So London Design Festival is just around the corner, you’ve picked your event, booked your stand, selected your new products to showcase and got your VM just perfect. But are you really ready to maximise the opportunities the festival has to offer?

Each year the team at The Retail Room sees brands – from start-ups to established names – invest heavily in events such as Decorex International, Focus and Design Junction, but miss one key element from the mix – influencer engagement and media outreach.

From media to interior designers, the opportunities to make new connections that will generate coverage, new partnerships and even new business leads are abundant. But with so many events to attend and influencers increasingly time-poor, you can no longer just leave it to chance that they will stumble past your stand – you need to let them know you are there.

Each year we support clients, such a Royal Crown Derby, in their busy trade show calendar. In January this year, we secured the attendance of 17 key international media titles to Royal Crown Derby’s stand at in the prestigious Scenes d’Interieur Gallery at Maison & Objet Paris, by pre-booking appointments to the stand. We also engaged influencers throughout the event with social media teasers and direct outreach to encourage attendance.

The activity secured coverage in The London Evening Standard, Homes & Property, Homes & Antiques, Tableware International and Home Art to name but a few and total reach of all media attendees was an impressive 61,700,596.

Six Trade Show Opportunities You Mustn’t Miss

It’s easy for you to harness this opportunity too, all it takes is planning, persistence and a little insider know-how. Here The Retail Room team reveals the six opportunities you mustn’t miss.

1. VIP Invitations

Make sure that the people you want to visit your stand know where you are and why they can’t miss you. Identify key interior designers or journalists from the media titles you want to see your brand in and invite them for a one-to-one appointment at your stand, providing a teaser of what you have to share with them. From a new product or collaboration to the launch of a new service, make sure it offers them a solution or is relevant to what they write about.

Many trade shows will also organise a media tour of the event, so make sure you know when this is so your team can be ready!

2. Press Packs

With over 300 events taking place throughout London Design Week, no one wants to be lugging around reams of A4 press packs. Ensure your offering is attractive, practical and representative of your brand. For the event press office, why not leave a small sample or a set of striking postcard images of your product, along with stand number and a USB containing everything your influencers will need, from images and press releases, to price books and product videos.

3. Footfall Incentives

Attract even further footfall to your stand with a strong incentive. This could be the reveal of a brand new product, an opportunity to meet your artisans and see your product created, or a prize draw to win a piece from your collection in return for leaving a business card – helping you to build up your database. You could even integrate such a mechanic with social media, to also generate buzz online.

4. Social Media

Promoting your brand’s attendance at any event on social media is key, but have you considered elevating this through interaction with the organiser’s channels and engagement with non-competitive companies? Effectively utilising event hashtags is a must, as is creating a Twitter list of attending media and influencers ahead of the event (including those that you have invited), so you can speak directly to them while they are on site. Facebook Live Broadcast, Snapchat and Instagram Stories also offer myriad opportunities to attract people to your stand, by sharing images and videos of your products, service and team.

5. Paid Promotion

As social media becomes an increasingly ‘pay to play’ arena, ensuring the visibility of your posts or events on channels such as Facebook require advertising spend. Facebook allows you to target extremely specific groups on both Facebook and Instagram through its Power Editor, from interests and job title to age and location.

6. Don’t Forget the Follow Ups!

Last, but certainly not least, is the post-show follow-up. Don’t just pop those business cards in a draw to gather dust, make good use of the contacts and don’t lose momentum. Make sending images or prices to influencers who visited your stand and requested anything you didn’t have to hand a priority. Next, enhance your email marketing – build your contacts into a database and send a note of thanks for visiting the stand with an exclusive discount code or other personalised offer, while also requesting opt-in to future marketing emails. That way you can continue to engage your new contacts in a timely fashion as new products and services arrive.

Put in a call to your media contacts to see how you can help them with up coming features and don’t forget those journalists who couldn’t make it – why not post out a USB of the press packs with a personal note, then follow up with a call to find out how you can help them going forward?

If you’re attending any of this year’s London Design Festival events and would like to discuss ways to engage and attract your key influencers, both before and after the show, why not email Kate or Nikki on Kate@theretailroom.co.uk or Nikki@theretailroom.co.uk or call 01244 320 677.

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