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Why Exhibition Stands Should Be Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

Exhibition events are opportunities to attract business and communicate a consistent brand message to your audience about your products and services.

Given that visitors will only have a set amount of time and money, you need to create the right impression. Your competition will be fierce and will be employing key exhibition marketing strategies, and you must too.

Exhibitions date back far into the 17th century but became popularised in Britain during the 19th century due to the high amount of traffic flooding into London through its vast, profitable ports. The exhibitions on display were often places to witness glimpses of technological marvels like prototype planes or electricity shooting through coils.

Things have changed since. Promoters were typically looking for wealthy patrons to fund their pursuits. Not surprisingly, emails and social media didn’t exist, so exhibitioners didn’t have the opportunity to pursue an audience before the exhibition even started, as they do now!

Even if you wish to rely solely on your high-quality banner and the products or services you wish to showcase, your rivals will be employing top exhibition marketing strategies. If you’re interested in finding out more about what these are, please read on.

How do you plan an exhibition?

The power of exhibition marketing lies in its face-to-face and hands-on experience with customers. Most promote at exhibitions to generate leads or advance their company image.

The lead generators will be trying to convince their clients to do business with them by showing off the capabilities of the product and swaying them with tangible offers. Those promoting the company will show off any accolades or recommendations, and create something of a story for the brand. Either way, the underlying exhibition marketing strategy will be the same.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who needs to get out there, into an exhibition and start doing business immediately. The first decision you have to make before anything else is choosing the right event to showcase your products and services. Try not to be preoccupied with the expected numbers of people showing up for an exhibition; this only matters as far as making sure the event isn’t a ghost town. The real value is accessing an audience that is there for what you have to offer i.e. the right target audience.

Don’t be put off by having competitors in your vicinity, even if those competitors are bigger than you. The fact of the matter is, they’re glad for you being there, and you should be glad for them. You are all funnelling traffic through the door, and you will all have different sales approaches and products that will appeal to different people and organisations.

When you find a show or event that you think is suitable, look and see if there’s anything that you can do for them. Conferences and seminars tend to be part of exhibitions now, and a lot of them accept guest speakers and sponsors, so this is an opportunity to promote your brand.

What to do with your exhibition space?

A definite boost to the success of your exhibition marketing will be the space you set up. They have to be booked in advance, and it’s best to do so early. Not only does this guarantee you a spot at the exhibit, but the earliest bookers will also nearly always have access to the best positions.

The best spots tend to be on the perimeter, where you can set up in the corners or the walls of the exhibit hall. But most agree the best location is by the front entrance, where everyone is likely to see your promotion at least once.

If you’re unable to take these prime spots, the next best move in your exhibition marketing strategy handbook would be to set yourself up next to a big player. For example, if you’re promoting tech, setting up next to a big-name brand competitor may be a good idea due to the traffic that space will get.

If you fail to get one of the better spots, don’t worry. It’s not the most important part of your exhibition, that’s often the pre-event promotion. This consists of several things:

Coverage – Trade shows have a good deal of publication surrounding them, and the pre-show event will show up in their range.

Journalists – Inviting journalists to your stand is a very efficient move. Speaking to a journalist about your stand will spread the word about your presence and what you offer.

Mailing – The exhibition will have a list of pre-registered visitors on hand. Before the event begins, many promoters send out emails and letters to those they already know are coming, capitalising on the high chance of interest.

These three things will put you on the map with a range of people. Now that you have their attention, let’s talk about business stands.

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What makes a good exhibition stand?

Exhibition marketing requires a quality stand. Without a well-designed stand, there will be no impactful impression made on customers at all. Luckily, at Showplace, we offer the highest quality exhibition stands.

Shell Schemes – Shell Schemes are the most common stand you will see at exhibitions. They are partitioned booths with anywhere from one to three walls of display panels. It is often advisable to upgrade your shell scheme to include some or all of the following features: branding, graphics, flooring and furniture, audio and visual to maximise the impact of your stand and to stand out among other shell schemes. They have higher costs than basic pop-ups but create a bigger impact. Showplace provides a full range of services in order to make your shell scheme stand out from the crowd, from back-lit walls to striking graphics.

Custom Built – These stands are a bespoke build. This makes them the most expensive of all the stands listed here, as they are very often only used for select purposes. However, elements can be reused across many shows. For example, tension fabric graphics on a lightbox stand system can be used time and time again, which also reduces waste. Showplace have an in-house design team that are able to take care of your bespoke exhibition stand needs from initial idea development to the final stages of installation, bringing your visions to life.

Modular Stands – Modular stands are, as the name implies, stands that have intuitive customizability to them. Showplace offers stands that can be cleverly designed to slot into place to fit into different spaces whilst staying in line with contrasting venue restrictions. In addition, we supply the best tension fabric graphic stands, which offer an attractive and professional display with high impact.

Exhibition Trailers – A flexible, cost-effective way to promote your brand. Our exhibition trailers come in a range of sizes, to suit all budgets and can accommodate a variety of pitch sizes and terrains.

Having Impactful Exhibition Stands

Having an eye-catching design and easy-to-digest information on your display banners will capture their interest.

Exhibitions are full of people and full of bright colourful things vying for your very limited attention. As a result, it’s better to keep things simple. The best exhibition stands will have to revolve around a focal point that will absorb peoples’ attention. Simple and impactful designs will make you memorable.

Adversely, there are things you definitely shouldn’t do. For one, the area needs to be spacious. Adding steps or things that can double as barriers can make the booth feel unwelcoming, and inaccessible to others.

How do I capture customer information from Exhibitions?

British culture makes it hard to ask for things, and one of the biggest pressures for a salesperson trying to finalise a sale is having to be blatant in asking if their customers want to go ahead and buy. That pressure can be eased at exhibitions, as it means they have to gather the information that will later be used to procure a sale.

Your staff members at your exhibition stand need to attend to visitors to the best of their abilities if it is to be successful. They need to be approachable and alert, and well versed in the questions that will be coming their way. They also cannot be too afraid to ask for their data so follow-up discussions can take place after the event.

The dispersal of promotional material is also a well-known, highly effective exhibition marketing strategy to gather viewer data. Keep the promotional material relevant and of decent value (for a free item), and you’ll be in a prime position to gather data. A pen, clipboard, or tablet device is a great way to do this, as it allows you to note down specific things the customer is looking for, allowing for later sales pitches to be tailored specifically towards their needs.

Exhibition Sales Lead

Exhibitions report very high production of sales leads, yet far too many are passed up. Statistics also illustrate that these leads have a decent chance of being converted into sales. As a result, every eligible lead should be actioned and followed up on. This is the most important part of the exhibition marketing plan, as even failed conversions can present valuable lessons for your business.

That said, you have to work fast. Leads can go cold quickly. We live in an age of hyper-stimulation and there’s always something else to interest a customer, so it’s best to follow up with a simple thank you message while further offering to assist them. Remember to highlight what the product can do for them. The results of lead chasing after the event is what will bring you success.

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