an increase in conjunction with the event.

Tips for Making Your Next Exhibition Stand Sustainable

Tips for Making Your Next Exhibition Stand Sustainable

Sustainability is something that is on a lot of peoples’ minds at the moment and for a good reason. It seems to be the top headline of most news outlets and a real concern to many of us.

We all want to do our bit to help the environment and make everything a little bit more sustainable. So, what can you do at your next exhibition?

Avoid Single Use

We’re used to hearing about single-use plastics, but we’re actually talking about exhibition stands. Single-use stands are not only an expensive way of doing exhibitions, but they’re also not great for the environment.

They may seem useful but investing in a stand which is made to last is a much better investment in the long run. In addition to this, invest in some metal fasteners for your banners to avoid using copious amounts of cable ties at every event.

When designing your stand, think about the information which will be timeless and something modular which can be customised depending on your exhibition space.

Not only will it cut down on your plastic and material waste every show but once you have made the investment, your costs will plummet for every exhibition.

Paperless is Best

Nowadays there are so many great alternatives to using paper for marketing. You no longer need to print hundreds of leaflets and brochures to give out – in fact, most of these get thrown away anyway, so this isn’t a cost-efficient way to market your business.

Stationery is a great alternative to paper leaflets and is far less likely to be thrown away compared to a piece of paper. Print your branding and contact details on pens, pencils or coasters.

Use digital marketing strategies to follow up on any exhibition leads, and you can even use tablets or laptops to collect visitor information. This will make following up on the expo quicker, easier and much more effective.

Cutting out paper from your exhibition day prep will reduce your costs on production, transport and waste as well as the environmental impacts which come alongside this.

Think About Your Gifts

You by no means have to give out gifts or ‘freebies’ when you’re exhibiting at a show, but some stalls do like to give branded gifts to help visitors remember their conversation.

If you do want to give these gifts, avoid plastics and paper gifts and sway more for the bamboo or hemp-based gifts, for example, pencils, rulers or wooden coasters.

Not only will this help them to remember conversations that they have had with your team, but it will also help to reinforce your sustainable values as a business. Sharing the message of sustainability is a selling point for many customers.

Reusable water bottles and coffee cups are extremely popular at the moment, and there has been a huge push to increase the number of people using these reusable products. These are really useful products, and the people will use them every day.

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Exhibition Event Management

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Exhibition Event Management

Running a successful event or exhibition stand can be complex and sometimes stressful, so the option to outsource is taken by many business owners, but what are the benefits of using this service?

Time and Cost Efficient

A big problem for many companies is the amount of time that they have to spend on their exhibition planning as well as the number of team members they can spare on the day.

An outsourced company will help your business before, during and after the exhibition. They will help to plan your stand, put it up, staff the stand as well as disassembling your stand and passing on all the information your team will require to follow up.

An exhibition requires businesses to put in the time in order to have success and get the most results possible. A management company will have the time available to put this work and planning into your stand to get the best results possible.

You and your team can work while the event is happening which means you aren’t losing a day’s work and therefore a day’s worth of payment from customers.

 Increased Focus

Many companies cannot afford to put their entire focus on an exhibition in the lead up to and even on the day of the expo. Work needs to be prioritised, and many businesses will not  have one team member spare to focus solely on the expo.

For an outsourced company, exhibitions are their sole focus, so they have the time to focus completely on your event for the planning stage but they also won’t be distracted by emails or calls on the day of the expo.

It also means you can focus on your work and building your business with the peace of mind that your exhibition stand is being taken care of.

Creativity

Event management teams spend the majority of their time at exhibitions which means they will be up to date with the latest trends and be able to find the next big thing for expo stands.

They will constantly be coming up with new and innovative ways to improve the exhibition experience for visitors at your stand and improve the number of results produced.

An outsourced company are a fresh pair of eyes for your business. They may be able to see an aspect of your business that would really appeal to consumers which may not even cross your mind. They can then capitalise on this for your event.

Results

Professionals are often used to sitting behind their desks and only really talking to customers on the phone, but at an expo they need to be constantly approaching new people and selling your brand to them. This is much easier for an agency to do as they are doing this practice every day and they know what works.

They are used to selling on behalf of other companies and will be aware of the aspects of a business which people will want to know more about or the USP’s to sell to a visitor.

The most important advantage of using an outsourced company is the fact that they will not be afraid to approach visitors in order to get the sales.