Attending an exhibition can be an expensive outlay in terms of money and time. There are many mistakes people make when planning and attending an exhibition which hinder their success. Here are a few common mistakes and our tips for how to avoid them:
Failing to Plan
The key to a successful exhibition is to plan, plan, plan. First you need to make sure you are going to the right show. Many businesses are on autopilot when it comes to exhibitions and attend just because they always have – this isn’t a valid reason for attending so do your research to ensure it is the right show for you. Once you have the right show set clear, measurable objectives for what you want to achieve. Use these objectives to inform your exhibition strategy which will cover everything for the exhibition from the equipment and staff you take to following up leads after the event.
The people who man your exhibition stand are crucial. They represent you and your business and will leave a lasting impression on visitors to your stand. Having team members who do not know why they are there or what they are doing will have a negative impact on your reputation. Brief your team before the event so they know and understand the exhibition objectives, what you expect from them before, during and after the show and make sure you take people with knowledge of your products/services.
Cluttered and Messy Stand
The design of your exhibition stand is very important. It’s all very well having a very fancy looking stand but if graphics are too cluttered or ambiguous then you won’t make the right impression. You want your stand to give a clear message about who you are, what you do and why potential customers need you. See our article on exhibition stand design for tips.
You also need to consider the layout of the stand and the equipment you want to take – just taking everything you have and filling the space will not do. Your stand needs to be open and welcoming with space for people to enter and talk to you about your business. If it is too cluttered visitors will be put off. Remember, less is more.
It is also important to keep the stand neat and tidy – have a discreetly hidden waste bin for any rubbish so it is not strewn across the stand. Keep products and marketing literature tidy and try to incorporate storage space to keep bags and personal effects out of the way. If your exhibition is more than one day, remember to spend some time every morning before the exhibition opens to ensure your stand looks the best it can be.
Not Doing a Trial Run
Turning up at the venue the day before the exhibition to set up your stand for the very first time is a potential disaster waiting to happen. If you have not test built your stand you will have no idea how to do it or how long it will take. Always make sure you have a trial run at building your stand. You will then know how to do it, how long it will take and what it looks like. You can also use the trial to test out different layouts so you know the best way you want your stand to be and when you arrive at the venue you can be confident in your stand.
Failing to Promote Your Presence
You have sourced a brilliant exhibition stand, have a great team in place, got your giveaways and competitions planned and you are ready to go. But have you told anyone you’re attending the show? If you don’t promote your presence you are relying on people just coming across your stand rather than seeking you out. Make sure in the run-up to the show you let your customers know you are attending and where your stand is. Use all communications channels at your disposal including social media, emails, blog posts, website messages and your sales team. Also, try and use the exhibition organiser’s communication channels. Trade shows often have their own social media feeds so during the event make sure you use this to promote where you are and any special offers or events you are running.
Not Packing Away Carefully
We know it’s always a rush at the end of an exhibition to clear up and pack away quickly so you can get home. But if you don’t take care when packing away your stand you could damage it. Or pack it away poorly and when you come to use it next time it’s in not in a useable condition. So, even though you’re in a rush to leave, always take time to pack the stand carefully so it is ready to use next time you need it.
No Follow Up
You have had a very successful event and gathered a long list of potential leads – great! However, this list is a complete waste of time if you do not have plans in place to follow up and all your efforts at the show will be for nothing. Make sure as part of your exhibition plan that you think about how and when to follow up leads and who is going to do it. Have an evaluation meeting with your exhibition stand team very soon after the event to gather feedback on what went well and what could be improved on next time. Also, use this meeting to confirm follow up plans and manage your people to ensure this work is done.
At XL Displays we are experts in portable exhibition and display equipment and exhibition stand design. For more information on any of our products or for a free exhibition stand consultation please contact us or call our sales team on 01733 511030.