By Lisa Dunphy
As we approach the summer season, preparation for many agricultural trade shows is well under way. Fundamental to the success of any trade show, be it agricultural or otherwise is event management. Event management is one such profession where failure has no hiding place. Preparation is key! A lack of preparation, confidence about your stand position, design and concept, and visitor expectations will land you in an embarrassing situation. To avoid uncertainties, below are some of the most important event management tips to consider in advance, during and after your event.
“Location, location, location” is the case here just like at any other trade event. Most trade shows will offer prime location booths for an extra charge. If you are willing to pay extra, look into this early, as prime locations sell out fast. You may need to think even further in advance. If you plan on attending a trade show long term, year after year, prime location is something you can try to leverage and negotiate into your contract.
Get the look
Visitors are attracted to good looking stands. Use crisp clean lines and colors in keeping with your brand standards. It is imperative to put effort into the concept and design of your stand at an early stage to ensure you portray your brand and message in the best possible light. It will make all the difference between visitors stopping or walking by. Ensure your brand is clear and able to be seen from every direction. Use clear signage, flags, lighting and shrubbery to enhance the stand.
Make your stand approachable
In addition to having that ‘right look’ and appealing design, your stand should be approachable. Professional staff, smartly dressed with branded clothing and name tags are extremely important to the company image. Have a variety of different display options to appeal to different people. Some people like flyers, brochures and reading materials. Other visitors favour visual effects such as a video demo on a screen or tablet. Many will want to engage with staff and ask questions. Ensure you have a good balance of staff available at all times throughout the event with up to date business cards.
Attending trade shows for visitors can be physically tiring as there is lots of walking around. Offering refreshment will be much appreciated. Your offering should be in line with your company culture or stand theme. Water bottles, coffee cups, sweet treats and any packaging should come with your branding or business card attached to help remind visitors where they received it from.
Network! Network! Network!
There are thousands of exhibitors at trade shows looking to connect with like-minded individuals and are willing to talk for free. Many of the distributors and manufacturers are eager to share their experiences about what it took to get to where they are. Make friends with your neighbours, let them know about what you do and find out what their business is. You will want other non-competing exhibitors to refer visitors to your stand when appropriate, just as you will want to refer others to theirs. At trade events you will meet amazing people with incredible ideas, who are more than happy to provide feedback about how to make your product better and share their tricks of the trade.
Reach out on Social Media
It is recommended to prepare a social media marketing plan in advance of your trade show, including a content calendar with nuggets of information about your brand, products on display, exciting items of interest during the lead up and on the day of the event. Another way to engage with people on the day of the event is when visitors have checked in at the venue or mentioned the trade show on social media. Invite them to your stand and offer a special incentive through social channels.
After all the hard work of attending your trade show or exhibition, it is so tempting to pack up and go home. For most exhibitors, this is when the ‘real work’ starts, converting all those precious qualified leads and contacts into sales. Ideally prepare your follow-up plan and literature in advance, set yourself a deadline to get these out within a week of the event. You should collect meaningful information from the participants. Send feedback forms, gather feedback, understand participants’ reactions, gauge expectations and measure the impact of your event. This will help you get valuable insights for future events based on the information received. Make time to connect on social media platforms with all your trade show neighbours and contacts you met at the event. This is invaluable to expanding your professional network and hopefully you will soon see referrals coming your way.
Agricultural trade shows are a fundamental part of the Agri business networking calendar. Green Acre Marketing will do all the work to ensure that your brand delivers the appropriate message and leave your existing or potential customers with a lasting impression.
Contact us at Green Acre Marketing for more information.