How to Create an Effective Trade Show Display
Trade shows are an excellent way for your business to get direct face time with existing and potential clients. Attendees are expressing their interest in your business simply by being there which makes it the perfect meeting place for the two of you to find each other.
Participating in an exhibition or trade show can be an expensive exercise – from paying for the space, to arranging display materials and having team members away from work to man the stand – you want to ensure you’re maximising your return on investment.
Following these steps and you’ll be sure to have a stand that is #winning.
Step 1: “Begin with the end in mind”
To channel the late Stephen Covey, “begin with the end in mind,” first think about what you want to get out of the day. Are you trying to reach a new market? Maybe push a new product? Or do you want to build up your network (and database!) with new potential clients and contacts?
Starting with the end in mind with help inform how you need to position the stand, the team required to effectively achieve this and the dollar investment you’re going to make.
Step 2: Set the Scene and Invite Them In!
Imagine you’re an attendee at a trade show, you walk into the exhibition and see hundreds, maybe thousands of exhibitors. It’s an overwhelming sight – a bit like trying to pick a body wash in the self-care aisle of your local supermarket. Place yourself in the shoes of the trade show attendee What helps you decide which stall you are drawn to? It’s more than likely you will be attracted to the most dynamic display – not necessarily the biggest. It’s the one that has a buzz about it that make people push through the crowd you’ve drawn to see what’s of so much interest.
Aim for something memorable. Think about how you can offer an experience rather than just a brochure. Maybe it’s a fun photo booth, a donut giveaway bonanza or the opportunity to see a product prototype yet to hit the market.
Branded merchandise and gifts are an exhibitor’s best friend. Everyone loves (useful) freebies so have a few different branded items on hand that you can give out throughout the event. When you do this, potential customers and connections are walking away holding a little piece of your business. It’s best to give out something that will be functional – they may keep using it and continually be reminded of you. When they rifle through their haul at the end of the day, they will see your drink bottle or pen and be reminded of the experience they had with you.
Step 3: Invest in Your Assets
Now we’re down to the nuts and bolts of your display – the banners, frames, reception desk and so on.
The best advice we have for you as a team that’s helped hundreds of clients build their display – don’t plan your stand for one exhibition. Think about the next one, and the next one, and … you get where we’re going with this.
- Aside from next month’s tradeshow, where else can I use this banner / display / desk??
- What will attract the most attention?
- Do I need to hire a truck to move the display or can it fit in my Beetle?
Investing in versatile products like pull-up banners are worth their weight in gold. Sure, they’re on the more traditional side of the exhibition circuit but don’t underestimate this old chestnut – they’re affordable, portable, cheap to ship and make a perfect media backdrop for interviews, presentations and sponsorships.
Now that we’ve covered the practical – let’s look at the big, impactful yet still practical solution – our favourite – the ISOframe Wave. This high achiever is completely flexible. Think of it as origami of the exhibition world. You can mould it into just about any shape. It packs flat and builds big. Plus, once you’ve invested in the hardware, we can easily reskin the panels.
Step 4: Take the Time to Brief Your Team
This. Your employees are your greatest brand champions. They are your brand. They are your voice. To ensure every interaction is a pleasant one, consider the following:
- Ensure your team understands the objective of the day and provide them with a briefing paper that includes your top five key messages together with a Q&A for any expected questions or queries. Also keep a notepad and pen at the stand so you can record any questions that you may have been unable to answer and ensure the enquiry is followed up by the relevant person as soon as possible.
- Enforce a no eating at your stand policy. Nobody enjoys having a flyer dripping with tomato sauce thrusted at them from someone finishing off the last bite of their meat pie. Schedule meal breaks and ensure there’s always someone to cover.
- Branded uniforms and name tags. If your team doesn’t wear uniforms, invest in some branded shirts, hats or lanyards.
And there you have it! With this strategy, your business will be the envy of every other exhibitioner at the show as you put your very best branded business foot forward.