By: Cheryl Cliffe
Exhibition stands at a trade fair should be designed with one purpose, and only one purpose, in mind: getting buyers onto your stand. Ironically, the main reason for exhibiting at a trade show – i.e. having access to a captive market – also provides its biggest challenge. Yes, your target market will be streaming in through the door...but, they will be viewing you alongside your competitors and you had better stand out, or you will lose out!
How often have you thought back to an exhibition, or even shopping centre, you visited and not been able to remember where you saw a particular product. Mostly this is because the stands (or shops) “melted” into each other, failing to create a memorable brand impression.
Sales aren’t only generated at the exhibition, often buyers want to make contact with exhibitors after the exhibition; so you need to ensure that you not only create a great first impression, but also leave a lasting impression.
Rule number one when it comes to staying top of mind post the exhibition is to make sure that your brand makes enough of a statement to be remembered by visitors. Use your branding and company colours to imprint your stand in visitors’ memories. Creative lighting is a cost-effective way of making a statement and setting your stand apart from its neighbours.
At the exhibition, catching visitors’ eyes is the first step, now you need to get them onto your stand and get them to buy your products. Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Give careful thought to your stand flow. No matter how appealing the stand looks if it is not easy for buyers to enter and move around the stand, they are more likely to keep walking past. Cluttered stands are also a turn off as buyers are instinctively anxious about knocking things over or down.
- Tell your clients that you are exhibiting. Let clients know that you will be at the exhibition and invite them to visit your stand – this not only promotes sales but provides a valuable networking environment (remember the golden marketing rule: people do business with people they know and trust!). SARCDA offers personalised emails and invitations that exhibitors can make use of.
- Offer competitions and specials. Who doesn’t love a prize or a good deal? Competitions not only attract people to your stand but provide you with entrants’ details to build your database.
- Choose the right staff to man your stand. This is one of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects of a successful exhibition stand. Select staff that are worthy brand ambassadors for your business. Someone who is upbeat and engaging is far more likely to make a sale than someone who looks as if they are on duty on pain of death! And, it goes without saying, make sure that every person on the stand is knowledgeable about the company (including important aspects like terms and conditions of sales and delivery) and its products.
It’s been proven over and over again that those exhibitors who actively “work” their exhibition participation are rewarded with the greatest return on their investment.