Whether this is your first exhibition or you have exhibited many times before, you obviously want to maximise on the potential of your investment and get the best out of it but how? How can you get the maximise the success of your exhibition stand and ensure that it stands out among the many other exhibitors who are all trying to achieve the same?
Make sure that you choose the right exhibition
If you are considering an exhibition then it is wise to carry out a little research first. If it is an exhibition that you have attended before and you know that it is busy, accessible and well laid out then you already have a good head start.
- How many visitors attended previously
- The type of audience that it attracts
- How the organisers plan to market it
- Any event sponsors
- Information about who else is exhibiting there
Choose the right space
Stands are usually sold by the size of the area that you are going to take. If you need a lot of space for your products then be sure to purchase the right amount of space. You don’t want to be squashed into a corner if you are exhibiting hot tubs for example. Equally if you don’t have much exhibition material you don’t want too much space or it will look empty. Talk to the organisers about where you will be positioned and how that works in relation to the floor plan. Ask for a copy of the floor plan so that you can share it on your marketing collateral and share details of your stand number or location.
Use your social media to promote your presence at the event. The beauty of platforms like Facebook is that not only can you share a post on your page, you can also sponsor it and target people within a 5-mile radius of the event that are likely to be interested in your products.
If you time it right, you can place your ads to be shown in your target market’s audiences just before and during the event. Promote it across all of the social media platforms and even include a blog on your website before the event. If you use local media then use it to advertise your stand.
Also, be sure to question the organisers about what marketing you will be included in and ensure that they have your logos and details to include in their event material. Take advantage of any advertising space in programmes or links to your website from theirs.
Also don’t forget to let your existing customers and prospects know that you are exhibiting by doing a marketing email as they not be aware of one of the products or services that you offer. As we all know it is always easier to sell to somebody that you already work with. You could make an incentive for them to visit your stand by offering something like free shipping for the rest of the year.
Make your stand aesthetically pleasing
It is important that your stand ‘stands out’. Carefully consider the merchandise that you will use to promote your space. Perhaps a roll up banner or other marketing material to go around your stand. Ask yourself if your company colours and logo are enough to make your material stand out or whether you need to consider mixing it up to make sure you stand out among the other exhibitors. Don’t be too text heavy on your messages. Keep it simple with your logo, slogan and website.
Everyone likes a freebie so it is worth investing in some promotional merchandise to give away to people who come to your stand. Perhaps you could use goodie bags – they are very useful as people can pop other things into them. What will you put in the bags?
Think about giving away useful things. Pens, USB sticks and mugs are always good old favourites but there are also things that are a bit different. You want these products to be useful so that your name and branding are in people’s minds every time they use the products.
Also from a merchandise point of view if you want to make your customers feel special or have an extremely good prospect then why not buy some premium business gifts to keep under your exhibition stand.
Talk to people
It’s all very well having a fabulous stand that looks great but the key to exhibitions is engaging potential customers. You need to talk to people. Don’t sit behind a desk – get out in front of your stand and greet people as they come by. Invite them to come and take a look at what you do. If they are stood looking at your products or collateral then ask them if they are looking for something in particular. Engagement is the key here. Talk to everyone – you never know what it could lead to. If you are going to employ people to work on your stand make sure they are confident and feel good about chatting to people.
If someone that comes to your stand is interested in your products but not in the right place to buy right now, you never know when they are going to be. If they don’t have a use for your product or service they might know someone who is. Perhaps they are purchasing but you want to keep them updated about future news. Collect data from everyone. Their name, their postcode, their telephone number or email address are all useful pieces of data that you can use to market to in the future. Be very careful to get their express permission though as the laws of GDPR dictate that you need to.
Look at the bigger picture
When people visit exhibitions, it is not always with the intention to purchase on the day. Usually it is to research things and discover if you have what they want. If you don’t sell anything on the day then don’t feel that you have wasted your investment. Even if it produces leads six months to a year down the line, it is still worth doing.
You have to consider the bigger picture and the amount of brand awareness the right exhibition will bring. Choosing the right event and ensuring that you maximise your presence will help to make sure that the investment that you make is a solid one. It is important to set objectives for what you want to achieve at the exhibition whether that be brand awareness, making new connections or potential sales but make sure that these goals are realistic. Once you have a plan, you can execute it and then take your experience and knowledge through to future exhibitions.