As the show season ramps up for 2019, we thought it would be a good time to share our top tips for getting you and your brand show ready – the do’s, the don’ts, the good, the bad and the damn right exciting. A serious amount of time, effort and money go into shows and events so it’s vital you get the very most out of them.

Determine Your Strategy & Goals

Our first bit of advice would be to determine your annual business strategy and goals. The events you choose to attend will then help deliver these. You’ll also need a clear idea on what your event budget is so you can map out your show calendar for the year. Get online and spend a good few hours scoping out what shows are available locally and nationally, investigate the costs, but most importantly make sure you know the profile of people attending the show. You should easily be able to access this information, as well as the expected footfall. You may have attended shows the previous year and many people make the mistake of rebooking without doing further research first. This can be the right thing to do, as you can often secure preferable stand rates however if that particular event isn’t working hard for your business then don’t be fooled into thinking you need to do it again, just because you’ve been there the past 3 years. Try something new and meet new customers.

Designing Your Stand

Once you have your show line up confirmed, you can start on the fun part…designing your stand. This will partly be driven by the space you’ve secured, as well as location. If you have a corner stand then it may be open two sides however if you’re mid-aisle, then you may only have one open space to interact with show attendees. Think about how best to use your space. Do you need pop up roller banners (which are great as they’re low cost and can be used for future events) or are you buying bespoke panels? Have you thought about how you’ll entice people to your stand? Product samples and/ or giveaways can be a great way to catch people’s attention. And one of our top tips – pick your stand furniture carefully. Consider a counter rather than a low table which may hurt your back, and your customers!

Literature & Give Aways

In terms of literature, we always tell our clients to be mindful of this. Think green! Attendees get swamped with leaflets and brochures so be creative and think of other ways that people can remember you. You may simply have a business card with something attached to it. Make sure you do a print run of business cards before the event as you’ll get through a lot more than you think!

Maximise Your Reach at the Show

People often get so wrapped up in getting prepared for an event (let’s face it, there is a big ‘to do’ list in the lead up), but we think it’s vital to plan your visit. If you have a big enough team to help man your stand, then take some time out to visit suppliers, scope out the competition and plan any guest speakers you may want to listen to. Alternatively, you may want to secure a guest speaker slot for you and your brand – this provides a great opportunity to get in front of a captive audience. Your profile will be in the show guide which gives you an enhanced presence before you’ve even set up your stand.

PR & Communications

Another piece of advice….don’t forget to let people know you’re attending the show. Plan all of your marketing communication in the lead up to the event. Generate as much interest and create noise. Use PR, social media (don’t forget LinkedIn as this is a great way to communicate with your industry), add a banner to your email signature or write about it in your newsletter. And on the subject of communication, make sure you have your post show campaign mapped out. How will you follow up with everyone you’ve met, in order to maximise your investment? Take peoples details whilst they’re on your stand and try to email daily to say thank you for visiting. It’s often a good idea to invest in a scanner so you can scan peoples badges and automatically download their data. You’ll be thankful for it – less admin after a long day and more accurate.

Lastly (and potentially the most valuable bit of advice we can give you). Wear comfy shoes!

If you need any help to plan your event, stand or campaign, please get in touch at ask@thefoodmarketingexperts.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you.