With 2019 fast approaching – or maybe even already here by the time you’re reading this – it’s never too soon to be making plans for the year ahead.
However, if you have left things a little bit late, don’t despair – there’s still plenty you can do to get moving as quickly as possible.
Set your goals
The most important thing you can do when it comes to marketing is to have a specific goal in mind. Even if that goal is as simple as straightforward name recognition, getting in front of as many eyeballs as possible, it’s better than nothing. It helps you narrow down the scope of your marketing plans, and focus on the activities that will best help you meet those goals.
More specific goals could involve a certain amount of new leads or a specific revenue target. More specific still, a certain percentage of revenue coming from new business is a common goal for companies looking to grow.
Whatever your goals, it is useful to use the tried and true SMART method, ensuring they are:
- Specific, rather than vague
- Measurable, so if you want to generate leads, you should know by how much
- Agreed upon at all levels of your business
- Realistic in terms of what you can achieve, and what you can deliver upon
- Time-based, with monthly or annual targets, rather than indefinite deadlines.
Develop a strategy
Once you know what your goals are, set out how you will meet them. Who is responsible for delivering the goal, or for making sure certain things are happening at the right time?
When will certain things happen? It’s best not to juggle too many marketing efforts at once, particularly in a small team, as resources can get spread thin.
Are you outsourcing? Plan ahead of time who you’ll be working with, and reach out sooner rather than later.
Your strategy should be there to guide you, not constrain you – review it regularly to change things that aren’t working. It’s not a bad thing to admit you need to make improvements!
Go to where your customers are – trade shows and exhibitions
Don’t wait for potential customers or clients come to you – go to them. Trade shows, conferences and exhibitions are a powerful marketing tool, and a great way to get your brand in front of the right audience.
They’re an ideal tool not just for name recognition, but for lead generation too – there’s plenty of opportunity to have in-person conversations that you may otherwise be unable to have.
There are plenty of resources for finding trade shows in the UK, and even around the world, but our advice would be to start small if this is your first time exhibiting.
Pick a UK event rather than setting your sights overseas, and consider purchasing a smaller modular stand – or even renting an exhibition stand – to help you get a feel for how these events work without the costs ramping up.
Have I left it too late?
While it’s true that it’s best to start planning these exhibitions months, or even a full year, in advance, it is possible to find a last-minute space and secure a last-minute exhibition stand. This is particularly true if you’re renting or using a modular stand as mentioned above, rather than having a number of bespoke pieces built from scratch.
At Oaks, we’re no strangers to a last-minute emergency – we have regularly helped businesses put together a stunning stand at little more than a moment’s notice, so if you’re planning on exhibiting in Q1 or Q2 this year, we’d definitely say it’s not too late to get started – just get in touch! Give us a call to chat through what you need, and we’ll be happy to help.
Need some inspiration?
Take a look at our gallery of exhibition stand designs – there’s plenty of examples of stands we’ve built over the past few years, including both bespoke and modular designs. Some are incredibly simple, yet effective, perfect for first time exhibitors.