See below for our top tips !…
Why exhibitions and Baby Shows particularly?
No other medium can offer you face-to-face contact with such large numbers of potential customers. In a short space of time you can create high impact visibility with the opportunity to demonstrate your products and services directly to numerous consumer demographics. This, in turn, creates the potential and ability to convert demonstrations to sales, on the spot. Make sure you are making it easy for the customer however, easy ways to pay, bags and free gifts/on the day discounts can turn the exhibition tourist into a new client.
Pre and post-show promotion should also be part of the baby show package however, meaning that you start to benefit from exposure to your potential clients as soon as you sign up.
90% of visitors to exhibitions attend to purchase, research a purchase, or find a solution to a problem.
For new-to-market or internet-based companies exhibitions and baby shows offer a fantastic, unique and vital opportunity to meet with your potential clients and gauge public reaction to your product or services.
How to select an event to invest in?
Ensure there is synergy between the event target audience and your target market/customer base.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the organisers. How long have they been in the exhibition/event business? What is their experience/background? How many events are in their portfolio? How successful have previous baby shows or events been?
Press and PR – ask to see the event advertising/press and pr schedule. All good exhibition organisers will have their media plans drawn up many months in advance both in terms of exhibitor promotion and visitor promotion and be able to forward this to you.
Pre/post show Promotion – ask how your company will be promoted before and after the event.
Feedback – has their previous client feedback been positive – from both exhibitors and visitors? Speak to previous exhibitors if necessary.
Venue – is the venue well known and central? How will the event be publicised on the day? Is there lots of parking and good public transport links? Are there cash machines onsite or close by? Is the venue located in close proximity to your target market base or easily accessible to them?
Fellow exhibitors – Do the organisers have a policy on how many companies from your sector would be permitted to attend ?
How to select your pitch?
Look carefully at the floorplan – the exits and entrances, toilets, catering etc. Try to position yourself close to where your target customers will be headed for ie – by the breast feeding areas if you sell nursing clothes, near the playzones if you sell toys etc. Liaise closely with the organiser regarding neighbouring stands to ensure you are not close to any rival companies (unless you want to be!) Corners and island sites are usually the most popular but some organisers will charge more for them.
Space only or Shell scheme? Shell scheme is more expensive but means upon arrival you just have to position your graphics and stock, everything else should be provided. Shell is uniform, all stands will look similar and should look very professional. For the ‘space only’ option you will be responsible for bringing your own display banners/units etc and your area will be marked out on the exhibition floor for you when you arrive. You will not usually have a name board/stand number sign with space only options so check and otherwise bring your own.
If bringing your own stand, pop up or display units DO practice before and ensure you know how to get the kit assembled swiftly and efficiently! You do not want the event doors opening as you realise you are missing a vital component or you have no idea how to get bolt A to opening B!
How much space? Consider what your objectives are for the day and what you are selling / promoting. If you are unsure it is a good idea to measure out the footprint of your stand pre-show at your work premises or home. Stand in that area, preferably along with your stock/product/information and ensure you have enough space and that it will work for you. You want to entice customers in so very large pieces or furniture/display cases at the very front should be avoided. At Babyshows you have to be especially aware of buggies and the space they can take up.
If your budget allows it is well worth taking advantage of pre-show publicity to really raise your awareness over that of your competitors in advance of the event. On the day extra publicity and exposure – ie advertising on plasma screens and in show guide is also very worthwhile.
What to do on the day/the night before
Do give yourself enough time, make sure you know your route and allow for any delays/ traffic chaos. Being late is not only very stressful for you but for health and safety reasons, some organisers will not allow you to set up your stand once the show is open.
Pack carefully to ensure all that you need to start to set up your stand is stored at the top. By leaving yourself plenty of time you will be able to ensure all your stock/information is displayed to its best advantage and that you are looking fantastic and not frazzled.
Hopefully the baby show will be very busy and you will not have time/cover to leave the stand therefore ensure you have snacks / water to keep you going. Many caterers will do ‘stand drops’ or come round with food on the day meaning you can avoid leaving your post (apart from loo breaks!)
Remember why you are there – maximise the opportunity and target every visitor who passes your stand. Really impress just 10 mums on the day and you can bet that 100 will know about your product or service in a weeks time. The Yummy Mummy network is a very powerful one, mums spend much time in social intercourse be it face-to-face or via social networking sites and are always seeking personal recommendations/advice/inspiration – we know this to be true
Smile, smile, smile – there is nothing more off-putting than a stand holder who looks thoroughly p*ssed off or bored. Try and smile at everyone, be prepared to hand out your information to all – not just those who actively approach the stand and don’t get dejected if some people say no or are unresponsive.
Capture potential clients! Consider a prize draw, newsletter, product giveaway or competition to capture the data of the baby show visitors to your stand. Even if they don’t want your product now – they could be converted to customers in the future. Don’t however present people with a giant questionnaire – recording a name and email address is enough for you to carry out a very effective follow-up campaign post-show.
If you do not make the cost of your stand back on the day don’t automatically assume the event has been a failure or a waste of your time/money. Raising your profile and generating awareness is of enormous value – make sure that your website is up and running, that the web address is very obvious on your publicity and that you have enough stock to meet potential demand after the event.
- Make the very best of the opportunity and your investment
- Network and make connections with the other exhibitors
- Exhibiting can be are very tiring but also very exhilarating so try and have fun
- Be thorough with your follow up
- DON’T arrive with a hangover!
- DO wear sensible shoes !
Sponsoring and exhibiting at Baby Expo Brighton has given our business an incredible boost – we took record takings on the day and the enquiries and resultant after-sales have been phenomenal. One customer said she had seen us on the BBE website and so came along to try the product in person. As an internet-only business this sort of opportunity is worth gold to us! We will definitely be signing up for the next one, and the professional organisation, extensive press coverage and smooth running of the day make this a very easy decision! ‘Mummy Looks Fab’