How to get the most from your exhibition stand

Exhibitions offer an excellent opportunity to meet potential customers and market your company, its products and services. For most companies, one of the main reasons for participating in an exhibition is to obtain qualified leads that result in sales and ultimately in profits.

Exhibiting can be a costly exercise, so how do you maximise your time and money so that your attendance at the exhibition doesn't become a lost opportunity?

It's all in the preparation

Before the day of the show arrives there are some very important steps you should take in order to maximise your results on your exhibition stand.

  • Identify your goals and objectives - Work out what you want to achieve from the exhibition and beyond, who you want to target and how you will measure your success (e.g. number of leads, number of converted leads) and keep this in mind throughout the whole process.
  • Exhibition stand design -  When designing your exhibition stand, ensure that it conveys your marketing aim, brand values and product or service capabilities and is geared towards your target audience.

o   Text: The text you use is an important element of the overall design. Less is more, so rather than using a whole sentence, try using a single word as long as it still gets your message across. Also, place your text at the top of the exhibition stand so that it's not blocked by other stands and make sure that the font is large enough to be seen from a distance.

o   Graphics: Choose graphics and images that will appeal to your target audience, keep them big so that they can be seen from afar, and once again, place them towards the top of the exhibition stand so that they aren't obscured.

o   Lighting: Finally, the lighting you use can make or break your exhibition stand. At the very least, you need to ensure that there is enough lighting so that delegates can read your text and displays. On a deeper level, use lighting to create a certain atmosphere or highlight particular parts of your exhibition stand.

  • Brief your exhibition stand staff - Ensure that your staff are trained and briefed on the overall aims, who to target, the kind of questions that may arise and how to interact with prospects and customers.
  • Contact your contacts - Make sure that as many prospects and customers as possible know that you will be attending the exhibition.  Send e-shots, use social networking and any other method to inform your contact list of your attendance and the location of your exhibition stand.

On the day of the exhibition

  • Remember why you're there - make sure you and your staff remain focused on their goals. Reinforce your aims to the team just before the doors open and the day begins.
  • Body language and behaviour - Your staff convey your brand, that means no crossed arms, mobile phones, or eating on the stand. Welcoming smiles, making eye contact and open questions will make a big difference to your success.
  • Keep it short - Keep your conversations with prospects short and concise. You have a limited amount of time, so try to ensure that you spend enough time to get all the details you need and then move on.

 

Post-exhibition

  • Evaluate the day - After the event, it's important to assess how well the day went and discuss any feedback you received from customers so that you can improve for next time.
  • Follow up on leads - Immediately after the event, you should either call or mail every contact that you spoke to on the exhibition stand, even if it's just a simple thank you for visiting you at the stand which you follow up at a later date. This shows your eagerness to do business with them.
  • Measure your successes - Ensure that you follow up on all leads and track whether or not these convert into sales. This the only way you will know whether or not the exhibition was a success (and whether it's worthwhile booking the following year).

This post was written by Ed Langley on behalf of Nimlok. Find out more about exhibition stands on the Nimlok website.

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