Going to an exhibition or exhibiting at a local business event can be a great way to network, make new contacts and attract customers. However, attendees will make a judgement from afar based on the way you look before they even approach your stand. If they decide to speak to you, all the judging continues: what does the stand team look like? How approachable are they? Do they know what they are talking about?
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that exhibitions and conferences are just for large companies, you can pick up a simple pop up display stand for well under £500 and it may be money very well spent.
Your Exhibition Stand
This is what people see before they know much, if anything, about what you do. It serves several purposes. The first is to be eye-catching to attract people to come over and find out more. The second is to increase awareness of your brand’s presence. After that, there may be different goals for your exhibition stand, depending on the sector in which you operate.
Your aim may be to communicate some keywords or messages that you want to associate with your company or it may be that you want to interest the visitors over to you in some way.
It’s worth considering where your business currently is, as the message you want to communicate will change at different stages. You may want to consider changing your exhibition stand every year or two. Dependant on the image that you want to set for where your business currently is. Coca-Cola, for example, doesn’t need more than its logo and colours and it is instantly recognisable, but most companies need more information to offer context to passers-by.
Who will, or does, make up your client base? Are you B2B, B2C or both? If both, do you need a different type of exhibition stand for different events and target groups?
Knowing this will not only impact on your choice of stand and its design but also on the people you choose to send to an event. For example, a financial app developer may go to the numerous fresher’s events to get students to download the app to manage their finances and go to corporate events aimed at financial managers. The way that people dress and behave on those stands should be quite different. While the competence of the product will be the same, there should be a different approach – more informal, fun and possibly gimmicky to encourage the 18-year-olds to use it, while the financial managers should be approached in business dress and using more serious language.
The team on the exhibition stand should always be welcoming, but remember to take a slightly different approach that is tailored to the individual customer.
Collect Data on Potential Customers
The purpose of attending an event is to come away with data to follow up. It might be an email address, a request for further information, someone signing up to receive a brochure or actually making a sale on the day.
It is essential that you have some way of capturing information to follow up. You could have 10,000 people visit your stand, but if you leave without a single contact or piece of business, you’ve wasted your time.
You might create a simple online form for people to complete on a tablet that captures what they want further information on and their contact details or you might have a prize draw. Whatever you do, leave the exhibition with contact information and follow those people up within a week.