Exhibition tips from The National Wedding Show
We might be currently in peak wedding season, but planning for weddings happens year-round. It's vital to keep up with trends and meet customers and competitors alike - and this is true for every business. One of the best ways to do this is to attend trade shows, and for the businesses with a wedding focus, there's one that you definitely want to attend.
The National Wedding Show takes place six times per year across the UK in London, Birmingham and Manchester and is the UK’s biggest and longest established wedding show. The next events are taking place this autumn at Olympia (25-27 September), NEC (2-4 October) and Manchester Central (24-25 October).
Even if you're not a business focussed on weddings, knowing how to get out there, stand out, and sell directly to potential customers is essential for businesses across the board. So we've got some insider tips from event manager Alex Butler on how to make the most out of exhibiting at shows. If you’re considering face-to-face marketing as part of your upcoming activity, make sure you keep reading!
The first thing you’ll do is book your stand position, so make sure you’re happy with the location and the immediate adjacencies. Before you arrive onsite double check you're happy with the size of your stand as this will affect the amount of business you do onsite. The last thing you want to be doing when you arrive onsite is making last minute changes to your stand layout!
Set your team targets. Really consider what you want to get out of the event. If it’s brand awareness, then set a target of how many email addresses you need to collect across the weekend; if it’s return on investment, then set a target around how many sales you need to make over the course of the weekend. Break the target down into manageable pieces so your team don’t feel overrun with work on the first day!
There is so much you can do to promote your business before an event even starts, such as talking about it on social media! Many exhibitions offer PR and Marketing support to enable you to maximise your company’s exposure to visitors and press alike.
- There is often the opportunity to promote yourself via the show’s website. At The National Wedding Show we offer a 350-word description, logo, image and weblink to all exhibitors. We attract 98,000 unique visitors to our website each month and we’ve known exhibitors to receive bookings off the back of this alone, so it’s very worthwhile!
- Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, to name a few, are all great for spreading the word. Make your posts as engaging as possible by promoting any special offers, competition prizes, and interesting product launches. Don’t be shy to ask the exhibition organisers to promote these offers on their pages as well – they’ll be keen to use the content, and it could result in a massive increase in likes and followers for you.
- PR agencies are often on hand to help you maximise your coverage. If you’ve got a newsworthy product launch, then tell as many people about it as possible! It could be Birmingham’s most expensive tiara or the world’s largest wedding dress, or the greatest number of brides-to-be in a changing room. Whatever it is, tell the show’s PR agency about it as they’ll get out their little black book of press contacts, and it could result in coverage in newspapers or magazines!
- Invite prospective clients to see you at the show, providing them with a complimentary ticket. It’s a great way to treat them to a day out and see your product in action. Ask the show organisers to provide you with an allocation of tickets for this activity.
Stand design and layout
Your stand is the first thing visitors will see of your company at the show, so make it as attractive as possible. Be unique – there’s no point copying what your competitor has done, as it won’t make you stand out in comparison! We so often receive enquiries from visitors who want to book a supplier but can’t remember the company name; however, they can remember the location of the stand and how it was dressed. Make sure you don’t lose out to someone offering a similar product!
It’s a good idea to make your stand as accessible as much as possible – you want the space to be inviting. Remember, some visitors will be reticent about stepping onto your stand so you need to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
Involvement in editorial features
Maximise your coverage whilst onsite by being involved in the editorial features at the show – whether they are Catwalk or Theatre. If visitors see your brand at multiple points throughout the show then they’re more likely to remember you and make a beeline for your stand.
It might sound obvious, but SMILE when you’re on your stand! You need to show your passion and enthusiasm for the product, and be charming. Fantastic customer service could set you apart from your competitor, and result in you selling more! This also might sound like a small point, but don’t sit down or slouch on the stand – You always need to be on hand to answer any questions the visitor might have.
We speak to so many businesses who don’t realise how important it is to data capture whilst at a show. You cannot rely on visitors using the show guide to find your contact details, and you can’t presume they’re going to be in touch! It’s a good idea to run a competition from your stand to encourage visitors to leave their contact details with you, as if there’s something in it for them then they’re more likely to do it.
Post-show follow up
Stay in contact
A personalised thank you note after the show will separate you from the competition, as it helps if visitors feel like they have built a personal rapport with the supplier they are buying from. The note also presents the perfect opportunity to reinforce any sales messages, including extended show offers or discount deadlines.
Measure your success
Refer back to the targets we suggested you set at the beginning and gauge how successful the event has been for you. Remember, much business can come once the show has ended so don’t forget to ask all customers over the following 6 months where they heard about you.
To find out more about exhibiting at The National Wedding Show email Chantell.White@OceanMedia.co.uk, call 0207 772 8455. We can’t wait to help your new business grow!