The Advice Corner is being taken over by our tenant and networker extraordinaire, Tony Haines from Liverpool Business Associations, as he tells us his trade secrets for creating a big impact at your exhibition stand.
The Liverpool BA team have been holding B2B events for over 20 years. Over this time, they have witnessed a wide variety of exhibition stands, with differing approaches to engaging with visitors. They can tell when something isn’t going to work!
Here, Tony shares his 5 top tips for making the most out of your exhibition stand…
What do I want to achieve by exhibiting?
There are lots of factors you should consider when deciding whether or not to exhibit at a business event.
At its simplest, you can view a business exhibition as a shop window for the day, with the opportunity to promote your business to visitors and fellow exhibitors. But in order for you to get the most out of exhibiting, you should think about what you want to achieve and what are your priorities. For example, you might want to improve your profile as a start-up business, or increase awareness of a new product range. Or simply, you might just want to increase your personal contacts or develop better links with particular types of business.
Your target outcomes should be reflected by what you do at the event and how you promote your attendance.
What type of promotional items should I use?
The range and affordability of promotional items and giveaways has changed dramatically in recent years. Many products that used to have large minimum orders are now available in short run quantities – this allows you to try something new without over-spending.
The most popular giveaways still tend to be things like pens, pencils, coasters, mugs, stress balls etc. but one thing to bear in mind with these promotional items is their longevity mugs and coasters will have a longer lasting effect than pens and pencils (which eventually run out). And although mini chocolates with your own printed wrappers may disappear quickly from your exhibition stand, the wrappers are probably thrown away just as quickly (so if you did buy some of these, make sure it is not the only promotional item that you have).
Bear in mind that many people are polite and may feel self-conscious about taking something off your exhibition stand, especially if you are busy talking to someone else. So maybe put a sign on your stand along the lines of ‘Please take a pen with our compliments’ and at the bottom something like ‘we’d love you to leave one of your business cards in our box’.
How does my exhibition stand look?
When you are thinking of what to put on your exhibition stand, take a step back and look at it as though you were a visitor to the event. Pretend you were scanning the room just to get a quick view of what types of companies are there and any offers that may be available. If you were say 10m away from a particular exhibition stand, then you should be able to tell what that company does and if there are any offers available (and roughly what they are).
How does yours compare? Is the typeface you are using on displays big and legible enough? Does it convey the message that you want? Do your pop-up banners and displays work with a table in front of them, or does the table obscure important text or messages? If you are running a special promotion or offer, are you advertising this on your stand and is it clear and visible.
Is my exhibition stand approachable?
You have invested in an exhibition stand and so you want maximum return. So you send out four of your keenest sales staff and tell them to get as many people to the stand as possible. But put yourself in the visitor’s shoes again and you might realise that the impression given is one of tigers ready to pounce!
At the other end of the scale, we have seen exhibitors with one member of staff on the stand but they are sitting at the table with their head down concentrating and working on their laptop. We have also witnessed an exhibiting company sending two people to be on their stand – they arrived with just enough time to set up their display, put some leaflets on the table, and as the event was starting they moved to the back of their stand and positioned their chairs to face each other so they could talk more easily. They might as well have put up a sign saying ‘Do Not Disturb’!
Of course, it is much better to be somewhere between these extremes with one or two people on your stand that look friendly and ready to talk to visitors…
Promoting your presence
Although larger exhibitions may last several days or even weeks, the vast majority of B2B exhibitions take place over the course of one day. The day itself is obviously important, but don’t miss out on all of the opportunities before and after the event!
For example, one of your objectives might be to increase your links with local accountants so you should do as much as possible (enlisting the help of your event organisers) to invite and engage with local accountants in the run-up to the event and encourage them to visit you on your stand (even better if you have some sort of special offer just for them). Similarly, after an event you might wish to make some sort of post event offer to the contacts that you made and anyone else that visited (again asking your event organisers to assist in this process).
Big thanks to Tony Haines for putting this informative piece together for us! If you would like to speak with Tony, please call 0151 709 8932, or visit www.businessfairsuk.com
Liverpool Business Associations have two upcoming business fairs this autumn and are offering 10% discount on any exhibition space when you book online, using promo code EXCLUB.
Wirral & Chester Business Fair, New Brighton Floral Pavilion, Wednesday 19 September 2018
book online at http://businessfairsuk.com/forthcoming-events/wirralandchesterbusinessfair2018/
Halton & Warrington Business Fair, Select Security Halton Stadium, Thursday 01 November 2018
book online at http://businessfairsuk.com/forthcoming-events/haltonandwarringtonbusinessfair2018/