Exhibitions are a big investment – but done right they can deliver huge rewards.
Exhibitions have the potential to offer a good return on investment - but only if you can grab the interest of the passing footfall.
To make the most of your exhibition stand you need to focus on two key things; attracting visitors to your stand and interacting with them once they are there. If you get it right you can expect new connections, increased conversions and plenty of new business leads.
But with everyone trying to do the same - how can you stand out?
Attracting visitors to your stand
Successful engagement starts with getting visitors to your stand. Here are four tried-and-tested attention-grabbers:
1) Entertain your visitors – It could be a Scalextric track, a juggler or even Frank Bruno. Entertainment is a sure-fire way of gaining initial attention.
2) Spectacular stand design – Don’t focus solely on conveying information about the brand and product – think about how you can make your stand really stand out. Make the design quality and choosing something really different and eye-catching, your priority.
3) Workshops and seminars – Most exhibition attendees are looking for new, innovative and workable solutions to business challenges. So, offer intriguing and well-researched topics that will excite your target audience and demonstrate that you have solutions to some of your industry’s challenges.
4) Technology – Whether it is a game, simulators, or office technology, it can do a wonderful job of attracting people. The most popular piece of tech we ever used was an F1 simulator, which had visitors queuing across rows of stands. Everyone passing by wanted to see what the fuss was about, so it gained the stand even more attention!
Engaging visitors at your stand
Once you have attracted visitors to your stand, you then need to engage them. There is no ‘one size fits all’ way to do this, instead it’s best to combine a few techniques. Here are five ideas that we have used successfully on exhibition stands:
1) Coffee – It may sound obvious, but it does work, so don’t forget this easy win.
2) Engaging staff – Well-trained, highly engaging staff can make all the difference to the success of your exhibition stand. We’ve all visited stands where the staff seem friendly and knowledgeable yet lack that extra edge which makes you want to stop and chat further about the brand.
3) Videos – Video can be a great way of capturing and maintaining attention as well as giving an overview of your brand and product or service. Include a call-to-action such as "take one of our leaflets" or "scan this QR-code to send us an email".
4) Live Tweets – Have a live Twitter feed on display. Visitors can follow you, use your #hashtag and ask questions to your offsite social media sales team – helping to engage and inform your visitors even when all your stand staff are busy.
5) Get your iPad out – Gadgets, like iPads, are a great way of gathering contact details, completing surveys and demonstrating your products. People are more likely to leave their contact details on an iPad or tablet than a paper form.
However you decide to attract and engage visitors to your stand, it is always important to follow up with your new leads within a few days. Research shows that if contact is made within three days of the exhibition then your new leads are much more likely to remember who you are, what you do, and be more willing to buy from you in the long run. If you have the resources – make the contact personal. It is so much more memorable and will do wonders for the perception of you and your brand.
Exhibitions are a big investment – but done right they can deliver huge rewards. So be sure to think carefully about how you are going to attract visitors, engage them and follow-up with them afterwards. By considering these areas at the planning stage you can expect to considerably increase your return on investment.
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