Exhibitions and trade shows are busy, frenetic places. There may be thousands of people milling around, looking for inspiration and ideas, and all of them will pass by your stand at some point during the event. But with so many competing trade booths, it is hard to stand out from the crowd and draw visitors in. Existing customers will (hopefully) make visiting you a priority, but what about new customers?
Fortunately you don’t need to despair. There are plenty of ways to attract visitors so that your investment in the event is more than justified – and here’s how.
Design an Effective Shop Window
A trade booth is essentially your shop window and exhibition design is very important. There might not be a door and window, but the stand needs to reflect your company brand and show off your goods effectively. Spend lots of time creating the right design. Don’t assume that sticking a few posters up and handing out free pens will make the grade. With so many other businesses competing for attention in a crowded arena, you need to stand out one way or another.
The overall design also needs to reflect your business. Choose the right signage and marketing materials and decide which are the best products to take along. It is a good idea to test your designs and layout before the start of the event, just to see how it will work. This will give you a good feel of how much space you have to work with, which should help you to avoid any overcrowding issues.
You don’t necessarily need to be ultra flashy and have strobe lights, fireworks or podium dancers to draw people in, but you do need something different. Take a step back and view your stand as a visitor would: is there anything there to draw the eye? Look at how your signs and goods are presented and see if you can do things better. Appeal to people’s senses with a combination of sight, sounds, and even smells.
Nobody is going to stick around if all of your staff are standing around, fiddling with their smartphones and looking bored. Trade stand employees should be briefed in advance of the event. Make sure they know the products and are able to answer queries knowledgeably. A welcoming smile goes a long way when people are loitering on the fringes of your stand. And don’t forget to tell your staff to take down contact details (an iPad is useful in this regard).
Be sure to implement an effective marketing campaign before the event. Let existing customers know you will be at the trade show and send them a personal invitation. Get busy on social media and raise awareness of why people should come along. And if possible, get involved with the organiser’s main marketing campaign so you can reach an even wider audience.
Attending trade shows can be expensive and time consuming, but they are an excellent way of reaching a targeted audience in the B2B sector, so give it your all and reap the rewards.