As the emails from Bett and the Education Show start to fill your inbox, it's easy to feel the pressure. Combine this with your rival company shouting all about how excited they are on social media and you're about one click away from booking a stand...
WAIT! Take a deep breath and think to yourself... Are Education Shows Worth My Time?
Do I have time to prepare?
You can't rush perfection, and perfection is what you need. This goes beyond booking the hotel and the flights and making sure your staff have a place to sleep. It's about coming up with a marketing strategy. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of going to an education show, but every education company under the sun goes to these events and it's up to you to make sure your business stands out.
You could run a promotion for people at the show, or give people an incentive to come and see you (this year, Fiction Express offered free coffee and doughnuts to anybody who came to say hi). Be clever, but most importantly be original. These shows are expensive and if you don't capitalise on the opportunity you're going to be facing losses - it's more common than you'd think.
What do I want out of it?
This comes back to the planning... You've paid the fee and got your staff sorted, excellent! But then what? What do you want to walk away from after three days of constantly repeating the phrase, "Have you heard of [insert product name]?"?
Set yourself a target and share it with your staff. It could be that you want 100 free trial sign-ups, or 10 promising leads, or even partnerships with re-sellers. Whatever your preference, it's important to set a target when you go to an education show and walk away knowing it was worth it.
Will I enjoy it?
This is an often overlooked part of education shows, but it's so important! You can treat it as a team-building exercise and use the three days of looking silly while you all wear the same t-shirt as a bonding experience.
Organise a group outing in one of the evenings or try and make your stand a booming success with a team of smiling salespeople. Looking approachable helps so much in these environments.
Can I afford it?
Maybe this one needs to go at the top of the list. The education technology sector is exciting and forward-thinking, but it's also extremely competitive and for a lot of smaller businesses, the expenses of a big business trip need to be worth it.
The best advice is to make a list of all of the expenses and figure out how many sales you'd need to meet this number. There are other factors, of course, such as raising brand awareness, meeting collaborators and putting a face on the company. You have to ask yourself if the juice is worth the squeeze...
Is there another way?
Education shows can be worth it, but it's not a guarantee by any means. If you want to save some money and do your research, you can have a fruitful experience without trekking to a different city and handing out flyers for a few days. Look into your local community and see if there are any public meetups, do a deep-dive on Twitter and arrange a one-to-one meeting with a possible client.
Education shows are a great way to boost your business but there's no guarantee you'll walk out of the exhibition space a winner. However, if you follow these steps you'll be able to make sure an education show is worth it!
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