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So what did YOU do to make the exhibition a success?

October 26th, 2013 by

I get bloody frustrated at times when I hear exhibitors bemoaning a lack of visitors at an exhibition where they are displaying their goods and services.

The question I pose is “What did YOU do to make the exhibition a success?”

Just recently, we exhibited at the Showman’s Show, an outside exhibition for any company involved in supplying services and equipment to shows, festivals and events. Every year, firms offering products and services from; big screens, to power supplies, marquees, caterers and animal displays troop down to the Newbury Showground ready to entice visitors from all around Europe to view their equipment or services. The first Showman’s Show was held in 1984 and for the past 18 years its home has been in Newbury. It attracts as many as 5000 visitors and often exceeds 300 exhibitors, it is deliberately set in October (regarded as the end of the show season) and the weather is usually surprisingly sunny and dry, although it can be cold and windy.

We start planning for the show in early August and this year we had two new members of the GT Trax team, who both offered us new and fresh ideas on how we could make our presence stand out, without making us look too ‘slick’ or ‘brash’.

Our participation is twofold. Firstly, to meet our existing clients and, equally as important, to gain new contacts. Although we do our best through our website, social media, and telephone sales, it is not always possible to introduce our complete range of equipment to all of our clients. The Showman’s Show offers an opportunity to gently guide our current customers though our display area, quietly showing them all the equipment we have for hire and sale – each designed to enhance a show or festival. An example of client ‘blinkerism’ happened at this years Show, when one of our Foldtable clients (they have hired Foldtables for the past 4 years), suddenly spotted that we rent ground protection panels and said “put me down for 60 of those next year!”

So, what do we do to get these clients on our stand? Well, this year all our emails had a Showman’s advertising banner and we sent a series of email shots (we only got three ‘unsubscribes’) describing what we were intending to display and encouraging customers to meet the GT Trax team in the flesh and not just on the ‘phone. We also made a short introduction film which we uploaded to our website, YouTube and on our Facebook page, which (to date) has has nearly 100 ‘hits’. We also Tweeted regularly, building up our participation in stages and, most importantly, every telephone conversation ended with “don’t forget to come and see us at the Showman’s Show”. Finally we had a link and banner on our website home page directly to the Showman’s Show’s website. During our stand construction our Facebook page showed some build up pictures as our display area took shape. We also feature in the main magazines – Stand Out, Access All Areas, Event Organiser with some paid advertisements and editorial.

The result? We were mobbed throughout the two days! We have an inordinate amount of leads to follow up and the goodwill (via a BBQ provided by one of our customers) was greatly appreciated by all. I am sure that many of our ‘telephone’ relationships were cemented during the show.

One exhibitor, who was nearby to our area, commented to me how busy we were compared to the very few visitors they had on their stand. He said they were using the show to launch a new product they had recently developed, but bemoaned the apparent lack of interest. I asked him what they had done to entice visitors prior to the show, his reply was (and I quote) – “Nothing”.

I rest my case.

OK, the organisers have a responsibility to get visitors to their show and sometimes I get a little frustrated with the lack of use by the organisers of social media (its free y’know) to promote the Showman’s Show, but we (as exhibitors) have an equal responsibility to help make any exhibition a success for us and the organisers.

We did it and it worked for us!

We will back in 2014, and we WILL be in contact! Have a good winter!

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