Effective trade show stands are all about planning and here we’ve done the leg work for you.
So many exhibitors, so much noise, so much competition — just how can you make crowds stop at your stand? Trying to create effective trade show stands can be daunting: follow our tips and discover fail-safe tactics for attracting the right people to your stand:
- Before you sign up for any trade show, decide what you want to achieve: Are you promoting a new product? Are you reaching out to a new target audience? Use your objective to decide on the most effective trade show stands and the kind of stand you should present
- Once you have an objective in mind, research other relevant and effective trade show stands and, if possible, visit before you attend. Look at the kind of crowd that attends and decide on the best position for an effective trade show stand.
- Agree on a budget and stick to it
- Design your exhibition stand in line with your marketing objectives and budget. Remember, bigger is not always better. Be creative: Think about lighting, sound, screens, and displays. Make sure all your signage is appropriate—and that it stands out
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- If you are on a budget, design your exhibition stand so that it draws attention to your offering. Make it colourful, bold and use a good image to make a statement. You don’t want to blend in with everyone else
- Explainer videos are a brilliant way to capture people’s attention at trade shows. Simple hand drawn graphics and captions (exhibition halls can be noisy places, and it might be difficult to hear your video’s voiceover), are a brilliant way to highlight the benefits of your product or service. People will stop to look, and when the video finishes (keep it short—90 seconds is probably about right), that’s the perfect time to start a conversation
- Make sure you have plenty of marketing materials on hand—and make sure you collect prospects’ details. If you’re able to scan trade show visitors’ badges, make sure you do so
- Design a take-home item that will encourage a user to visit your website or contact you once they have left the trade show. Ask the event organisers for a list of exhibitors, so you can research the competition and match or better their promotions
- Give staff incentives to attract visitors (commission for sign-ups on the day etc) to your exhibition stand—but make sure you’re incentivising the right thing. Ten good prospects are worth more than 100 junk email addresses
- Freebies are an effective way of drawing people to your exhibition stand. Make sure they are relevant to your objective, however, and won’t just attract opportunistic attendees who will take them home (or throw them in the bin) and forget all about you. Consider items such as environmentally friendly tote bags with your logo or branded post-it notes. Whatever you use, think about visibility and durability
- Test your stand before you go to the trade show. Make sure you have everything you need to put it together on the day
- Make sure exhibition stand staff will be dressed appropriately
- Make the most of your investment by telling the world you are attending the trade show. Are you in the brochure?
- Attract visitors to your exhibition stand by including a flyer or promotional scratch card item in the ‘attendees event bag.’ Use the opportunity to get visitors to collect a prize or a free no-obligation consultation
- Tell your current clients and prospects you’re going to the trade show and give them a reason to visit your exhibition stand (e.g. competitions, discounts, or other offers available at the event)
- Promote your attendance at the trade show on social media and your blog
At the Exhibition
- Make sure you take the right people with you. They need to make eye contact with your prospects, and smile! Your stand should never be the one where all the staff are standing, heads down, looking at their phones. They might be replying to the most important emails they’ve ever had, but to someone walking past, it looks as if they’re texting friends to tell them how bored they are
- Provide seating to encourage visitors to stay longer at your exhibition stand.Offer refreshments. This is hospitality, so be hospitable
- Provide access to electrical outlets and an Internet connection
- Rehearse your pitch, and get to the point quickly. Be clear and concise in telling people why you are at the trade show, and why it matters to them. Be quick to qualify people at your exhibition stand. You’re there to attract prospects, so watch out for people trying to sell to you! You’ve paid a lot of money to be at the trade show so make the most of every conversation. If it turns out that a visitor is trying to sell you something, ask them to contact you after the exhibition
- Run workshops and seminars to engage visitors with useful information
- Be memorable. Look at what other effective trade show stands are doing and be different. And better
- Remember, this is just the start of the sales process for most visitors, so don’t put people off with the hard sell
- Use the opportunity to book consultations with your team
- Use incentives such as event-only discounts to record contact details
- Display a live Twitter feed and encourage trade show visitors to follow you
- Engage visitors and take the pressure off your on-site team by using your #hashtag to ask questions of your off-site team
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- Effective trade show stands do not finish when you pack up and go home. Always follow up on leads—and do so quickly. You worked hard to get them, so don’t waste this opportunity. You need to strike while your prospect remembers you. If your prospect isn’t ready to buy now but might be in the future, make sure you keep in touch. When your lead is finally ready to consider your product or service, you need to be sure it’s you they think of
- Evaluate whether the trade show was a success. What went well? What could have been better? What did you forget to take with you that could have made life easier? Make notes now, while it’s fresh on your mind
We understand planning your exhibition stand can be over whelming, if you’d like any help or advice get in touch with us here. We can take care of all your marketing needs from design to finished product, whether it’s scratch cards, brochures or display stands. Alternatively follow our newsletter on the right of the page for the latest Proactive Marketing insights.