Ten ways to attract visitors to your exhibition stand

A sales rep welcomes visitors to his exhibition stand

When exhibiting at a trade show, how can you make sure your stand attracts plenty of interest - and the right type of visitor? Katy Roberts of Fresh Brew Marketing offers some simple tips for pulling in the punters

1. Get the right look and feel.

Your stand is your shop window - a direct invitation to "Come on in!". It's vital to make sure your objective for the show - selling, marketing or boosting your corporate image - determines the look and feel of your stand. Choose signage, posters and products that project the image you want to create.

2. Remember, small is beautiful, too.

Exhibiting is about having great ambitions, not huge budgets. Deciding on a space that will suit your objective can be challenging; don't get carried away with the idea that bigger is better. Small stands can work well if they are focused and professional - for example, a customisable modular system looks more polished than trestle tables or garden furniture.

3. Tell suppliers what you want.

Create a clear, concise brief for stand-builders, signage companies and equipment hire firms. Explain your main aims for the show and ensure that your objective is their objective, too.

4. Go for instant brand recognition.

Display the logo or branding that attendees are most familiar with. If a particular product line is more well-known than your business name, put that front and centre.

5. Get creative.

Experiment with sound, screens, posters and signage. Effective lighting can really increase awareness of your stand, so consider supplementing the standard package. Follow the same path as visitors around the stand, so you can see what they see - both from a distance and up close. Make sure there's not too much text to read (impossible from a distance), and that there's a clear theme.

6. Stick to your budget.

Exhibiting at a trade show is not about spending pots of money on flashy new materials. Look to see what's already on your premises that could furnish your exhibition stand.

7. Beware giveaways.

A lot of money is spent on promo gifts that don't relate to the message or brand. These often end up on the floor of the exhibition or forgotten in a desk drawer. If you want to give branded merchandise out as gifts, choose something relevant and memorable - and make sure you have professional marketing collateral to hand out with it, to jog the attendee's memory later on.

8. Chat with the event organiser.

Make sure that they understand your business nature and requirements. The placement of your stand at the venue may be critical, so discuss your requirements with the organiser beforehand and negotiate the best possible location of your stand at a price you can afford.

9. Pick the right people.

Pick appropriate team members for the event and the audience. Many exhibitors use either a "hook" (someone who attracts people to your stand), or the "spotter" (who approaches people and brings them to the stand). If you have neither, just make sure your team remains active and friendly. Some exhibitors attract attendees by appealing to their senses - we all like to hear, see, touch, taste and even smell things.

10. Don't forget to tell people!

Once you've created a great stand, don't forget to tell people you're going to be at a particular trade show. Upload information to your website inviting customers to come and visit you at your stand, and send prospects and clients regular email updates in the week leading up to the show. Join the event organisers' marketing of the whole event, and work closely with them to increase publicity.

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