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When attending a trade show, how can you make sure your exhibition stand attracts the right visitors? Katy Roberts of JobServe Events offers some simple tips for pulling in the punters
- Get the right look and feel. Your stand is your shop window - a direct invitation to say "Come on in!". It's vital to make sure your objective for the show - selling, marketing or corporate image - determines the look and feel of your stand. Choose signage, posters and products to display to boost the image you want to create
- 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; all too often, people get carried away with the idea that size is better than focus. Small stands can work well.
- Try it out beforehand. Setting up your exhibition stand in your workplace before the trade show will save time and give you a feel for the space you will occupy. You'll soon see what you can include and what you'll need to leave out.
- Tell people 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.
- Get creative. Experiment with lighting, sound and screens, electronic presentations, posters and signage. Follow the same path as visitors around the stand so you 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 no visual overload.
- Stick to your budget. Exhibiting at a trade show is not about spending pots of money by always ordering new materials. Look to see what's already on your premises that could furnish your exhibition stand.
- 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 gifts, choose relevant and memorable branded merchandise to market your business.
- Chat with the event organiser. Make sure the event organiser understands your business nature and requirements. The placement of your stand at the venue may be critical to your target audience, so discuss your requirements with the organiser beforehand and negotiate the best possible location of your stand at a price you can afford.
- Pick the right people. Pick your team members for the event and the audience. Many exhibitors use the "hook" candidate (someone who attracts people to the stand), or the "spotter" (who approaches people and brings them onto the exhibition 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.
- 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 banners on your website that contain an invitation to 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 the publicity and, even, link your business name with the event itself.
- Find out more about JobServe's events for small businesses