Exhibitions provide business owners a unique opportunity to meet, connect and build rapport with customers and prospects. They are a big investment especially for small businesses, but by investing in the short term, they reap huge benefits in the long term. To get the most of your investment it is wise to do thorough research so you can make an informed decision on the right exhibitions to choose, those that reach your targeted customers and match your unique marketing objectives.

Exhibitions are not just about building relationships, they also offer businesses a chance to get some extra income. Below are 5 ways that you can get more income from an exhibition.

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1.    Contests and promotions
Everyone loves to win something at a contest. With this in mind, special promotions or drawing a prize will get a lot of foot traffic to your booth. However, this tactic must be used wisely. The contest should be aligned with your products or brand. You could also ask those who wish to take part in the competition to fill out a contact form, a questionnaire or leave their business card behind so that you have their contact details for future business. Displaying a specific product in a competition may also encourage those who didn’t win to go and purchase it themselves.

2.    Product samples
Exhibitions are a great way to launch new products. People will attend the exhibitions looking for what is new in the market. Give the attendees an insider scoop to capture their attention. Giving away a sample of the product or service is one of the most adopted tactics in tradeshows, because it works. For new products, you can
give the prospects a sample so they get to feel the product. It is a great incentive to get long-term customers if they like the new product. News about the product will also reach others, even those who are not in attendance through word of mouth.

3.    Offer exhibition specials
In any business, there are some products that do not sell as much as others. This could be because of inadequate marketing of these products or the consumer is not informed about the product. Exhibitions create unique opportunities to enlighten the consumers about these products. You could have some show specials and have a discount on these products.

The discount will attract consumers and they will want to know more about the products. For this to work, you need post the show specials very clearly and have a pitch for these products. When the customer leaves the stand, they will have more knowledge about the products.

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4.    Collect contact information
For all the attendees in the exhibition – ask them to sign up for your email list. Those that are interested in the products and services that you offer will sign up. After the exhibition, you should send all visitors a thank you email which will make them feel appreciated. Do not forget to
add a call to action, such as visiting your website, so they can learn more about your business and your products.

5.    Incentivise social media sharing
The world is going digital and everyone is on at least one social media platform. Social media is a powerful marketing tool. You could use this to the advantage of the business. Try to encourage attendees to promote the event or the products through their own social networks. If possible, they could use pictures and say something about your products. When third parties not associated with your business give recommendations, it is a sure way to increase your marketing avenues. On your social media pages, you could engage your audience and educate them on your products.

In any exhibition, there will be a large number of businesses similar to yours with similar products. Therefore, if you wish to crush your competition, you should have a unique and appealing stand that will attract attendees. Your stand exhibition should be different and not look like an average exhibition stand. Whether it is creating a unique signage or having unique activities that will draw people in, you should brainstorm and come up with an idea that people won’t be able to resist.

By utilising some of the above methods, you should be able to maximise your ROI from attending the exhibition.