Estimated reading time: 6 mins
When exhibition season hits, it’s all hands on deck. Taking your business on the road, while completely worth the logistical challenges, still requires a lot of staffing and a lot of planning to get right. From the right people on the stand, to the right media boards and marketing materials, there’s a lot to get right.
In this blog we take a look at ten things you need to get spot on if you want to make your exhibition season a success.
1 Stand Out
And this means choosing a great location. While it’s tempting to book the cheapest option for your standard, experience should tell you this is going to cost you when it comes to footfall.
You might have the greatest looking stand there but if you’re tucked away in a corner, no one’s going to see you and that’s a problem. Don’t scrimp on location and negotiate hard with organisers if you don’t see a free plot in the area you like.
2 Get it Right, First Time
You literally have seconds to make your stand pop in the eye of the consumer. Any flaw, any misspellings or tatty boards and you’ve lost them. It’s that quick.
If you work in a creative industry, it’s even more vital to get this right. You want to showcase your very best work to your potential customer and that means you need to make your display perfect, see more here. Sloppiness is out and that applies to your staff too. Let your customers know what they’re getting when they talk to you: the best.
There’s a tradition in Singaporean society to always join the longest queue when it comes to choosing your food stand. And guess what? It works outside food culture too. When you see a crowd of people waiting patiently around a stand, your FOMO instinct kicks in and you know that you’re going to find yourself over in that crowd figuring out what you’re waiting for.
The way to attract this crowd is through great engagement. This means your stand needs to offer something that makes a small wait worthwhile. What could this be? Interactive technology? Great merchandise giveaways? A competition? The only things that limit your offer are your budget and your imagination. Everything else is on the table to so go for it and find something unique and attractive. Use your knowledge about your potential customer’s likes and dislikes as a starting point.
The booth is the culmination of weeks of hard work and most of that is carried out behind the scenes many weeks, if not months, in advance. While your marketing team is getting the booth just right, your job will be to make contact with some of the attendees you know you’re going to see on the day. Have them arrange to meet at your stand and make sure you’re ready for them.
For attendees you’ve made pre-arrangements with, make sure to lay on the corporate hospitality. Have great giveaways and some refreshments available for them and have your strategic goals firmly at the front of your exhibition staff members’ minds. Whether that’s securing an order, signing them up to your email marketing or simply raising your brand awareness, get it done on the day with some planned meetings.
5 Get Your Best People
Far too many trade stand visitors are put off talking to exhibitors when they see bored looking staff or, just as bad, staff chatting between themselves and ignoring those around them. While it may seem simple to staff an exhibition stand, it requires a lot of grit to remain on your game, all day. Your staff are your brand ambassadors and need to bring their A-game to the stand.
Teaming up experienced staff with less experienced staff is a good way to keep both on their toes. Training up the next generation of exhibition staff and refreshing tried and trusted techniques will bring some energy to the team and have everyone working to the best of their abilities.
6 Team Up
Not with the competition, that simply will not work but if you share a customer demographic with a non-rival then consider trading contacts acquired during the show to widen your follow-up database. Be careful, however, not to fall foul of data sharing legislation.
Let’s face it, there’ll be a significant number of visitors who’ll be there for the giveaways. Far from making this the last thing on your list, supplying new and innovative giveaways is a great way to bring visitors to your stand.
While you’re going to want to give some of your more expensive merchandise for those pre-planned meetings, your general merchandise can be fun, useful and unusual.
Yes, you might still love keyrings, glow in the dark bracelets and stickers but why not splash out some quick charging phone packs, Bluetooth earphones and so on.
If your customers tend to favour certain sports or pastimes, consider golfing clothes, bicycle repair kits and whatever else catches your eye.
8 Have a Clear Reason
Your stand isn’t just about brand building it’s about something more and that something more needs to be spelt out clearly. Your team needs to have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals for the days they spend on the exhibition stand. That might be collecting personal data from 150 customers. It might be signing 300 customers up for a newsletter or it might be making 75 physical sales. Whatever the case, everyone needs to be on board and working to achieve the same goals to make the whole thing worthwhile.
Your staff might be at the stand but that doesn’t mean marketing doesn’t continue apace. Make sure to have your social media lives up and running throughout the event. Leverage your stand to create content across all your social media platforms. Have your social media specialist on site to create and send out content, interview customers and team members and promote your work in action.
10 Don’t Be Scared to Stand Out
Especially if you’re working one of the smaller stands. You might be worried about the amount of space you have and making that work but that’s when you’ll need to think out of the box. Think colourful and eye-catching, consider getting great tech that really draws a crowd.
You might be stuck with a small stand but that doesn’t mean your ideas have to match. Find creative ways to get yourself talked about and don’t be afraid to be the odd one out, it might be just what you need to attract those customers you want.
When it comes to exhibitions, the hard work begins months in advance. Whether it’s your first or 100th exhibition trying to find ways of attracting customers and achieving your marketing goals never gets any easier. Newer, fresher and better than the competition is always at the front of your mind.
While safe, experienced hands are great when it comes to staffing your stand, a fresh pair of eyes can be great when it comes to spotting new opportunities. Make sure to strike a good balance when it comes to getting your staff right on the day or days.
Stand out, make your offer unique with fabulous merchandise and an interactive stand that starts queues forming. Make your goals clear and attainable and think outside the box for a stand that’s going to make your exhibition season the best one yet.