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In a digital world, traditional forms of advertising can often be forgotten.However, to create a successful advertising strategy, a range of channels should be utilised.

One of the best forms of advertising is through attending exhibitions. UK exhibitions attract over 13 million visitors every year, generating £11 billion in total. With over 1,600 exhibitions held in the UK each year, they represent an exciting opportunity to sell.

Brandscan shy away from exhibitions due to the investment of time and money required. However, they can pay off and be extremely lucrative for businesses, provided the work is put in.

Firstly, research into the 1,600+ events should be undertaken, so that you can identify which fit best with your product offerings. After all, for exhibiting to be a successful form of advertising, you need to showcase your products to the right audience.

You’ll also need to decide what to take with you to the show. In addition to marketing materials such as leaflets and posters, you’ll need to arrange display stands, stalls and anything else needed to present your products.

Provided these two aspects have been taken into consideration, then exhibiting can be extremely beneficial. Here Greg Lennox, Owner and Managing Director of RAL Display, discuss why exhibitions are one of the best ways to advertise your products, and why you should start signing up for shows.

Speak face-to-face with potential customers 

How often do we actually get to talk to customers face-to-face? By attending an exhibition, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with people directly. The main benefit of this, is that you can convey all relevant information, as well as smooth out any potential product misconceptions (should there be any).

It’s advantageous for visitors too, as they’re able to get an instant response to any questions they may have about your products. This is preferential to sending questions over in an email (recent studies have shown that 41% of companies ignore customer emails!), calling or messaging over social media.

The other benefit of meeting face-to-face is that you can naturally build up a rapport with potential customers. Realistically, as fantastic as the internet is, this is something that can be very difficult to achieve when you’re sat in front of a computer screen.

By speaking with customers directly and building a rapport, the chance of making a sale increases. This is true for whether you attend a consumer show, where sales are likely to be made there and then, or a tradeshow where sales are usually made after. It’s just one of the ways that makes exhibiting a great form of advertising. 

Meet with a captive audience 

Exhibitions are highly targeted, which is why you should only attend exhibitions that are relevant to your industry.

Because of this, all attendees should have a genuine interest in the products you sell, and will have attended the exhibition with the intention of making a purchase. Essentially, you have a roomful of warm leads.

Compare this to sales calls, and you can really start to see the advantages that exhibitions add to your advertising strategy. You could make 100 calls to people who either aren’t interested in your product, or don’t have the time to talk. Just picking up the phone and dialling 100 different numbers takes a lot of time – a lot longer than it would take to speak to 100 people at an exhibition. Plus, you know that the 100 people you speak to at an exhibition are interested in what you have to say.

This is one of the many advantages of exhibiting, and another factor that makes it a great form of advertising. But this is also why it’s crucial to be highly selective of which events you attend, to ensure your brand is in front of the right audience. If it’s not, then that’s when time and money are wasted.

Opportunities to network and conduct competitor research 

The main reason to attend an exhibition is to gain new customers and increase sales. However, there’s no harm in looking around yourself, as it could help to give your advertising a boost.

Take the time to see what your competitors are doing. Are they saying something that’s particularly effective, or have they displayed their product in a certain way that’s got everyone rushing over to their stand? Obviously, you shouldn’t outright copy, but if a competitor is doing something really well, then there’s nothing wrong with taking some pointers away. It will only help you to be more effective at advertising your products in an exhibition the next time around.

You should also speak with other exhibiting businesses that aren’t direct competitors, as they could represent opportunities too. Perhaps you could recommend each other to your client base, helping to increase sales?

This is another way of getting your products noticed, that isn’t necessarily possible through other advertising channels, showingwhy exhibitions are so important to attend.

The more exhibitions you attend, the easier you will find them in terms of knowing what to take with you, how to speak to attendees, and how to best showcase your products. If you’re looking for a more effective way to advertise your business, then don’t be put off by the perception of high time and money costs, as exhibitions could be the solution.

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