2015 New Year’s Marketing Resolution 3: Be an exhibitionist


Well, perhaps not in the true sense of the word...

We’ve now covered the first two resolutions all marketers should be making for January 2015. Next on your list, then, is the decision of which exhibitions or trade shows your business will be attending this year. Perhaps you’ve got one or two booked in already? Good on you. But if you haven’t decided yet – or are indeed still deciding whether you should attend an event at all this year – let us share with you some of the great reasons to do so.

Never been to a show?

If you’re a small business that hasn’t participated in an exhibition before, don’t shy away from the investment. Even if you realise post-show that this wasn’t quite the right market for you, you will have learned some valuable things.

Start by doing some research and selecting one or two shows that you feel would be right for your company. Enquire about available stands and pricing, the number of people who attend and the demographic to find out if it’ll suit your services and your budget. Corner stands are considered to be the best ones for businesses that can’t afford their own dedicated area, so they get snapped up pretty quickly. On the other hand, if you’re facing budget constraints, leaving it late might get you a discount on a stand that’s less favourably positioned.

Once you’re committed, take along some good quality brochures, get some eye catching banners or pop ups printed and set aside a stack of business cards to hand out. From there it’s simply an exercise of getting yourself noticed among the sea of other brands. If you have the resource, come up with some creative ideas to get people’s attention. This can involve a game or competition for interested parties to take part in, edible treats, sample products to hand out or have on display for people to use and so forth.

And, most importantly, get people talking!

But why do a show at all?

To shout about your brand

We’re all familiar and comfortable with shouting about our brand on the internet – via pay per click ads, on social media, by email. But it’s important to shout offline too. Exhibitions are an important part of many business’ year, providing an opportunity not only for potential consumers to find out about you, but also potential suppliers. It’s a chance to get noticed – even if that’s only by a hundred people who attend the exhibition, that’s a hundred more who are aware of your business, and who will recognise your brand name when they see it elsewhere. Perhaps those hundred have given you an email address – even better.

To distribute literature

As well as talking to potential customers, shows are a good opportunity to chat to suppliers or other businesses that offer products or services that could complement your own. Take some time to wander round the other stands and chat, or attend networking breakfasts to meet others and find out about what they’re doing or developing.

Give your business a face

If nothing else, an exhibition is a chance to enable your customers to put faces behind the brand they’re investing in. By being at a trade show you can chat with consumers face to face, find out what they’re interested in and perhaps even get some ideas for how to improve or develop your product or service set. In a world where personalisation is the zeitgeist, giving your clients faces to speak to directly is an important part of your strategy. 

Research the competition

Part of knowing whether a show is right for you is checking if your competitors are attending. It indicates the show is right for your target market and gives you an opportunity to desert your post for a short time to scope out what they’re up to. What deals are they offering? How is their stand set up? Slip your exhibition pass into your pocket or handbag and approach them as a customer – it’s sneaky but plenty before you have done it!

For further advice contact Whitefish Marketing 

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About Chris Surridge

Chris Surridge is an experienced Digital Marketing Director with a wealth of knowledge on Search Marketing Strategies and Conversion Analysis. His value is in strategic planning for client accounts, and his consultative services.