How to prepare your rural business for an effective agricultural show exhibition.

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23rd May 2019

If you’re exhibiting at one of this year’s agricultural shows or rural events, you’ll want to make sure it’s worth your while.

Make no mistake, there are dozens of amazing shows all around the country, each with plenty to offer and plenty of potential.

But to really get the maximum benefit from every event you attend – whether you’re exhibiting or just having a wander around – you’ll need a plan.

Just turning up and hoping for the best is OK – but if you plan ahead, you’ll make sure you get the most out of the event and will hopefully leave with an armful of new business.

So, the plan for your show exhibition:

  • Get your message right first

Before you pull all your marketing collateral together, you’ll need to know exactly what you’d like to say about your business, your products and your offering.

What do you want to communicate to visitors – potential customers – at the agricultural show?

Spend some time thinking about what the audience will be like at the events you’re attending. Will it be purely farmers, or businesses from all rural walks of life? Will there be a lot of staff and employees from businesses – e.g. could you target CEOs and those with the buying decisions? – or will it mostly be the general public who you want to appeal too.

Focus on your why. Why do you do what you do? Why are you going to be at the show? Why do you think your product or service is a great thing to learn more about?

If you can tailor your message to your audience, you’re far more likely to get them interested. With the right communications – on your exhibition stand and in your hand-outs – you won’t need free gifts or flashy giveaways to attract people to your table.

The right messaging will naturally bring the right prospects over for a chat.

  • Get your brand right

With your message aimed at the audience you expect to interact with at each rural show, you can now tailor your branding, signage and marketing materials around it.

Hundreds of people are likely to be looking at your brand when you exhibit at any agricultural event. With coverage on their website and in their programme, and regular footfall past your stand, your brand will be in front of lots of people for a short period of time.

So you’ll want to make sure it makes a big impression.

If you’re thinking of a brand refresh, now is the perfect time to do it – before you start exhibiting over the summer. Agricultural shows are a great place to show-off a new, refined look. A look that supports your message and is aimed at your core demographic.

You’ll want your brand and message to be represented and supported across all your marketing material too. If you’re handing out business cards, brochures, flyers and anything else, you’ll want everything to tie together behind your core offering.

  • Know who you’d like to talk to

Before you head to an agricultural show or event, have a plan in place as to what you’d like to get from it.

Spend a little bit of time before hand looking at the other businesses that are exhibiting there. Could any of them be worth arranging a meeting with? Could there be some good strategic partnerships to make?

If you can a get a few meetings booked in with some other businesses you’d love to work with – because of the conversations had and connections made at a show – then it will have been well worthwhile.

Also have a think about the types of people you really want to chat with when they’re passing by. Do you want to try and chat to as many folk as possible, regardless of their age or job title? Or is your product better targeted at a certain audience? Would you rather your staff try and chat with farm managers or marketing managers for example?

If you’re at a show that has job titles on name badges, it’s worth paying attention to these.

  • Collect as much data as possible

If you can’t get much of an insight as to who will be at the show before you get there, then you should definitely be making sure you know who came along to your stand afterwards.

A big part of any trade show is simply making contacts and connections. You are here to expand your reach, to grow your audience, and to share your products or services with as many people as possible within your industry.

Make sure they share their details with you, so that you can pass on important, relevant information that they’re going to find useful.

Set up a bowl to collect business cards or a computer/tablet to gather email addresses. If you can, try and record why that person came over and why they’re leaving their details. This will help with segmenting after the event – one person may be interested in buying your products, whilst another may be enquiring about a future partnership.

  • Always follow up as soon as you can

One of the best ways to get the most from a show exhibition is to prepare in advance what you’ll do when it’s over.

Following up with the conversations you had and the contacts you made is essential, but it’s often something that’s overlooked in the aftermath of a big agricultural show.

The prospects you make at any event will have been talking to lots of different businesses. The fellow business people you chatted with about a meeting will likely have had similar enquires from a few other companies too. It’s easy to forget who you spoke to about what.

So make sure you follow up.

Have an email campaign ready to go out to all the people who stopped by your stand, thanking them, sharing some important product or service details, and asking if you can help.

Put the data you’ve gathered to good use, adding it to your potential customer list. You might want to use it on social media to send some targeted adverts too.

Email and then call everyone you spoke to individually. Make sure you remind them of your value, and get a meeting booked into the calendar. You really don’t want to let those contacts go to waste, and the best time to act is right after the event, when your business is still fresh in their minds.

Put these five tips into place, and you should find that your time at any agricultural show or rural event is extremely worthwhile. Of course, when time is short and you’re running around trying to get everything sorted, it can be difficult.

But that’s why we’re here to help. We can make sure you’ve got a solid plan for any event, and support you with the creation of new messaging, new marketing, updated branding and a follow-up strategy. That way you can just focus on representing your business.

If you’ve got any upcoming shows booked in, drop us a line to see how we can help.

 

 

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