Exhibitions are a great way to raise awareness of your brand, meet new prospects and existing customers, and launch products or services. But these just scratch the surface. In fact, there are a whole plethora of reasons why having an exhibition stand can be fantastic for your business.
Committing to showcasing your business at an exhibition can be a big investment. It’s important, therefore, that you maximise the opportunity to get the best possible return.
You’ve probably visited this page because you’re considering becoming an exhibitor. Or perhaps you’ve already signed up and are looking for ways to attract show visitors to your stand.
Here, we’ve put together some ideas to help you optimise engagement on your next exhibition stand, drawing in the visitors and creating a buzz around your offering.
This is a simple tactic but one which is often overlooked. It’s super important that the staff running your stand are friendly and approachable. You’re much less likely to attract visitors if your team look bored or are not upfront and welcoming.
So choose people who are good at starting a conversation. Those with outgoing personalities who are more likely to chat with passing visitors, rather than those who’ll wait to be approached. If you don’t have anyone you feel meets this description, you could even outsource to an agency.
Those with heads down immersed in their phone will put off visitors, so include a strict no-phones policy. While it might be tempting for your teams to peek at their phone in quiet times, they need to be ready and available for the whole duration of the exhibition.
Drawing attention when you’re actually on site can be tricky, as the exhibition is likely to be busy and crowded. So you need to make as much noise as possible up front, telling people in advance that you’re going to be there. This can help to create an element of familiarity with your company/brand, helping visitors to recognise you on the day and know exactly where to come.
Create a prospect list before the exhibition and invite them to come see you, sending personalised invitations via direct mail or an email campaign. Remember, if you’re going for direct mail, you’ll need to know where they’re based first. A personal invitation helps the recipient feel special, and they’ll be more likely to attend.
You could include a special offer, discount or gift as an extra incentive to visit your exhibition stand.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, too. Calling your prospects and inviting them along can be a real winner, especially if you can engage them in conversation on the phone.
Other ideas include:
Let’s be realistic. Trailing around an exhibition can become boring for visitors after the initial buzz has worn off. A game or competition can lift things, offering them a fun activity and giving you a subtle way to bring that all-important footfall to your exhibition stand.
Try creating your own game with something relevant to your business or industry. Or you could go for something traditional and recognisable.
Leadership boards tend to do well at exhibitions, so make sure you’re keeping score. This can also encourage visitors to return, to see if they’ve kept their place at the top!
This is perhaps a lesser-known tactic but one that works really well at business-to-business exhibitions: offer your visitors the opportunity to get a professional headshot. These can be expensive, so the chances are your stand visitors won’t already have one. Plus, they’ll likely be smartly dressed for the exhibition so it’s a great time for them to have a picture taken. Make sure to get their contact details so you can share the photo with them later on (a clever piece of lead generation).
For more consumer-focused exhibitions, you could make it a little more light-hearted, with a fun photobooth and some company-branded props. Try adding your logo, a hashtag or something instantly relatable to your industry, like glasses for an optical exhibition or doggy ears for a pet expo. Encourage visitors to share on social media, a great way to increase your online exposure and reach a wider audience.
Much of our day-to-day lives are now broadcast online. And for those who love to share what they’re up to with their followers, a fantastic discovery in an exhibition hall will likely make their feed. So give them something to talk about, a reason to share their experience with their followers.
Creating a social media campaign that’s relevant to your business and the exhibition itself can be a great way to reach an audience far bigger than that inside the exhibition walls. Just remember, for your campaign to work it will need some investment. Your stand visitors won’t post just because you ask them to. You need to make it worth their while, so make sure your exhibition stand is Instagram worthy.
Exhibitions can be exhausting. Lots of slow walking and time spent trailing the aisles. Give your visitors a lounge area, nest of stalls, bar or even just a comfy sofa. Once they’re relaxed, they’re more likely to spend time chatting to you, be less on their guard and more open to hearing about your business.
Providing drinks, snacks or delicious treats can create a perfect enticement for visitors to swing by your stand and get a little pick-me-up. Depending on licence restrictions, you could even consider offering a prosecco or beer to pep things up!
If you’re hosting meetings on your exhibition stand, offering light refreshments such as tea or coffee is a great way to help visitors relax. Plus, guests tend to hang around for longer while they enjoy their drinks and nibbles.
This can really draw in an audience and help to boost that all-important prospect list.
Whether you host informative talks, hold Q&As with a PA system or provide an eBook that is emailed on data capture, this type of valuable content is an easy door opener and conversation starter.
It’s no secret that people love a freebie! The trick is to think creatively and create a giveaway that puts you head and shoulders above your competition. After all, the exhibition hall will be full of them, right!?
The good news is, there are literally hundreds of ideas out there for giveaways. You just need to work out which is best for your business.
Remember to make your giveaways relevant and aligned to your company. For example, if your business has a strong environmental focus, look at giveaways that reflect that. And don’t start giving out plastic products that can’t be recycled!
Tech can be a great way to entice and intrigue stand visitors. From simple ideas like giant interactive tablets to more immersive virtual reality headsets, people love to get hands-on and enjoy the experience.
Consider the best types of tech for your brand and how they can work within the exhibition. For example, virtual reality can complement exhibitions in property, beauty or fashion.
Even still, we’re only at the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of clever and creative ways to attract visitors to your exhibition stand. The trick is to align your target audience and your event objectives to discover which techniques will work best for you.
Are you ready to talk about your next exhibition stand? We’d love to help! Drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01920 461244.