Choose an event that is relevant to your industry or target clients. Coming up soon in London is one of the biggest expos of all, The Business Show at Excel on 17th and 18th May. There are smaller shows too such as YBC Women Doing Business at RBS London on 9th June (which despite the name is open to both men and women).
So without further ado, here are my 7 Reasons You’d be Insane Not to Visit a Business Expo:
- Free Entry: Every business show or expo I’ve ever been to has been free to get in. You usually just need to register for a place before you go and Bob’s your uncle. Often you’ll receive a free guide or booklet about the expo when you register. Make sure you read this from cover to cover before you go so that you know who is exhibiting and where they’ll be. This is particularly useful for very large shows such as The Business Show .
- Networking: Expos are fab places to network – for free! Often there will be specific networking events before or during the show – check out the show’s website or contact the organisers before you go to find out. And even if there are no specific events you can simply network with the exhibitors and other people that you meet. Make sure you take plenty of business cards with you to hand out.
- Check Out the Competition: At business shows you will come across exhibitors who are in the same line of business as you. Your gut instinct may be to stay away from them – but in fact you should do the opposite. Get to know them and their business and use it as an opportunity to gain some useful tips and find out what others in your industry are doing. Failure to research your competitors is a big mistake when running a business. For Virtual Assistants, another reason to check out the competition is that you may get some business out of it. When your competitor has too much work on you might be able to help them!
- Research Your Target Market: Who is your ideal client? Ask yourself this question before deciding which expos you’ll visit and then plan which stalls you’ll be checking out first. However you shouldn’t visit stalls simply in order to try and sell to exhibitors. After all, they’ve paid for their space and THEY want to sell to YOU! This is about chatting to them, finding out their businesses and what their pain points are. You can use this to help build up a picture of your ideal client and why they might need your help which is an important and useful marketing tool. Make sure you take a notebook or use the note taking facility on your phone so that you can jot down everything that was said. This info is like gold dust! Take their contact details too and keep in touch because they may become a client in the future. Remember, it’s all about sowing seeds.
- Special Offers: As part of their sales strategy, exhibitors often have special offers and discounts available to expo attendees. Make sure you check out all the offers that are available and keep hold of promotional material or vouchers. Watch out for competitions too, where you can win anything from a bottle of bubbly to an iPad or even a car!
- Seminars, Talks and Workshops: Inspirational talks by entrepreneurs, How-to workshops, Masterclasses – there will invariably be at least two or three of these at every expo you visit and they are often free too. For example at this year’s Business Show in London you’ll find a free Instagram Marketing Masterclass, and at YBC Women Doing Business Lauren Pope, TOWIE Star and CEO of Hair Rehab London, is amongst the speakers.
- Social Media Content: Expos are a brilliant resource for social media content. Milk them for everything that you can! Take pictures of yourself with exhibitors you meet, then connect with them on LinkedIn and tag them in your post. Do a blog post about your visit, include links to the websites or LinkedIn profiles of people you meet and then tag them when you post your blog. The more people you can include, the more chance of your posts being shared. Don’t stop taking photos because you never know how or why or when you might be able to use them. You could even think about doing a video or interviewing someone. The potential is virtually endless.
I’ll be exhibiting at the YBC Women Doing Business Expo in London on 9th June which despite the name is open to both men and women visitors. Why not come along, say hello and do a bit of free networking?