Participation in an exhibition can be a significant investment for your business. It’s important to consider every angle to make sure you get the best results.
From pop-up banners to small exhibition stands and modular exhibition stands to complex bespoke creations, they all matter as part of your marketing campaign.
Making your exhibition stand the best it can be will attract visitors and potential customers. It’s also a great flag-waving exercise to signal your position in your chosen markets.
So where should you be focusing your efforts?
There are a number of important issues and creative ideas to consider in terms of exhibition stand ideas, from the look of your exhibition stand to how you will interact with your visitors.
It’s important to stand out from the crowd, but always in a way that reflects and enhances your corporate image!
#1 – At the very beginning
Think carefully about what you need in terms of space and location at the exhibition, sometimes near eating/drinking facilities can be a great choice! How much space do you need or can you afford?
The biggest isn’t always the best. Empty space can intimidate visitors – we’ve all seen people walking around the periphery of an exhibition stand! Sometimes, a small exhibition stand space opens up more opportunities for direct communication and interaction. Think about what you need in terms of meeting spaces.
Plan it out
Have a strategy that incorporates all your exhibition stand and event requirements. This will ensure you make cost-effective decisions in terms of exhibition and support materials.
A modular exhibition stand might be the right choice for you, allowing you to reconfigure for different future exhibition spaces. Many of these can present a clear impact as a bespoke design.
#2 – Make the most of the run-up to the event
Exhibitions and trade shows don’t just happen. They are usually planned months or even years in advance. An important exhibition can provide a great hook for your marketing campaigns and a reason to interact with existing and potential customers.
Work towards the exhibition with pre-show publicity. Email promotions such as a ‘save the date’ can provide a good starting point for an email campaign to existing and potential clients.
Remember the impact of social media on your exhibition stand
Make sure you publish a banner on your website and even consider adding the exhibition to your company email signatures so you optimise awareness of your attendance. Don’t forget your social media channels! Why not create a hashtag for the event?
Use the exhibition manual effectively
Liaise with the show organisers and the trade press; those who will be covering the exhibition will usually be indicated in the exhibitors’ manual for the event.
Think about sponsorship for your exhibition stand
There will be a range of additional opportunities to promote your business during the exhibition, from lanyard sponsorships to exhibition printing.
Evaluate these and incorporate them into your exhibition budget, where appropriate. Also, consider using your attendance to make appointments to talk to existing and potential customers on the exhibition stand.
#3 – Make a creative impact
Exhibition stand design is a specialist skill. If you want to make the most of your investment, it’s worth consulting the experts and seeing how your exhibition space, budget and aspirations can be brought to life.
Exhibition stand designers will work to reflect your individual brand identity and create an eye-catching space where your people can work effectively, with the right backdrop using large format graphics.
Creating a formal meeting space may or may not be part of this requirement, and can also take up a lot of your floor space. Good exhibition designers will help to optimise the usage and encourage visitors from the exhibition floor.
The value of wide format print
Let them bring imagination to the exhibition stand design party – elegant wide format print can create a sweeping and coherent effect, and they will be able to advise on how best to apply new and effective techniques and finishes for an enhanced look.
Make sure your unique exhibition stand, be it modular design or bespoke, reflects your business ethos and the messages you want to convey to the visitors attending the event.
If you plan product launches, demonstrations or other on-stand events, make sure your exhibition designers are aware of how you plan to use the stand so they can create appropriate spaces.
#4 – Keeping it simple
Remember that whilst the presentation of your graphics is very important, people have to understand what it is that you do at a glance. Keep your messages simple and withstand the temptation to tell people everything!
It’s a great idea to keep any text short and to the point, using simple statements. People respond to people, so images of people and products together work best to capture attention and optimise the attraction of your exhibition stand!
#5 – Bring the exhibition stand to life
Wide format print graphics and excellent imagery will play an important role on your stand, but don’t forget about the potential for video and animation. A dynamic AV presentation and interactive design will engage visitors and attract attention to your exhibition stand.
Interactive displays as part of your exhibition stand design ideas will help communicate with visitors. Not just the traditional corporate video running on a screen in the corner – consider informative slideshows, and product presentations and even incorporate handheld devices like iPads to convey your messages. Moving images in exhibition halls are very powerful too!
#6 – Make some real news on the stand
New product launches and other informative/educational messages will help you drive more traffic to your stand. Make sure you advise your customers, and also inform the trade press; they will focus on news and new products launching at the exhibition to attract visitors’ attention and more leads.
#7 – Games, giveaways and competitions
It may sound corny, but exhibition games and competitions can create a real buzz around exhibition stands if you choose stand ideas that are suited to your target audience. They can attract and engage. If you offer a prize worth having, the results will surprise you!
People love a freebie too, but make sure it’s something with use and/or value, and don’t forget to use social media networks to draw attention to and promote your initiatives in the run-up to the exhibition to entice visitors.
#8 – Incorporate live demonstrations
You’ll create an atmosphere and a buzz around your exhibition stand, and attract more attention. In addition, you’ll get a live opportunity to demonstrate the key advantages of your products and services.
Make sure you work up a professional presentation with real application information and consider private showings too for invited guests.
If your product or service allows it, consider interactive demonstrations on iPads or tablets, easily accessible to exhibition visitors. It’s a great opportunity to tell people more about your business and to encourage active engagement. It will also work for lead generation.
#9 – Don’t forget the floor as an exhibition space
Most exhibitors do! Floor graphics enable you to extend the amount of display space on your exhibition stand. There are even photo flooring systems that have a massive impact and appeal to create an immersive experience.
#10 – Be friendly and welcoming!
Invest in staff training sessions to help. Make sure your exhibition stand personnel actively engage with passers-by and visitors to the stand – there’s nothing more off-putting than those manning the stand having their own conversations – or even worse, using their phones and ignoring the visitors. It does happen!
Don’t pounce on visitors but make it clear you’re there to help. Invite them to demonstrations or ask about any aspects they may be interested in. Don’t forget to create a call to action – and then follow it up after the exhibition.
A blanket email doesn’t cut the mustard – make sure you’ve gathered information so you can make a personal response.
#11 – A couple of additional exhibition stand ideas
How about working at height? Eye-catching high-level banners above the show floor could get you noticed in a busy exhibition hall, or banners at suitable locations. Talk to the exhibition organisers about what is possible and what costs are involved.
Don’t forget your lighting – research suggests that appropriate lighting can increase awareness of products by up to 50%, and make even a small exhibition stand much more appealing to visitors.
Last words on exhibition stand ideas
Have fun and best of luck! If you have experience in the exhibition industry with successful exhibition stand design and implementation, how about taking this opportunity to share your great ideas for exhibition stands and exhibiting success with others just starting out? Use the comments section below to let us know.