During my nearly six years in business I have only exhibited a handful of times. The exhibitions I did try were generally badly attended and didn’t lead to much new business. As a result I’ve been highly sceptical of the benefit. However, I do see the benefit (and I enjoy :-)) standing in front of a group of people and talking about social media (it is what I do all the time).
Last October, I noticed a call for speakers for the Berkshire Means Business event and immediately volunteered to speak. Of course I needed to purchase an exhibition stand and thought that I would take the risk. The stand wasn’t outrageously priced and I thought it would be worth getting the opportunity to present.
So, I attended Berkshire Means Business yesterday. I have to say it was really well organised and well attended. The stands were comprised of a 3 sides of a box (if that makes sense) so leaflets, brochures etc. could be stuck to the sides and each stand had a defined area. Lunch was provided along with tea/coffee vouchers and the lunch was a ‘proper lunch’ – sandwich, crisps, fruit, chocolate and drink! Thanks to Gemma and her team at BMG Events for fantastic organisation.
My 30 minute presentation was in a fantastic space overlooking Reading football pitch with a good sized screen and lapel mic. My presentation was well attended and I got good feedback both face to face and through Twitter. You can see my slides here.
During the day, I sold some of my ‘Social Media Made Simple‘ books and made a significant number of contacts (attendees and exhibitors) which I will follow up over the course of the next few days.
So has it been worth it? My gut feel says that it will be. Taking into account the cost of the time to attend as well as the cost to exhibit, we will need to get a few new clients to see a return, so only time will tell, but as a brand awareness exercise it was very successful.
What is your experience of exhibiting? Please share.