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Planning for success: 5 trade show essentials

Business exhibitions can offer great exposure, engagement and marketing opportunities for organisations who plan ahead and make the most of them. From the moment that you decide to reserve a stand at an exhibition, however, you must put a plan in place to get the maximum out of your investment. This brief guide will get you started.

1. Get the right spot

Early bird bookings tend to attract the best prices for exhibitors and also the widest choice of pitches. Choose one which will see heavy footfall, is well lit and in an obvious gathering space and which is located away from corners. The right spot will put your stand naturally in the way of the maximum number of visitors. Choose a layout that will allow you to mingle with visitors, include a seating area and any displays that you need to get your message across.

2. Plan your stand

A good exhibition stand design will reflect your brand, make it clear what your business is about and attract visitors… all in just a few seconds. Use a professional exhibition stand designer to ensure that the graphics are produced in the way that the printer needs. Liaise carefully with your printer to determine the best spec for your stand and to ensure that the bleed, crop and colours are all saved out in a way that is appropriate.

3. Consider outsourcing to an exhibition stand contractor

You could also use a specialist agency to produce everything you want for your event – from a stand with the right lighting, dimensions and interactive graphics, through to the correct stand furniture and layout and the marketing literature and giveaways that you may plan to have on the day. Using such a provider will give you access to expertise and may ultimately save you money, as an experienced contractor will know exactly which things work – and which don’t.

4. Staff the stand well

Make sure you have your best sales and development staff ready to attend the exhibition on the day and give them clear roles. Have some on the stand itself and some circulating through the exhibition and attending talks and other opportunities to engage with business representatives and leads. Avoid over-manning your stand, as it can look intimidating.

5. Set objectives

Know exactly why you are attending the exhibition and have clear KPIs and objectives for the event. These may be soft measures such as brand exposure or hard measures such as sales and sign-ups on the day. Communicate expectations accordingly to the team and make it clear what their role will be in achieving these objectives. Give them the necessary training, scripts and support that they will need to carry out their roles, and have a senior manager on hand to deal with any escalated or complex queries.

With time, planning and careful management, your exhibition attendance could result in some valuable wins and could provide a fantastic offline marketing and communications channel for your broader customer engagement activities.

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