We are well into the swing of exhibition season now where most people have to spend an inordinate amount of money to obtain a small plot in what is normally an over crowded hall full of other companies with a similar product offer to your own. You could quite easily spend the duration of the show watching the mass of college students pass your stand wondering “why did I decide to do this”. We have just assisted 3 of our clients whilst they prepare for a big show in the construction industry called “Ecobuild”. You may have a bespoke stand with interactive touch screens or just a roller banner and a few flyers but either way, there are few simple things you should consider in order to make sure that your exhibition experience is an enjoyable one.
Design your stand as one piece of artwork rather than a series of panels
It is often hard to imagine what your stand will look like until you see it complete but a common mistake is try and fit as much as you can onto each panel so that your whole product offer is laid out in finite detail. When people are on your stand they do not have the time to spend reading bullet point after bullet point and whilst they are reading they could be talking to you. The best tactic is to try and have a concise message that people could digest in a few seconds and understand what your company does. Any literature on the stand can explain the details but the stand should be clear, to the point and designed as a unit rather than separate panels. you must also remember to keep all of your important messages at eye level, there is no point in having your mission statement tucked away in the bottom corner behind a plant.
Make sure you have a hook
Neon lights and an Elvis impersonator might encourage the crowds but it won’t result in any business. You need to give people a reason come on to your stand, be it a giveaway or a reduction on one of your products which is only available for the duration of the show. What you do need to achieve is to find out whether the people on your stand are within your target market and if they are make sure you get their details. A simple data capture form will ensure that you find out what you need to know from your audience, couple this with a prize or a product offer and this will encourage people to fill in your form.
Something to remember you by
A pen or a mug are the obvious ones but more often than not people at a show are walking around with a bag full of goodies, so just as your stand needs to stand out, so does your give-away. It goes without saying that it should reflect your stand in its branding to ensure that your message is continued through all mediums. You must think about what that person will do at the end of the day when they are on the train sifting through all the flyers and merchandise, what would make yours special. A unique code which encourages people to visit a specific part of your website to obtain an offer can continue their interest after the show. Make sure that if you are to encourage people to visit your website after the show that you give your offer a shelf life so that the interest is not allowed to waiver.
The work starts when the show finishes
It is very rare that you will manage to get anyone to commit to using your product or service at a show. The exhibition is there for you to build your database of contacts so that you can approach them after the show and start the process of them hopefully becoming a potential client. You should try to contact everyone on your data capture form within week following the show and ensure that your branding, styling and message mimics that of your stand and all promotional items. People need to remember who you were and what you had to offer, your follow up email or contact needs to encompass all of the elements from your exhibition stand so that people instantly recognise you as your message and styling has been clear and succinct throughout.
If you pay for an exhibition stand this year, don’t think that you can sit back and watch the sales come in. The stand is only the start. It is what you do with it before, during and after that which will be the measure of how successful exhibitions are for you.