Attending exhibitions are a great way for you to develop your business. It’s true, and for a number of reasons too. It’s common knowledge that the key to thriving in the B2B sector is through networking with other organisations. After all, that’s how you generate sales and keep a roof over yours and your employees’ heads.
Since the introduction of the internet, and latterly social media, marketing has very much become a digitalised practice, whereby many businesses have now established digital presences across an array of platforms in order to conduct a thorough outreach. Not to mention that it’s mostly free. That said, it’s important that companies retain a varied marketing mix as different prospects have different preferences on the sort of marketing they wish to receive. For example, direct mail remains the most popular form of marketing, with a response rate of 5.1%. This is the highest response rate ever recorded by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), and knocks social media (0.4%) and email (0.6%) marketing off the scales.
Whilst marketing is integral to any organisation, promoting your business at exhibitions allows you to create a visual experience that will draw the eyes of prospects and other attendees, whilst making your competitors green with envy (hopefully). Some may argue that you can achieve the same outcome through social media marketing by incorporating video and imagery into your strategy, and at a fraction of the cost as well. Albeit some exhibitions can be quite pricey, they provide businesses with the opportunity to showcase their products in the flesh. When you’re trying to sell something, nothing beats that face to face interaction, that allows prospects to not only see the features and benefits of your products, but enables them to ask any questions they may have to a real person.
Any marketer will agree when we say that chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) are on the rise, especially in the eCommerce sector, it could be argued that there’s only so much information that a live chat or website can provide, and some businesses may require the whole shebang before making a purchase decision. You’re obviously not going to write an essay about your products on your website (that would scare people off), therefore, engaging with potential clients in an exhibition environment will not only provide them with a thorough overview of your company, but it will allow you to fully understand their needs and desires. Everyone’s happy, right?
Exhibitions are an optimum way of generating promising leads, as you can swap business cards or scan barcodes with those who seem genuinely interested in your services, and vice versa. Who knows, you may even find organisations offering solutions that meet your company’s needs and desires. Win, win, hey? I think you’ll agree when we say that this form of networking may prove to be more lucrative than running the risk of targeting the wrong audience via other methods.
Another reason why you should welcome the idea of attending exhibitions with open arms, is because it gives you the chance to spy on your competitors and see what they’re up to. Come on, admit it, everyone’s a little nosy. When you find that your stand is getting quieter (usually around lunchtime or during keynote speeches), take the opportunity to walk around the exhibiting arena to see what your competitors are doing right, and what they’re doing wrong. Whilst you can be smug at the size of their stand or their poor artwork in comparison to yours, you may find that they’re handing out good giveaways, or have informative product sheets. We know you hate the idea of losing face (who doesn’t?), but take any good tips away with you and use them to build on your own business in the future.
Why not pretend to be a potential customer? You could collect information about their products and services, as well as price lists, and secretly rate them on their pitching skills before comparing their strategy to your own. That way you’ll know whether you need to make any changes to your current sales and marketing strategy in order to become more competitive.
It goes without saying that you need to choose the right exhibition for your business, so make sure you shop around before committing to something that isn’t likely to result in any leads or sales. Take Hopewiser for example, and our recent attendance at eCommerce Show North at Event City, Manchester. As an address validation and cleansing services provider, Address Lookup and Data Cleansing are integral to a successful eCommerce strategy, therefore, the company felt as though this exhibition was an opportunity not to be missed. Every eCommerce business needs to keep on top of their company database, and ensure their customers’ purchases are delivered to the correct address, right?
The two day period gave the sales and marketing team the opportunity to network with other businesses, in order to fully gauge what needs they have and what software they currently use, and more importantly how high or low they rate it. The team were able to market the products through demonstrations on the stand, as well as handing out information folders that were packed with product information as well as our free Ultimate Guide to Data 2018. The exhibition itself ran smoothly and our team were pleased with the networking opportunities and the leads gained.
If you’re looking for new ways in which to promote your business, then exhibitions are a great way to find new customers and perhaps even find business solutions for your own company. If you think you can bring a lot to the eCommerce sector, then make sure you sign up for eCommerce Show North 2019.
, updated 2nd August 2019.