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There’s a growing trend in the business world as more and more companies shift to the digital marketing side of things. People are solely focused on improving SEO and making sure their websites are up to scratch. Everyone only cares about social media and marketing their business to an online audience.

In many ways,  this makes a lot of sense. Loads of people are online, and you’re certainly missing out by neglecting digital marketing techniques. However, I find that in doing this, many small businesses are forgetting about traditional marketing ideas that are still highly effective. One of those ideas is attending an exhibition. Years ago, companies would try their best to attend every exhibition they could possibly find. Nowadays, fewer small businesses are doing this as they don’t think it’s worth their time, money, or effort.

Unfortunately, you could miss out on a lot by not going to exhibitions. Furthermore, to prove this point, here are some reasons your business should attend exhibitions, and what you can gain from them.

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Establish A Brand Image

Going to an exhibition and setting up a stand is a really good way of establishing an image for your brand. You’re out there in the open with a few employees, meaning you dictate how your business is perceived by the public. It’s a chance to get your logo out there for all to see and to sell your business along with certain brand values. People will walk away from the exhibition with a very specific feeling about your business. They’ll associate certain values with it, meaning they might think of you positively. This helps you establish a good reputation amongst consumers.

Generate More Leads

Exhibitions may be traditional, but they’re still one of the best ways to generate leads. Especially if you partner with an exhibit company to design the perfect booth for your business. You can create something that attracts lots of attention and draws a huge crowd. Here, you’ve literally got lots of consumers in the palm of your hand. It’s so easy to get some contact details out of them, and maybe add them to a mailing list. Businesses that attend trade shows and exhibitions will rarely leave without any new leads.

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Make Some Sales

Following on from the point about leads, an exhibition is also an opportunity to make some sales. Again, you can reel people in with your cool exhibition stand/booth, which gives you a perfect chance to sell your products/services. You can literally sell things right there and then, or, get people to sign up for pre-orders of products that aren’t already released. You could easily find some customers at an exhibition that you’d otherwise miss out on if you didn’t attend it.

Network With Other Businesses

As well as helping you find new leads and customers, exhibitions are great for improving your working relationships. Think about it, you’ll be in a massive area surrounded by loads of other businesses. If you attend an exhibition that’s targeted at local companies in your area, you might find loads of small businesses to establish relationships with. Take to the floor and walk around, see if any companies catch your eye. Who knows, this could be the start of a successful professional relationship. It’s a huge opportunity to network with other businesses and walks away with a handful of helpful contacts.

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Do Some Rival Research

After reading the point about networking, you might be thinking; what if I’m at an industry-specific exhibition? If you’re at an exhibition that’s designed to get similar companies from the same industry together, then you can’t do much networking as everyone is a rival. Instead, you can look at this as the perfect chance to do some research. Send out a few undercover employees to have a sniff around the other stands. They can have a look at what other businesses are doing in this industry to get ahead. You may be able to pick up some really important points that help you outthink your rivals and get ahead of them.

Gain Press Coverage

Now, it’s impossible to guess who will be at every exhibition. There could be loads of consumers showing up, or there might not be many. But, what you can guarantee is a press presence of some kind. For big events, it could be the national press. For smaller events, it might be the local press. Either way, attending exhibitions is a great way to gain some positive press coverage. Get your name in the newspaper or online articles; it provides you with free advertising! Even if people don’t attend the event, they might read about you in a news report or see you on the news. This is why it’s all the more important you have an eye-catching stand, as it will draw more media attention to you. Journalists are looking for the coolest exhibition stands to make the best pictures or stories – make sure they notice you!

Hand Out Merchandise

Last but not least, an exhibition gives you the chance to hand out some branded merchandise. Why on earth would you do this? Because it puts your brand in the hands of consumers and can gain you free exposure. Think about it, if you give someone a branded mug or coaster, they might use it every day at work. This means people will see their mug, see your brand, and might do some research. One of the best pieces of merch you can give out is a shopping bag. People are so keen to carry their own bags, and this is how you get your brand seen by thousands of people every day. Anyone with your bag will walk around town, get on public transport, and advertise your business for nothing at all.

Evidently, there are a lot of good reasons to attend exhibitions. They still hold a massive purpose in this day and age. Of course, you should still use online marketing too. In fact, things like social media and your website can help you advertise the exhibition and get more people attending it. The more people that turn up, the more you can gain from the event!