Exhibition planning – part two

How to get the most out of your exhibition

Whether you’ve exhibited at trade fairs before, or you have your first event coming up this year, you’ll be well aware of the time and money invested in your stand and will be keen to make it pay off.

In the first post of our blog series on ‘exhibition planning’ we looked at things to consider during the months prior to your show.  You can read ‘how to plan a successful exhibition‘ here.  In this post we now focus on the week of the event and provide top tips for making sure you optimise its success.

1. Go back to your objectives

Prior to every exhibition you should create a list of goals that you are looking to achieve from the event.  Make sure you remind yourself of these objectives and double-check that everything is in place to allow them to come to fruition.  Throughout the final stages stay focused on them at all times.

2. Plan who you want to target

Be proactive and formulate a plan of who you want to meet and talk to at the exhibition.  Make sure, where possible, these people been invited to your stand.  You may also find that you’ll need time away from your stand to network and seek out your targets and don’t forget to use existing contacts to introduce you.

3. Think carefully about your stand team

You will want to showcase the range of expertise and knowledge within your business to your stand visitors, so make sure you invite the right members of your team to join you on the stand.  Choose people who are at ease making conversations with others and mix in technical know-how to provide kudos.

Don’t have too many people on your stand as it will look too foreboding for visitors.  As a guide, a 3×3 metre stand requires about three people, a 4×4 needs four people and so on.

4. Have a rota

It’s important to keep the stand team fresh and enthusiastic, so produce a rota and allow people to take regular breaks away from the stand for refreshments, to walk around the show, or to catch up on day-to-day business responsibilities.  Take a note of everyone’s mobiles, so if a visitor is looking for a specific member of your team, you can call them to come back to the stand.

If you’re exhibiting at a show that lasts longer than two days, aim to utilise more people so no-one needs to do more than two consecutive days.

5. Brief the team

Your stand will only be effective at achieving your exhibition goals if your team is 100% committed to them too.  Prior to the show send out a briefing pack to give your team the lowdown on the exhibition, what you’re trying to achieve and how you want them to contribute.

Prior to the start of the show each day organise a 10 minute briefing session to remind them of your exhibition objectives, discuss what worked / didn’t work the previous day, run through key messages and ‘stand rules’.

6. Look professional

Every stand should have a list of ‘stand rules’ – the dos and don’ts that your team should follow in order for your stand to look its best and create the right impression to passers-by.  Here’s a quick top five:

  1. No eating or drinking on the stand – it looks unprofessional
  2. No sitting at laptops or walking around on phones – your team need to be ready to engage with visitors.
  3. Keep the stand clear and free of coats, bags and rubbish
  4. Ensure give-aways and brochures are topped-up at all times
  5. Think of 2-3 conversation openers to start conversations without being over-eager and ‘pouncing’ on visitors.

7. Data capture your leads

It is critical to devise a plan to capture information about the people who visit your stand.  Think about the best way to capture this data.  It could be hiring a data scanner from the exhibition organisers to electronically capture details from attendees’ badges.  Alternatively you could print of data capture forms to allow your team to write down enquiries and attach a business card.  Or, if you have budget, consider an on-stand data capture device e.g a tablet or kiosk for visitors to register their details.  With GDPR now in place, you will most likely be collecting data based on legitimate interest and should mention how will use people’s information whilst capturing it.

8. Promote your stand

Promoting your stand during the exhibition is a great way to raise your profile to both people at the show and those who couldn’t attend.  Use social media and link into the trade fair’s own social channels for optimum coverage.  Why not take a short video of your stand and team, add summaries of industry talks you’ve been to or photos of interesting products you’ve seen?

In summary

There’s a lot to consider when exhibiting at a trade show. Download our free exhibition countdown organiser to help ensure your remember every detail. To discuss the organisation of your next show, contact us today.

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