With JEC World just around the corner, now’s a good time to start preparing for a successful exhibition. Whether you’re attending the event in March, or one of the many other shows throughout the year, it’s important to arrive prepared so you get the most out of the experience.

From finalising product demonstrations to conceptualising an eye-catching stand, we know event planning can take months. However, it’s often the little things that you can (and should!) do in the weeks and days prior that make all the difference. Having been to many exhibitions globally ourselves, and helped our clients prepare for the best experience, here are our seven top tips.

1. Set Goals

You should already know what you intend to exhibit, but have you truly thought about what you want to say with your exhibition and what impact you intend to have? Knowing what a successful event means to you can help drive strategy and give direction. Some examples of goals may be attracting a large audience to your stand, making more social connections, client conversions or promotional distribution.

By determining your intentions beforehand, it will be easier to measure the success of your exhibition and return on investment, reflect on performance and note points of improvement for the next show.

2. Research Other Exhibitors

Of course, an exhibition would not be complete without other businesses also displaying their products and expertise. Beforehand, it’s a good idea to get a few lists together.

Firstly, write down which companies you’d like to engage with. Knowing this can help you plan an efficient route around the show. Secondly, make note of any attending competitors. Events are an excellent opportunity to assess how they promote themselves and consider how to differentiate your own marketing. Lastly, it’s always good etiquette to look up your neighbours. Establishing a relationship before the event can help make it a more enjoyable experience. Who knows, maybe you’ll build a lasting connection!

3. Review Your Promotional Material

In the final few months before an exhibition, it’s always good practice to review your promotional material so you know best how to use it. Hopefully, you’ve already secured an eye-catching stand and designed takeaway leaflets or gifts for people to remember you by.

Now is the time to go over what you’ve created and how it all fits together. If you have leaflets, where are they best placed? Do you have enough signage to direct people to you? Could you promote an exciting freebie online to encourage people to visit the stand? Assessing the inner workings of your promotion will help secure in your mind how the event will work and draw your attention to any issues or imperfections before you arrive.

4. Spread the Word

Of course, as a marketing company, we highly recommend you spread the word about your presence before the event. Social media posts, press releases and email campaigns are all effective methods of promotion. You could even dedicate a webpage to your exhibition attendance to help drum up excitement.

Impactful marketing is all about storytelling. People like to follow the activities of other people, so give them the whole story. Shout about how you’re preparing, show yourselves setting up, communicate online with other businesses and document the process. Marketing is an excellent way to promote visibility early and make connections, which may lead to sales.

5. Prepare Your Team

No exhibition will truly be successful without a prepared team. Make sure you know how many employees you need and what each of their responsibilities are. Consider everyone’s dress code. Will you be wearing branded clothes or dressing in business wear?

Running some training sessions in the days leading up to the event can also help everyone brush up on the product details, hone their sales skills and share ideas.

6. Have Fun

While a lot of preparation goes into exhibiting, it’s important to remember to have fun! A joyful environment will motivate your team and be more welcoming to potential clients. Give everyone time to explore their personal interests, you never know what they might learn and bring back to the company.

7. Follow Up

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, remember to follow up with any leads you gain. You will likely meet lots of people throughout the show, so make sure you have an efficient way to collect their contact information. Don’t forget to also note down their interest in your business.

Once the event is over, it’s time to revisit each connection and reach out. Remind people who you are and what you discussed when you met. Then, suggest some potential next steps. Following up quickly (about a week after the event) will keep you fresh in the minds of potential clients and likely improve conversion.