Online exhibition guide. P is for …
Paid Search Marketing
The launch of AdWords in October 2000 helped drive Google to become the multi-billion-dollar business of today.
The search giant’s online advertising platform allows your ads to be shown to users who are actively searching for selected keywords.
When highly-targeted, it can be a very effective form of advertising and is well suited for time-based events like exhibitions.
For example, your selected keywords could feature the name of the event and your targeted ads would focus on the benefits of visiting your stand.
Your prospects are not any Tom, Dick, or Harriette. And the more you know about them, the greater chance you have of converting them into customers.
So you should create buyer personas as part of your exhibition planning process. For example:
- What are their expectations / goals?
- What do they know already?
- What are their needs, wants, and pain points
- What do you seek or expect from them?
- What do you want to give them?
It also helps to give names and roles or company positions to your target customers.
By building the personas, you will recognise prospects at the events and be better prepared to satisfy their needs.
Napoleon Bonaparte is attributed as saying “A good sketch is better than a long speech.” This was some time before common usage of the phrase “One picture is worth a thousand words”.
Good photography of your exhibition stand can significantly broaden its reach. For example:
- In social media posts during an event.
- Within your web pages after the show.
- To accompany PR activity.
- In email newsletters and marketing material.
“Advertising is what you pay for, but publicity is what you pray for,” is an often-quoted statement in PR circles.
And a study by Nielsen on the role of content in the buyer decision-making process concluded that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising.
The PR activity around your exhibition stand activity should begin sometime before the event and consider the advance publishing schedules of print publications.
But bear in mind there will not be much interest in the fact you are exhibiting.
Rather, try to excite the media – and their readers – with information about new products and services and other highlights of your appearance at the show.
The founder of the Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell, wrote that the motto to “Be Prepared” means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty”.
Preparation is everything if you are going to maximise the effectiveness of your exhibition stand activity.
Some of the areas that should be part of your event preparation are:
- Establishing your business objectives.
- Creating the important messages.
- Agreeing your key metrics.
- Identifying your important prospect personas.
- Selecting your team members.
- Specifying what data should be captured and how.
And remember to Dyb, Dyb, Dyb – (Do your best!).
One of the worst pieces of advice ever about public speaking is to “picture your audience as being naked”.
Can you imagine what that would really be like and how completely off-putting it would be?
Far better to build a picture of an audience who are extremely interested in hearing what you have to say and have already accepted you as being an authority on your topic.
Presentations and workshops during exhibitions provide a very effective opportunity for you to capture the attention of prospects and persuade them of your credibility as a supplier.
You should talk to the event organisers about gaining a speaking slot as part of your agreement to take a stand. And you should choose a presentation topic that is likely to be appealing to your targeted customers.
Also, if possible, it’s useful to have your presentation recorded so it can be used later within your digital channels and social media.
The origins of words can be interesting. Take “kit” for example that originates from the Dutch word “kitte” for a wooden vessel.
It was later applied to other containers, and thus kit as we know it today.
If you sold kits, that’s the kind of information you might include within a Press kit. Other useful material would be:
- Summary of the company.
- Details on key members of the team.
- Fact sheets about your products or services.
- Case studies and testimonials.
- Company and product images.
- Logos and brand assets.
It is easy to provide this material within an area of your website and can provide you with a competitive advantage when members of the media are researching events and companies that are exhibiting.
If you’ve ever seen an exhibitor holding their head in their hands just prior to a show opening, they’re probably the one with the ineffective project manager.
During the selection of an exhibition stand supplier, ask for details about their project management procedures and look for:
- Dedicated, experienced project manager.
- Pro-active communications and updates.
- Collaboration with event organisers.
- Proven means of planning and organisation.
- Direct responsibility for on-time delivery, installation, and removal.
A good prospect should adhere to strict codes, protocol, customs, discipline, and traditions.
At least if they want to become a fully-patched member of a motorcycle club.
Fortunately, life is simpler for your kind of prospects at trade shows even if they often prove to be equally elusive.
Also see Leads.