A marketing guru friend of mine(I'll call her Jane) who has been exhibiting now for about 4 years has, through trial and error discovered that not all marketing strategies can just be simply applied to exhibitions & conferences as they would for traditional promotional purposes.

Year one - Jane ran a competition from her stand to win a basket of gourmet foods & wine. Lots of people entered and at the time she believed it had been successful. After the show however, she discovered that a very low percentage of the entrants were actually interested in her services or remembered her business. All her staff time and resources spent attending the stand and following up entrants mounted to very little.

Year two -  Jane is smart, and in her second year she asked me for advise. At the time I was over exhibitors running pointless competitions from their stands so my advise was to link the competition to her business or don't do it. Her new prize was free graphic design time. Her quality of lead and conversion to sales during follow-up after the show was so much better.

Year three+ - By collaborating Jane & I have now come up with ways to actually create sales from the competition making it, in sorts, one of her sales team. It now works for her. 

The first thing you need to consider, ... why are you running a competition from your stand?

Competitions are like everything else when it comes to exhibiting, they need to have a strategy. If it's not working for you then it's just not working.

Consider these 3 things:
What is the purpose of gaining the contacts details?
Does the competition help to promote your business or make sales?
What is the life cycle of the competition?

Creating an entry form does not make a successful promotional plan and your competition could just be creating clutter and confusion.

Tip #4:
Make your competition work for you.
Make it relevant.
Use it as a tool, a means to an end.

Competitions can be very useful and provide you with great results when used wisely.

So be wise and strategize.

Happy exhibiting

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