Get your exhibition stand ready
Marketing Assistant at Shaw
After what feels like a very long spell of digital events, workshops, exhibitions and meet ups, we’re delighted to see the return of ‘real-life’ events. After this extended break, considering your exhibition presence can feel even more daunting than usual. At many events, you are surrounded by exhibitors who are, very often your competitors. So, to be noticed, you must be organised, professional, and unique.
This year, we have had the pleasure of helping several clients fully prepare for trade shows, including the Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona and Aquaculture UK in Aviemore. Whatever and wherever the exhibition, we have created an exhibition checklist that we are delighted to share.
Book exhibition stand
Booking your stand is, of course, the first stage. Be sure to organise your stand as early as possible to grab the optimum spot at the best rate. When choosing your stand, consider floor space, stand design requirements, positioning and visitor traffic flow.
Book furniture, utilities, equipment
Consider any activities or events you’d like to host on your stand. This will determine what furniture, utilities and equipment will be required. If you’d like your customers to stay around for meetings, then tables and chairs are a must. Perhaps you require a fridge for keeping drinks cool or a podium for your guest speaker. Ensure all furniture/utilities is an appropriate size for your stand and won’t block entry or sight of product or wall graphics. Booking electrics is very important (and easily forgotten).
TOP TIP – don’t forget to pack a HDMI and extension cable.
Please don’t blow your budget on floor space and scrimp on your stand! Balance size against stand dressing so that you can create real impact with strong, eye-catching graphics. Think about traffic flow and position content to draw your audience in. Make sure furniture or walls do not obscure important information. In terms of design, it’s often appropriate to think ‘less is more’ creating a bold statement over busy or text-heavy graphics.
Give careful consideration to your location. Make absolutely sure that you are easily found with good signage and catalogue entry/advert. In larger halls, it may be possible to suspend signs from the roof.
A video is a great way to attract visitors and tell your own story (particularly if it has a unique provenance). For displaying your video, consider hiring or bringing your own TV.
Free giveaways, or goodie bags, are often popular with event visitors. Opt for branded items that are useful to keep and/or are environmentally friendly. This year, the most popular giveaways were stainless steel water bottles, tote bags and beanie hats.
Brochures and leaflets are the takeaway, which will underpin the story that you’ve shared with visitors on the day. We recommend keeping these simple, professional, on brand, and to the point.
Food and drink
Everyone loves free refreshments, so offering food and drink can be a great way to draw visitors in. If you’re considering this, you need to make sure that it’s not just a ‘free lunch’ – make sure that the stand is well staffed at all times and there is a strategy in place for engaging with visitors. Some of our clients offered canapes, freshly ground coffee, tea, biscuits, soft drinks, wine, and even a beer tap – all of which was very well received. If you decide to offer refreshments, you will need napkins, paper plates, plastic cups, cutlery, coffee cups, coffee stirrers, milk, sugar, cleaning materials and a rubbish receptacle. A member of your team will need to be responsible for serving and keeping the stand tidy.
Don’t forget about storage. Will you require shelving, a fridge, or a table to position your coffee machine? How about a counter with inwards facing shelving?
Booking a full-sized cupboard space can be very useful, especially if you are bringing a large quantity of stock with you. A cupboard keeps everything looking neat and tidy, and is particularly helpful if you have a busy stand.
Make sure that your people are well prepared to meet and greet their visitors. Smart and professional with a welcoming smile and well-versed on your brand story, product and/or service.
On stand events
Perhaps you have a guest speaker, are demonstrating a new piece of machinery, or are taking users on a virtual reality experience? If you decide to have an event on stand, make sure to let everyone know well in advance.
Draw up a targeted list of key individuals and invite to your stand well in advance of the show. Invitations can be distributed via email or, more formally, by post. Consider adding your attendance to your email sign off in the run up to the show.
Follow up enquiries
Following up with stand attendees after the event is crucial to maximise the return on your exhibition investment. Be sure to gather as much contact details as possible. There’s no right or wrong time to reach out, but doing so within two weeks of the event will catch people while your product or service is still fresh in their minds. When possible, opt for a personalised email with the subjects discussed.
Continue the conversation in the form of marketing emails and newsletters.
As a key part of the marketing mix, make sure to plan social posts to run before, during, and after the show. Where possible, tag in fellow exhibitors and visitors.
Issue a pre-show news release with any new developments, launches or events planned for the show.
Post show, have you won a new contract, received an award, or hosted a particularly successful workshop? Make sure to follow up with any new developments.
TOP TIP – take advantage of the event organiser’s online portal for exhibitor news.
If budget allows, then consider placing an advert in appropriate media. Think about the best means of communicating with your target audience, perhaps that’s a trade or show magazine or a sector specific website.
Looking for some support for your upcoming exhibition/event? We’d be delighted to prepare and deliver the complete package or simply assist with any individual element. Please get in touch at email@example.com