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How to make a success of being a show off

Lauren Murphy gives flooring companies hints on how to make the most of their exhibition appearance.

INVESTING in exhibiting at a show is an excellent way to talk to existing customers while gaining more. With The Flooring Show only four months away, I wanted to share some tips on how to make your company stand out before, during and after the event.

You’ve made the decision, reserved your spot on the floorplan, the date is in the diary, now it’s time to start preparing and letting people know you will be there.

  1. Stand design – decide on what you want included on your stand and if you’re going to have any activation or demonstration areas. A professional stand designer will be able to advise and guide you along the way.
  2. Email sign-offs – get your design team to create a banner for all your employees to add to their sign-offs. This should include the exhibition details and your stand number. By doing this, everyone you email on a daily basis will see you will be attending. If you don’t have an internal design team, Canva is a simple and easy website to use.
  3. Newsletter – if you have an existing database of customers that have opted to receive promotional material, you may want to create and issue an email campaign to let them know you’ll be there and what they should expect.
  4. Content plan – start developing content that you can use for your website and across social media. You can give sneak peeks into what will be on show, or you may want to keep it a secret and build suspense.
  5. Social media – put a social plan in place by creating a schedule of posts for the weeks/months leading up to the show – it’s good to build anticipation so people want to visit your stand. You will need to decide who will be posting during the show. Which channels are you going to be posting on and how often? Are you going to use a certain hashtag? Are any employees willing to talk on camera? Speak to your team; they might have clever ideas for ways to promote the product(s)/company. Make sure the person in charge of social media takes lots of photographs of your stand and the products on it – these can be used again later for further promotion.
  6. Advertising – consider allocating a budget for a small advertising campaign to further promote your attendance. These advertisements can include the exhibition details and your stand number.
    As well as everything here, you should liaise with the exhibition’s marketing team and submit a press pack to ensure you gain as much exposure as possible. You can also have the press pack accessible on your stand but remember, it doesn’t have to be printed – it can be loaded onto a USB or easily downloaded using a QR code. If you employ a PR agency, they will do this for you and would also issue any material to the media. An agency would also invite key journalists to visit your stand and secure interviews with you or one of your team.

    During the show
    Make sure everyone knows their role. Speaking to existing and prospective customers is going to be your priority but make sure people know where important items are, such as brochures and other supporting materials. If you have a large stand, you may need to assign someone as ‘front of house’ where they can manage any appointments.

    Choose a sales manager who knows the product inside and out and can portray the company message very well – ask him or her if they would be willing to be the voice for the show. They can then look after any tours or interviews.
    During the set-up stage, try and walk around to see other stands and to get an idea of what your competitors are doing.

    When the show is over and everyone is back in the office/on the road, it’s time to review how it all went. Whoever is looking after your social media should have been monitoring any tagged posts and will be able to provide feedback on what people thought. Why not produce a blog for your website giving the reader a synopsis of your time at the exhibition and any key highlights? Don’t forget to include lots of photographs.

    I could go into a lot more detail of how Taylor Alden would liaise with the journalists after the event to ensure your company was featured in all of the preview and round-up articles…but that would just be giving away our secrets!
    Lauren Murphy Butterfield is from Taylor Alden PR
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