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?
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.
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.