Guide for Participating In International Trade Fairs
In an increasingly globalised world, international exhibitions are a wonderful opportunity to promote your business on the international arena. They provide exposure, build credibility, facilitate exports and open international partnering possibilities.
However, participating in an overseas trade show is a complicated and expensive proposition. You have to allocate requisite funds, time and energy – to maximise return on investment.
There are 4 broad steps to ensuring a successful presence at an international exhibition:
Find the Right Exhibition
There are scores of trade fairs being held in different countries. Europe is a prominant hub with Germany being the site of the maximum industry expos. Keeping in mind your business, objectives and budget, it is important to research different trade fairs.
Download a list of the top 10 trade shows in Europe. Check out the profile of participants and visitors. Does it match the profile of your target group? Is the time right? Does the price fit your budget? Is there a less expensive option available? Once you decide on the trade fair, try and get the best location for your exhibition stand. If you are a first-time participant or have limited budget, check if you can participate as part of a trade association or other group.
Plan & Prepare
Once you select the international trade show and book your space, there is a huge amount of planning and preparation to be done. Some points to cover include:
- acquire travel documents for yourself and the team accompanying you
- Print plenty of business cards (include international phone numbers)
- get vaccinations, if required
- Book accommodation well in advance to get the cheapest rates. If staff is travelling with you, short-term apartment rentals can be cheaper than hotels
- buy air tickets early to avoid long commutes and inflated rates last minute
- source vendors and finalise shipping arrangements for display items, sales materials, products, etc.
- Purchase insurance – for your team and any equipment you plan to carry
- make arrangements for foreign exchange
- organize the right clothing for the foreign country and the season
- research the cultural norms of the country you will be visiting so you make a god impression
- Study the exhibitors’ manual and note deadlines for catalogue entry, renting furniture, ordering electricity, etc.
- Plan and request appointments with any prospective clients, partners, etc, you may wish to meet while you’re there.
Engage a Professional Agency
If your budget permits, appoint a professional trade fair booth design company to handle your trade show stand. Look for a company who has experience of international trade shows, and work closely with their team for a booth design that builds your brand and delivers your objective.
A custom exhibition stand design will help you stand out and attract attention. Engage a design agency who will keep the requirements of the exhibitors’ manual in mind, and handle the entire project from concept to commissioning. The exhibition stand design & build agency should also help you with:
- Brand building panels and displays
- Fabrication and on-time installation through local vendors
- Creative, branded gifts to distribute to visitors
- Sales material translated in the local language, if necessary
- Digital marketing of your event
Communicate/Publicise the Event
It is critical to inform your existing and potential customers about your participation in an international trade fair. Start promoting the event on your website, send out emailers, shoot invitations, flash it in your advertising. But don’t publicise the show too early as people are likely to forget your message.
Participating in an exhibition overseas is an effective way of personally presenting your business/products, exploring marketing opportunities, studying the competition, interacting with potential distributors, staying abreast with industry developments, and networking. So make the most of this opportunity and ensure success for your investment.