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5 Tips for Choosing the Right Business Events to Exhibit at in 2020

3rd Jan 2020

As 2019 draws to a close, its highly likely that your business will be focusing on the New Year, particularly how you will promote yourself in 2020. And, a big part of this will be planning which events you are going to attend over the next 12 months.

With over 1.3 million business events held every year in the UK (Eventbrite), there's certainly a lot of choice for your company. However, with so many possibilities, it can also be a bit of a challenge to narrow down the best options.

To help you out, we've put together five top tips for choosing the right business events to exhibit at in 2020. Hopefully, they will help you to make the right decision.

Decide on your goals

Before you start your search, it's often worth sitting down and deciding on what you want to get out of any events you'll be attending in the year ahead. With a clear set of objectives in mind, you can start the search process knowing exactly what you need from potential events, which should make the narrowing down stage much easier.

Firstly, it's a good idea to think about who your target audience is, as this will help you to identify the type of events you should be attending. Do you need an exclusively B2C or B2B audience? Then it's probably worth choosing an event that is focused on one or the other. Your audience may also affect where you choose to exhibit, as those you wish to target may be more likely to attend in certain areas or countries.

There are also other things to consider. For example, do you want to use the opportunity to increase brand awareness and gain more leads? Then you could be better off focusing on events that have high footfall of those within your target audience to boost your chances of winning business. You could also look at events your competitors have been successful at to gauge if there is interest in your sector — just take care to offer something different or extra that makes you stand out.

On the other hand, if you want to launch a new product, it may be more suitable to find an event where you can exhibit to buyers for retail, as well as industry press to help get the word out there. You may also wish to plan to attend both B2B and B2C shows, depending on what your target is.

Review previous years' exhibiting wins and losses

If you've exhibited at a few events in the past, have a think back: were they a great success or was there a feeling that you could have gotten more out of the opportunity?

It's worth taking stock of what went wrong and what went right at past events as you can then apply what you've learned to the upcoming year. For instance, did you attend a huge industry show and struggle to attract attendees from some of the bigger brands? Then it may be time to consider going to a smaller scale but more niche expo to maximise your gains.

Look beyond the event's marketing materials

If you're considering going to a particular event for the first time, it's worth getting a true picture of its reputation by looking beyond their marketing. Remember that these materials are designed to get you through the door, so the positive aspects are always going to be stressed. For example, its not uncommon for attendance figures to be "massaged" to look as impressive as possible.

One way you can get a real idea of what an event can offer is to speak to other exhibitors who've attended in the past, as they might be able to offer valuable insight. You can also look for online reviews or even check out any attached hashtags to see what has been said on social media.

If you can, take a look at who is due to exhibit this year to see if you will have any competition. It can also be worth viewing the previous years' exhibitor list to check whether your competitors have had a presence. If so, it can be a good indicator that this event is worth going to and that your target audience will be present.

It's not always possible, but you can get a preview of the audience that will be attending by seeking out the attendee list, which is sometimes available. Alternatively, you can often check the event's page on social media to see who has confirmed or commented that they will be coming along.

Consider where the event will be hosted

While the quality of the event and quantity of attendees is important, so is the venue itself. You'll need to ensure that you will have enough room to set up your exhibit as you like it, that you've got a prominent position that will attract footfall, and that the venue has any essential services you might need during the day.

It's usually worth finding out about the environment you will be exhibiting in, so you then adapt your stand to your needs. For example, if space is limited, a lot of exposure can be achieved by fully printing a gazebo with information, photos and other relevant information — a lot of details can even be printed on the inside walls of a gazebo, saving valuable room.

However, if your venue has plentiful space, other accessories such as roller banners, A-frame signs, banners and backdrops, and promotional counters can be incorporated to maximise promotion, provide extra detail, and create a cohesive look. It's usually a good idea to use these outlets to display marketing material that is temporary and will not apply to all shows scheduled for that year as they are cheaper to produce as one-offs for the event than larger items, like printed gazebos.

Before you place an order for any new promotional items, be sure to contact the event to find out any essential details or hashtags that need to be included.

Think about whether the event offers extra value

Once you've considered all the essential practicalities of choosing the ideal business event to attend, take a moment to look at what your shortlist can offer you beyond the basics.

This extra value will depend on what you want out of the day. For instance, if you want the chance to network with like-minded companies, you may wish to look at the exhibitor list for last year or the current year (if it's available). You could also be looking to learn something from influencers in your industry, so looking at the schedule for speakers may be of interest. Whatever you want to benefit from, spending some time looking at what an event has on offer can prove to be extremely valuable.

We hope the advice in this blog post will help you choose high quality, beneficial events to exhibit at in 2020. With some forward planning, we're sure you will have great success.

Need advice on creating the perfect printed gazebo or promotional accessory? Be sure to get in touch. Keep an eye on this blog for further event and branding ideas, too!