Make your business stand out from the crowd
A friend of mine recently posted a shout out on social media, asking whether anyone had any experience of having a stand at an exhibition and whether it was worth it. It was really interesting to see the responses. For some, it just wasn’t worth the time, money and effort. But others had stories of how it had gained them some great new business as well as exposure.
The truth is that there are many different factors that might influence your decision as to whether or not having a stall is worthwhile. How much will it cost? Are your target clients or customers going to be there? Do you have the time or capacity to man the stall for a whole day, bearing in mind that it’s a day away from your desk and your client work?
Personally I’m still wavering on some of the big events where I’d need to spend several hundred pounds on the space alone. But when I found out about the Freelance Mum National Freelancers Day event on 28 June – where stalls are just £25, or £20 for FM members – I jumped at the chance. Not only am I certain it will be loads of fun (how can in not be with Faye in charge?!) but at that price it’s the ideal opportunity to practice ‘stall craft’ and test out ideas that I may go on to use at future events.
Researching this blog post has been a fascinating experience. Because another thing I’ve realised is that the value you get out of exhibiting is as much about how much effort you put in as anything else. So here are some ways you can maximise your experience should decide to come along to Freelance Mum’s National Freelancers Day extravaganza or any other event.
What do you want to get out of the event? Do you want sign ups to your newsletter? Make sure you have a sign up sheet or a laptop where people can fill out their details. Are you hoping to make a splash on social media? Consider investing in an Instaframe (you’ve all seen the brilliant FM one!) and get everyone who visits your stall to use it and tag you in the post. By knowing in advance what you want to achieve from the day, you’ll also be better able to track how successful you’ve been rather than just guessing from how it ‘felt’.
In a room full of businesses all hoping to gain people’s attention it’s important that your brand is instantly recognisable. Whether you go for a simple roller banner or invest a decent sized budget in kitting out your stand with the whole works, it’s definitely something you need to think carefully about. If at all possible, do use a graphic designer who can help you get the professional finish – we’ve got lots of lovely people in the Freelance Mum gang who can help!
The more outside the box your thinking, the more memorable you will be. You’ll also attract more people to your stand in the first place. I went to an event where local tech company Black Star had hired an ice cream machine and were giving away pitch black ice cream! And Faye was telling me about an accountancy firm who hired a beautician to give people mini manicures while they were chatting about their business finances. It’s worth noting that both of these companies are service based, proving you don’t need to be selling beautiful products to make getting a stall worth it!
Attracting people to your stand isn’t the end of the story. You want them to remember you when they walk away too. This might be because you had a really engaging video or animation playing, or everyone manning the stall was dressed head to toe in gold (well, you would remember that wouldn’t you?!). Also be sure that you have printed marketing material they can take away, whether that’s a brochure, flyer or even just a business card (you’ll need more than you think!) – something that will jog their memory when they’re clearing out their bag later and hopefully prompt them to get in touch.
You don’t have to wait for people to contact you after an event. If you’ve planned properly and made sure to collect contact details, you can get in touch with them. The key is to ensure you have their permission so you meet GDPR requirements (Cat Ainsworth from The Dot Project did a fab talk on this at FM this month, so she’s the person to ask for more details). Following up to say thank you for visiting the stall or perhaps offering a special discount is a great way to put yourself back in their mind and hopefully develop a relationship that will lead them to buy from or work with you in the future.
If your head is buzzing with ideas now (mine certainly is!) then why not put them into practice at the Freelance Mum National Freelancers Day event on Thursday 28 June from 10am to 4pm. You never know, you might just get the exhibiting bug!
Download the booking form, to book your stall.Stall Application Freelancers Day
This fab post has been written by Rin Hamburgh.