Exhibiting at international trade fairs and expos can be time consuming and expensive. However, the benefits of generating and closing qualified leads associated with exhibiting can effectively lower overall costs and marketing efforts, by consolidating the sales process into a single event. To get the most out of your expo-experience, keep these tips in mind:
1. Understand what sources of public funding your company qualifies for
Tekes, TEM and ELY-keskus have money available for Finnish companies expanding overseas. These funding programs change from-time-to-time, you can read about the current situation on the website of The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres).
2. Determine exactly WHY you want to go
If you have a clear idea of why you are attending you’re more likely to set and achieve goals. Some positive reasons for going include:
Accelerating your product to new markets
Media coverage of your company or product
Meeting potential investors
performing competitive analysis and market research
Attracting qualified leads
3. Set clear and specific objectives
After you determine why you are attending a trade show, set clear and specific objectives for what you want to achieve while there. Create a plan and a strategy of how you’re going to accomplish everything you set forth. The more specific the better!
4. Engage in targeted pre-show marketing and networking
Don’t assume that people will find you and all the networking will take place at the event. Look at the list of registered attendees, reach out to the before the show and try to pre-arrange meetings. Consider using LinkedIn as a second channel of communication.
5. Invest in training or coaching
It’s important to be abreast of the cultural norms of where you are and who you are meeting.
Select the right team to staff the booth, be realistic about who is going and what their strengths and weakness are. How comfortable will they be talking to people and selling your product? Consider any training requirements as part of your pre-show preparation
6. Take care designing your marketing materials
Keep the location of the trade show in mind when designing your exhibition and marketing material. Ensure your booth and marketing materials are targeted to your audience, language and visuals should keep in line with the local expectations!
7. Invest time in post-show follow-up activities
Follow up is as important if not more than the actual show. Take notes throughout the show on who you want to contact? When? How? Why?
8. Have a process in place for determining your ROI
Develop clear metrics as to what constitutes a “successful” show for you. Profit is important but it isn’t the only indicator of success. Some other examples include the number of qualified leads, positive survey results, or finding XX amount of new distributors. Developing a formula for determining your success will help you save money and determine which shows are the most beneficial to attend. A helpful worksheet can be found here: http://www.exhibitorcentral.com/ExhibitForms/tstips/ec_measuringresults.pdf
9. Attend ⇒ Exhibit ⇒ Present
If you find a show that works well for you, raise your credibility each year by reflecting the growth of your company. For example, the first year go as an attendee and feel it out. The following year perhaps exhibit. Once the show is comfortable and company growth is satisfactory you can be a speaker or presenter…and be an example to all the other “just attendees”. By progressing in the show you can raise your credibility with organizers and repeat attendees (such as distributors or potential partners) since most people tend to repeat successful shows. Basically, if you’re doing more each year at a show beyond exhibiting, it positively reflects the growth and expertise that’s happening within your company.
If you are interested in attending overseas trade shows, or want help to improve your performance, you can read more and contact the Xport team here http://www.xport.fi/en/expoxport.html
Natalia Moose, Project Coordinator, Xport (2014)