There is no doubt that exhibitions are a great way to develop business opportunities. However if done wrong they can also be a big waste of time and money. I’ve been helping clients get the most from exhibitions for years, so I thought I would put together some important points to think about.
- Choose your position carefully
Most exhibitions will offer a wide range of position and size of stand. Obviously you need to pick your space to match your budget, but also consider the flow of visitors. Which direction do they enter? Where will the break out or catering areas be? If possible try not to pick a space in a corner or against a wall as many visitors may not even get that far! However you can guarantee they will want a coffee and a sit down at some point.
- Get an idea of the space in ‘real life’
I’ve always found that laying out the area of your stand on a floor using masking tape is really helpful. You can do a scale diagram, but it just isn’t the same as actually standing in the space yourself. You might find that with some clever thinking you can fit more in than you thought.
- Think about re-using your exhibition graphics
Most exhibitions have what is known as a ‘shell scheme’. These are little ‘booths’ with walls to which you can affix your vinyl graphics. However it is worth bearing in mind that not all shell schemes are the same dimensions. Just because they sell the space in square metres does not mean the panels will be 1m wide. Consider having several pull-up banners, or even a pop-up exhibition stand. These can be reused in many places and even put up in your business premises to get the most from your investment.
- Consider storage
At the very least you will have a bag with you. If you are attending an exhibition across several days you may have spare flyers or giveaways, you might want to keep a supply of water and snacks on the stand. Where are they going to go? It is essential to consider where you are going to put your ‘stuff’. A messy stand does not make a good impression.
- To sit or not to sit
This is always a difficult decision. There is no denying that standing at eye-level with visitors is more engaging that sitting down, but after 3 days you may need to take a load off. Consider having high level stools which you can perch on, but which still leave you at eye level with the visitors. You can even get them to match your brand colours.
- Giveaways – great investment, or total waste of money
The thing about giveaways is that they are a great reason to interact with visitors. If you get it right you may even find visitors beating a path to your stand to get what you have on offer and of course that is a great time to start a conversation about what you do. Try and think of something original, useful and something that relates to your business. If you can get it in your corporate colour – even better!
- What are you going to wear
There is no denying that you need to look smart when exhibiting and most people do still choose to wear their own clothes. However consider getting some branded clothing. If you go for something bright this can really add a visual element to your stand, but having your brand on your clothing also has the benefit of advertising your company even when you’re not on your stand. Think about having something printed on the back too, perhaps a question that only your company can help with or even your stand number.
- Have you thought about the other exhibitors?
I expect you are very much focusing on the visitors to the exhibition, but don’t forget making connections with the other exhibitors. You may find new clients and also good business contacts among your fellow exhibitors. One of the main benefits of being an exhibitor is that you can go and talk to your fellow exhibitors. When visitors try and do that it is called canvassing and is strongly frowned upon.
Are you thinking about exhibiting? Do you need some help with an upcoming exhibition? Get in touch if you want to have a chat.