Negosentro | Top tips for businesses exhibiting at a UK trade show | Most trade shows, or exhibitions, that businesses attend will naturally be on their home soil, but there are also significant benefits to exhibiting in the UK, particularly for businesses that operate globally or are looking to expand.
As a gateway into Europe, and a global business hub in its own right, exhibiting in the UK can offer increased international brand recognition as well as opportunities to meet face-to-face with overseas customers, explore new markets and discover new ways of thinking.
Whether you’re already operating in the UK, or an overseas business looking to expand, here are some tips for making the best of a UK exhibition.
Do your research
The UK has thousands of industry-specific exhibitions every year and it’s vital that you pick one that will attract your target audience while also providing opportunities to meet with other industry professionals and keep up-to-date with relevant market developments.
Research each event’s key statistics, visitor demographics, listed exhibitors and any planned workshops or speakers. Your primary goal might be to show off your business but the right show can also offer exceptional information-gathering opportunities.
Also, don’t limit your search to London. Exhibitions in the UK are spread across the whole country, with world-renowned venues in Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool; to name just a few!
Budget for additional costs
In addition to your space and stand costs you’ll also want to factor in any electrics, rigging, running water, or internet; all of which will be chargeable by the venue. Any printed literature, products, or giveaways will also mean additional costs for procurement and transportation.
Having your own marketing team on your stand will present additional costs relating to travel, living costs, and accommodation. If you do not have a UK-based team, there are companies that can provide agency staff, although this comes with its own disadvantages as staff will struggle to answer all of the questions visitors may have about your products and services.
To reduce the expense of transporting your stand you may want to choose a contractor that offers discounted transportation and/or storage.
Research your stand contractor
Choosing the right stand design and build contractor can be the difference between having a successful show or not. Your exhibition stand is a visual representation of your brand and contributes enormously to the first impressions visitors get of your business, so it’s vital to get it right!
Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions of your stand contractor, as you’ll want to know that they are a business you can trust. Ask about their financial viability, their processes, their product offering, and any services they may outsource, as all of this information will affect the stand they produce for your business.
Quadrant2Design is a UK-based exhibition stand contractor and suggests asking 9 crucial questions of your potential contractors.
- Are you financially sound?
- Will you pre-build my stand?
- How safe is my stand?
- Is my stand reusable?
- Describe your quality control.
- Do you sub-contract anything?
- Are your stands sustainable?
- Who builds my stand onsite?
- What is 3D proofing and why is it important?
Choose the right staff
A big factor in effectively communicating your brand message at an exhibition is your choice of brand representatives. Make sure the staff on your stand are friendly, approachable, and, most importantly, knowledgeable about your products and services.
While agency staff can offer visitors a friendly welcome onto your stand, they are unlikely to know your products and services well enough to answer all of the questions your visitors might have.
Promote your attendance
Once you’ve decided to attend an exhibition it’s important to let your audience know.
While the event organiser’s marketing will attract visitors, you’ll want to make sure that your target audience knows that you will be there and where they can find you. Use social media, email marketing, and any other appropriate channels to raise awareness of your attendance before, during, and after the event.
There may be opportunities to sponsor the event or make use of the organiser’s marketing channels, which will increase your exposure. Keep in mind that this will likely come at an additional cost.
Make the most of networking opportunities
Exhibitions are a great way to find pre-qualified leads and business connections, so network as much as you can!
While your team is meeting visitors on your stand, have representatives attend talks and seminars and chat with other industry professionals, while giving out and collecting as many business cards as possible.
Making overseas contacts is particularly useful, as UK professionals will be able to provide valuable insight into business practices in the country, as well as the typical mindset and behaviour of the UK audience.
Follow up after the show
All of your networking efforts will be undone if you disappear after the event is over! Make sure to follow up with leads, as a personal follow-up phone call or email can make all the difference in turning new leads into long-lasting customers.
Evaluating these leads with a follow-up call or email will also allow you to assess the effectiveness of the event and decide if it is worth attending again.