See and be Seen: Top 5 Guidelines for Successful Exhibiting

The PublBox team analyzed its participation in the largest European events and shared its best practices for how to succeed in appearing in public

In less than a year, our company managed to register in a number of top conferences and forums in Portugal, Poland, Russia and Ukraine, including Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon, Wolves Summit 2017 in Warsaw, RIF+KIB 2017 in Moscow, SPIC 2017 in St. Petersburg and iForum 2017 in Kyiv. The PublBox team took part, gathering over 100,000 visitors interested in IT and high technologies, which surely includes the Internet and social media.

We tried different participation formats, i.e. partnership, reports, podium presentations, and drawings, either focusing on one of them, or combining several options. Later on, we summarized the results, allowing us to actually offer our readers some tips that will improve the efficiency of a company’s participation in exhibitions and conferences.

Tip 1. Define goals

Trivial as it may sound, it is important to understand why you are participating in an exhibition. Just pick the main reasons why the exhibition is important to you:

  • to break through by presenting an innovation;
  • to present your brand;
  • to show yourself off to actual or potential investors and partners;
  • to come to know your target audience better and get feedback on products or services;
  • to attract new customers and stimulate sales;
  • to understand main objections;
  • etc.

Thus, at Web Summit 2016, it was crucial for us to break into the market after presenting a beta version of our service. And we did it, because the very same organizers invited PublBox to the coming major international forum in Warsaw, Wolves Summit 2017, choosing us among the top 300 startups that participated in the forum for free. The same happened in Portugal, where we received feedback from visitors, and rapidly used it to improve our service.

Tip 2. Get prepared in advance

Preparing your stand, staff and handouts in the best way requires time. To judge by our experience, the preparation for any major event should start 3 months before it, or even earlier.

Be sure to stock up with enough printed advertising (booklets, business cards) and “souvenirs.” Pens, mugs, mouse pads, and mobile and flash drive cases with your logo will be helpful.

Tip 3. Make full use of opportunities

Just offer the event organizers an interesting presentation with a massive amount of useful information for the target audience, real cases and live life hacks, and it will be easy to become a welcome speaker at any conference.

At RIF+KIB 2017 in Moscow, the report “Automation Services for SMM processes” by the CEO of PublBox, Alexandr Stefanovich, presented within the panel “Marketing on a Tight Budget,” resulted in several dozens of useful contacts.

If you want attendees to appreciate the quality of your presentation, remember the golden rule: people do not want and will not listen to direct advertising of any service or product “straight forward,” but they anticipate getting really interesting and useful content from you that will assist them in addressing a problem or earning money. Even helpful information should be sugar-coated, so do not spare time on preparing your speech.

If you do advertise your service or product, then do it gently, reasonably and smartly. That way, you really have something to boast about.

Tip 4. Pay special attention to working at your stand

It’s no secret that we size up a person we are meeting for the first time during the first 5 seconds, while correcting the first negative impression requires at least half an hour. That is why it is essential to win a visitor’s loyalty from the very first seconds of contacting him.

People working at the company’s stand should create a warm atmosphere, actively establishing contacts while being able to explain product advantages to a customer. Treating a stand visitor unceremoniously or ignoring guests is unacceptable. The stand attendant should be well-versed in the product and should be good at making a short presentation to highlight the key value of the product.

Here is how our employee presented PublBox at the company’s stand in Warsaw:

A few more tips:

  • It is extremely helpful to draw up a FAQ, a list of frequently asked questions and correct answers.
  • During a talk, it is important to control the conversation by being at the forefront of it. You need to ask questions and find out the needs and wishes of a visitor, smoothly bringing him to the desired result (making a purchase, filling in an inquiry form, etc.). Equally essential is the ability to politely end the conversation if you realize that this is your competitor or a person who just wants to chat.
  • Do not get hung up on the number of people that come up to you. Let them be few, but your target audience. Still, 350 people ready to buy have a better effect than 4000 onlookers do. Moreover, after identifying your target audience, you can make a presentation and sell more effectively.

Tip 5. Keep on your active work after the exhibition is over

You will never succeed if you think you can safely rest on your laurels after the exhibition, waiting for your phones to be jammed by those eager to sign a contract with you.

Got some contacts? Write or call these people. Think up a tempting offer for their purchase. If you do not process contacts within 2-3 days, just consider them lost, and all the work gone to waste.