Last week we welcomed our EventLAB Exhibitors to our offices in Borough for an educational networking evening alongside our PR friends at Davies Tanner, who gave us all some great tips on how to maximise the value of exhibiting at a B2B trade show.
Despite PR being a crucial element for organisations at trade shows, it is often overlooked until the last minute. We wanted to demonstrate not only why PR is so important before, during, and after trade shows, but how exhibitors can use it to its full potential. Here are some of the key takeaways from the evening;
The Role of PR in Events
PR is an excellent tool for both new and established brands; growing your brand presence and protecting the image of your brand through producing good quality content in the media.
When producing content for PR purposes, think about the tone and style of the piece you are wanting to promote - will the media use it in a positive way? Use your brand to influence opinion. Thought leadership content is becoming increasingly popular, both in written media and through new practices, such as vlogging and podcasts. If you can answer the questions of the consumers in a deep and meaningful way you can establish your brand as a thought leader.
Ultimately, a trade show presents a huge range of PR opportunities to influence potential customers and clients to come to you - via press coverage, positive reviews, and more.
Why Include PR in Your Tradeshow Plan
A successful PR strategy will enhance your trade show experience by driving customers to your stand. They will know what your brand is, what you offer, and most importantly, why they should use you.
PR can help to generate both leads and sales. You have an already engaged media audience, as they are there to get as much good quality content as possible, so use them to your advantage. Additionally, you can leverage the media opportunities to extend your brand message out to a wider audience.
What Interests the Media?
The media are interested in content that has real news value.
There are some great ideas to think about: What impact has your news got within the industry or wider world? Is it significant change for the industry? Have you made a product that is technologically innovative, or new to market? Would there be any distinct regional interest in what you have to offer? Could you spin slightly older news to make it relevant to this trade show? Or are you doing something really different - either outside or inside the event?
A great news story will have lots of written content for journalists to work off. However, they are becoming more and more interested in images and video content and have many more opportunities to use this type of content given the scope of online editions - so try and have some handy to create opportunities on site.
Engaging with the Media
To engage successfully with the media, you need to be as prepared as possible.
Make sure you are familiar with the media audience before the trade show - understand what they are looking for and how you can offer quality content for them, looking at specific opportunities that suit your story in both print and online publications. Where you have news or interesting content, be sure to distribute to relevant media in both the run up and during the event itself giving consideration to the value of the information for the readership.
Leverage support of the PR agency in charge of the trade show event if possible - it could be a free service for your company. They can help organise interviews, press conferences, and more.
Utilise any opportunities available to you, whether this be appearing as an industry expert for press releases and blogs or using social media to connect with a wider audience - using the correct hashtags will mean your posts are seen.
Exploit Every Opportunity
As an exhibitor, it won’t always be obvious what promotional channels are available to you, and how much flexibility there is with them. The opportunities available are different for every event, but it is always worthwhile to ask the event’s organisers what other PR, sponsorship or marketing opportunities are available.
Enquire with the editors of any exhibitor newspapers - being featured in these would bring in a huge amount of interest as it’s a great way to be advertised to people with vested interest.
Enquire about sponsorship opportunities - ask for other ways you could help sponsor a part of the event - some are not always advertised but are potentially available for those who seek them out.
Utilise social media pre-event and on the show floor - use different channels to engage with people who are at the event.
After the event, make sure to follow up with all of your connections; leads or industry contacts.
Provide positive testimonials to the event organiser about the experience at the trade show, as these are all added exposure for you.
A Few tips from EventLAB
As the events organisers, we wanted to chime in and add a few extra points about how you can maximise the success on the day that are more specific to EventLAB. Here are some of our top tips:
Pre-Exhibition Planning - Read the exhibitor manual in detail and make sure you’ve provided all the information needed for pre event marketing, and organise everything you need for your stand.
Prepare your elevator pitch - Being able to communicate your brand succinctly and effectively is essential at events. Practice pitching your venue/services in 30 seconds or less.
Prepare your marketing messages - Do you have the marketing collateral available to effectively sell your venue/service to delegates. Consider different ways to do this and share this information, think of ways to make your space stand out and interesting ways to showcase your brand to attract delegates walking by.
Promote your presence at EventLAB - Make the most of your presence at EventLAB by combining with your other marketing efforts. Let your clients know where to find you at EventLAB and how they can get involved. As an exhibitor, you receive complimentary passes for your event booking clients with a free CPD workshop. Incentivise them to come and connect with you with a free pass. Here is EventLAB’s exhibitor social sharing badge.
Get involved in as many of the networking opportunities as possible - We’ve introduced a massive range of opportunities this year to ensure our exhibitors are getting the best exposure to the right kinds of leads. Make sure to set yourself up on Brella pre-event and plan some one-to-one meetings in advance. Have you signed up for the VIP Networking Drinks? Read more about all of the networking opportunities available here.
And finally, when on the stand at EventLAB, be present, engaging and welcoming. As busy event professionals, it's hard to take two whole days away from the office, and tempting to be checking emails and writing proposals while you are there. If you’ve got your eyes up, a smile on your face and are proactively speaking to delegates you will have a much better response rate.
It isn’t always easy to justify the costs of exhibiting at trade shows, we know! Ensuring ROI is always key, and there are many ways in which you can maximise the exposure from your investment and subsequently generate the leads and revenue you need to make it worthwhile. Follow as many of our tips as you can and you are sure to have a great show.