The time of year for trade shows is upon us again, and they can become quite a daunting task especially if it is your first time as an exhibitor but there is no need to panic, there is plenty of time to prepare to ensure that you are ready for when the big day comes. Every industry that you can think of will have some kind of trade show, and before planning to exhibit it is a good idea to do some homework and visit some top events in your industry and if you can the event you are planning to exhibit at. Not only does it provide you with a great excuse for a day out of the office, but it also helps your get a better idea of what other exhibitors (most likely your competitors) are already doing and how they are drawing in the crowds, then go away and make yours better!
After you know which trade show you want to exhibit at, the next vital step is to know your goals for the event. There are a lot of common goals that people set, here are a few examples: generate leads, make sales, or to launch/promote a new product. It’s possible that you could achieve all 3 of these goals but for best practice it is good to have one as your main focus at you stand to ensure that you have a clear message for your target audience. How do I get people to my stand? This is a question that many people are asking all the time when preparing for events and trade shows. Below are 5 ideas that can help you.
1. It is all about first impressions
Ensuring that the design and layout of your stand is appealing makes a huge difference in the number of people that you will see stopping by. Firstly, the design needs to be bold, bright and eye-catching. Secondly, your branding must be at the forefront of the design. Your message needs to be clearly displayed, people hate guessing what it is that you do, give it to them on a plate as they say. Also, be sure that you have good lighting and signs at every angle so that you can attract attendees from all directions.
2. Give them something to talk about
Having a good looking stand is one thing but without any products, it would be wasted. When it comes to selecting the products or services you are going to display at the trade show, it’s important to consider who our target audience is and how you can appeal to all of their senses. Think about products they can taste, smell, touch or listen to. People love to experience the products rather than just look at them. Demonstrations or entertainment of some sorts are a great way to get people involved at your stand and when a few people gather round many others will follow as curiosity always attracts. Interactive stands are great for creating a buzz around your stand but don’t forget to consider a few things first like venue regulations and the cost implications and go from there.
3. People like people
As well as the right products you need the right people and this can sometimes be tricky. There is nothing worse that when you are walking around an event and look at a stand where all the employees are sitting on their phones, or talking among themselves not really showing any interest in the event or attendees. The other extreme, which you also don’t want is an overly pushy sales representative who radiates desperation trying to drag anybody and everybody into the stand to sell them something. The balance is all in the communication. People are attracted to people who look interested in the same thing that they are, so ensure that you have a representative on your stand who as a genuine interest in the products or services.
4. Don’t let them forget you!
Create a win-win situation by offering your visitors incentives to stay on your exhibition stand, such as competitions or promotions, in exchange for a little bit of data or even just tell a friend deal to help get your brand name out there. This will not only help attract attention to your stand but also will lead on to future contact with the potential sale leads. Running competitions in advance is also a great way of guaranteeing some visitors to your stand, by offering a ‘pre-event’ promotion, for example, give away some tickets to the event itself, this works perfectly to encourage some of your current customers to come and pay you a visit at the exhibition. Pre-event promotions are great for highlighting any discounts you might be offering at that specific event and will get people talking about your brand before visiting the show. Competitions at the event on your stand are a great way of attracting the large crowds, as people will gather to watch or to find out what is going on. So make sure that you’re offering a great prize to get the visitors interested and be clever with the layout of the stand so that the attention doesn’t distract from your main goal.
5. It’s all about the Freebie
Being an exhibitor these days, you cannot escape the promotional ‘freebie’ conversation, and yes there are thousands of options but there are still common favourites. However, just to play devils advocate here, a free promotional pen is great if that potential client is in need of a pen, if they’re not it’s likely to get thrown in to the bottom of a free printed tote bag they’ve also picked up at the event. The purpose of these promotional giveaways at events is to create that WOW factor and lasting impressions with your visitors. When choosing your promotional products to take to the event think about the three U’s; Useful, Unique and Unforgettable. Think about what your clients and potential leads actually want and need, your aim is for them to take your promotional gift away from the event and remember you by it so when the time comes for them to need your products or services your brand is at the forefront of their mind.
In summary, if you are wanting to attract the crowds to your stand at the next trade show or exhibition you are attending, you will have to think outside the box. Get creative with your stand design, make sure you have friendly people on the stand who know enough about your company to answer any question that might be thrown at them and give your visitors a reason to visit your stand whether it be through a competition or the world’s best promotional giveaway. Ensure that you have researched the event and that it is relevant to your business, and that what you are taking to the trade show is relevant those that are attending.