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  • Writer's pictureTeam ESM

How To Attract Visitors To Your Exhibition Stand

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

If trade shows are a major part of your marketing plan, the more leads you generate, the happier your management team will be. However, getting people onto your exhibition stand goes further than simply booking the space and being present. In a hall full of other exhibitors, the battle is on for who can attract that all important Buyer.

Most people cringe when they hear the words “trade show promotion”, it brings back memories of free pens, wristbands, stickers and other such items which hold no value to anyone who visits. So how do you attract more people to your booth? The answer is in the planning and creation of a multi-pronged attack. Here are our top tips for keeping your exhibition stand busy during a trade show:

Pre-show contacts & planning

Whether you are running a B2B or B2C trade show, contacting key attendees is a must. For B2C shows, this means utilising key influencers and bloggers to write pre-show articles about you or incentivise them to visit your stand. For B2B exhibitions, make sure your customers all know you will be attending and where to find you. Try using teasers to ensure they come onto your stand and discover something new. Collecting email addresses and phone numbers of past attendees comes in handy for this type of trade show preparation. If your best clients are not already going to the show, buy them a ticket or offer to help pay travel expenses. This harnesses loyalty and gratitude which reaps its own rewards. In order to generate new potential leads, ask show organisers for a full list of attendees who registered for the event or see if you can take advantage of any email campaigns they are sending out to their visitor list. Make sure you contact registered attendees and create a buzz a couple of weeks before the exhibition starts.

Contact the relevant trade show publications before the show

In the lead up to a trade show, writers and editors are keen to ensure they have the scoop on what will be present. If you have news on a new venture, product showcase or range which will be of interest to your target market, write up a short, punchy press release and send it out to the relevant journalists in your industry. Don’t forget to attach multiple product images, both lifestyle and pack shot to give them flexibility when designing their page.

Focus on what your competitors aren’t doing

This takes a bit of research, but if you check out your competitors social media accounts you will hopefully get to see what they all do during the show. Work out where the gaps are and then start to fill them. Perhaps it is as simple as offering free refreshments, or maybe you have to utilise live demonstrations and incentives. Whatever it may be – a bit of research goes a long way! Communicating your findings to your exhibition stand designer will help them incorporate all the must have elements into your booth.

Give your customers a place to recharge

This does not just refer to charging mobile phones or ipads, but also recharging their own personal batteries by offering comfortable seating, free wifi and refreshments. Trade shows are tiring, so by offering a place to relax and chat comfortably, you can be sure you will have a number of attendees dropping by to make use of the facilities. Setting a few products next to comfortable seating, encourages people to pick them up and learn more about what you do.

Get the Look

Buyers are attracted to impressive booths or exhibition stands which are memorable. Use bright colours and really put thought into the design of your booth. It will make all the difference between visitors stopping or walking by. Make your messaging clear and able to be seen from every direction as well as near and far. Think about incorporating some digital elements to your stand. Whether it is the installation of a lighting display to grab attention, or information that visitors can download onto their smartphones during the show, give your visitors something to interact with. Touchscreens also work well here, or perhaps use technology to generate an experience. LG demonstrated this really well during the IFA exhibition by streaming animation over 200 televisions formed into a tunnel which visitors had to pass through.

Everybody loves a freebie

Promotional products and branded gift giveaways are staples at trade shows, but choosing the right product is crucial because you want your visitors to keep the product and be constantly reminded of your company. In order to do this, you need to make the product relevant and it must be of some value/interest to your visitor. Yes, everyone needs a pen, but do they really all need or want a ceramic mug? Look into social trends and answer needs which provide a useful product – perhaps a re-usable & compact travel mug to answer the growing call to reduce paper waste, or some form of storage device or perhaps an attractive, good quality reusable bag which visitors can collect information in. If the giveaway is on trend and visible, show visitors will make an effort to find out where they can get one.

Get Interactive

This covers a multitude of sins, competitions for high value items such as iPads or televisions for example work better when targeting a larger audience, especially if it is an item which will be awarded to a visitor during the show. Alternatively, make part of your stand interactive, whether it is a challenge or quiz to be solved, or perhaps a unique photo point to invite people to take selfies and post on social media. Featuring a live social media wall will court interaction and encouraging visitors to leave comments or thoughts on a topic related to your industry, product or stand. This will give you marketable material in show and out of the exhibition hall too. Where possible, make sure people can test products or have space to lay a potential range selection out so they can see what works for their store. There is nothing worse than seeing Buyers scrambling on the floor with their product selections to see how it all looks together.

Create an Experience

If you can’t display your business offering in an interactive way, consider creating an experience. Charity Water executed this on one of their stands to give visitors a practical example of how hard villagers in developing nations have to work to get water. By inviting visitors to carry 40lb of water across a 50 yard platform, they created an experience their visitors were able to connect with.

Encourage Team Competitiveness

Sales people by their nature are competitive and rise to a challenge, so set up a challenge between your team members to see who can generate the most amount of leads, or interest in a certain product.

In Show Offers

It goes without saying that by offering a discount or special offer at the show which can only be purchased during the time of the exhibition, certainly helps to focus a buyers mind and aids a sale. Make sure you undertake enough show preparation to ensure this is successful by emailing a teaser or preview of what your buyers can expect to see. Make it clear that it will not be available at any other time.

When all the preparation work is undertaken, trade shows should not be a drain on resources and budget, they can be one of the highlights of your sales and marketing calendar. To find out how ESM can contribute to your next exhibition, give us a call on 01474 536 360

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