We spilled the secrets to a successful exhibition in one of our latest posts and now we want to dive deeper into pre and post exhibition engagement!
To have a successful exhibition you need attendees, and to get attendees in the first place, you need to spread the word and engage with your audience! There are many ways to do this both online and offline.
There are a variety of platforms at your disposal that are the modern go-to tools for increasing awareness. We are going to run through some ideas on how to utilise them correctly to encourage engagement before your event and get people to attend. Some online tactics even go hand-in-hand with offline ones!
Event Tailored Web Page/Blog Post(s) – Create a web page/blog post all about exhibiting at your upcoming event and post a link to it on your social media accounts. The idea is to create a hype; get people just as excited about the event as you are. Your web page/blog post could give people a rundown of the kind of experience they can expect when they visit your stand at the event. Give them an incentive; create an additional reason why they should go e.g. they can receive discount if they quote ‘EXAMPLE’ when they visit your stand, or run some kind of competition.
You can also target people offline first, with the intent of encouraging them to go online. Web keys are a great marketing tool for this; a novel hand-out that plugs into your USB port, that sends the user directly to a specific web page. Brilliant for increasing web traffic as well as increasing awareness of your event.
Social Media – Social media is an essential tool for business in the modern world. Posting about your event on social media is a great way to build up hype prior to the event. Here are some ideas on how and why you should be focusing on your social media in the run up to your exhibition:
• Include your audience in your decision making by creating polls. Allowing your followers to make certain choices makes them feel a part of the experience already and they will feel valued. This will also help you build relationships and you may be able to schedule in appointments for the day of the event, to meet certain people as a result of doing this.
• Create mini competitions where your followers share/retweet/comment and tag a friend in a piece of your social media content, in order to win something (e.g. exclusive discount), that way your content is getting seen by more people and it’s likely that you’ll get more attendees to go to the exhibition and visit your stand.
• Make sure you get involved in conversations related to the event on social media. This will keep you ‘in the know’ and aware of any trends.
• Follow accounts related to the event, whether that be the people hosting the event, attendees or sponsors! This will keep you aware of any updates and it’s good to follow them ready for on-the-day news and hashtags to get involved in. In addition, if you interact with them before the event e.g. linking, commenting, sharing their content etc, users following them (who may be attending the event) are likely to come across your account. They may then follow you back out of interest and look out for you at the event.
• GO LIVE on social media! Share some information on the event with your followers through a live video. Videos in general get more interaction, but LIVE videos are getting more and more popular! Let them know about the live video beforehand so that they can ask you any questions they have; letting them know beforehand will also get you more viewers!
Utilise your Mailing List – Let people who have signed up to your mailing list know you’re exhibiting. Tailor your email to conform to the latest GDPR standards by ensuring your email is beneficial to the reader(s). What could they benefit from by A reading the email, and B by attending the event? (If you want a recap on the latest GDPR regulations, you can read one of our previous posts on GDPR here).
Printed Invites – Get creative and think of a unique printable item that will help persuade people to visit your stand. Just as discounts and competitions are useful on social media they’re also a great incentive to add to your printed invites too, so be sure to consider incorporating them into your print. You could even run the competition taking them from offline (reading the invite) to online e.g. tell them to post a selfie with the invite and tag you in, in order to receive discount. This way, you will be seen by lots of new accounts on social media; a great way to encourage interaction of different forms and let many people know about your event, with just one item.
Now that you’re a pro at pre-exhibition engagement it’s time to focus on post-exhibition engagement. But first, if you want to ensure the day of your exhibition runs smoothly and successfully, we have some top secrets for you here.
Just because the exhibition is over does not mean engagement should be! This is where all of your hard work from pre-exhibition engagement and interacting at the event itself will play into your hands. You will have developed relationships, gained people’s interest and new clients from your pre-engagement, and interaction at the exhibition, so it’s your job to maintain and develop those relationships.
We’re going to run through some effective post-exhibition engagement hacks.
Giveaways – Pre-plan your post-engagement by thinking of giveaways you can hand out at the exhibition that will keep the ‘buzz’ going afterwards. Think of call to actions and competitions that you can add to them that people can partake in to ensure your existing and new relationships are well kept after the event. Think of items that your attendees use daily and brand them up to give out at the exhibition. If they use them frequently after the event, they will be constantly reminded of your brand. (Tip: Think of trends that could work in your favour, for example, Travel Mugs are in high demand due to the recent news surrounding plastic waste. Read more about the Travel Mug trend here).
Contacts – Make sure you follow up with your contacts; a few days after the event is a good rule! Keep the conversation going, show that you haven’t forgot about them and ensure they don’t forget about you! (Find out more why following up leads is important here).
Social Media – Keep consistency in your activity on social media. You don’t just stop now that the exhibition is over. It’s likely that you have more followers now and are following more people yourself, so you need to continue to give them great content and a reason to remain as followers. In addition, get commenting, sharing and retweeting other’s posts yourself!
Thank You/Feedback – Why not send out a ‘thank you’ to your event attendees via email or through an updated blog post and include a survey for them to fill out. To encourage them to answer your questions, try to make answering the questions simple for them, such as ‘on a scale of 1-10…’. Here are a some examples of different types of questions you can ask:
• Did you enjoy meeting the team?
• How helpful were our staff to you?
• What did you like the most?
• What did you like the least?
• How likely are you to attend one of our events in the future?
• How would you rate our product demonstrations?
• How likely are you to recommend our events to a friend?
• Was there enough time for discussion?
• What would you like to see/for us to do at our events in future?
The feedback you receive from your attendees will help improve your events and engagement in the future. (Check out this great blog post for more survey question ideas, click here).
So, there you have it! You now have five-star-rated knowledge on pre and post exhibition engagement! Thank you for reading, we hope you’ve found our blog post useful! Don’t forget to connect with us on Twitter and let us know what tactic you found the most useful, or share your own with us @birchprint.Back to case studies