When thinking about attending your first exhibition, this can be a daunting thought. However, with careful planning and implementation throughout exhibitions will become an exciting event to plan, attend and review.
If you find yourself wondering where you should start, then we have the ultimate guide to help you feel ready for your first exhibition.
Before you dive straight in to booking your exhibition space there will be a few ideas you should carefully iron out. This is so you know exactly what it is you wish to achieve through having your first exhibition stand.
- Firstly, you need to set your objectives and goals, ensuring these are SMART. This means they need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based.
- Specific – Have a clear idea of what your objectives and goals are, this provides you with the tool to focus your efforts on, providing motivation to succeed and ensures everyone knows exactly what the aim is.
- Measurable – It is of high importance any goals set are measurable. This keeps a motivated and focus team when working towards an event.
- Achievable – Do not set yourself or the team up to fail. Be realistic and set goals that will be attainable. Whilst it is important to push boundaries and stretch the abilities of all it must remain achievable no matter what the goal is.
- Relevant – This means you need to guarantee that what you are aiming to achieve aligns with the business goals.
- Time-bound – When thinking about an exhibition you will have a clear date to achieve everything by, having a target date and milestone dates ensure everything is running smoothly.
Following these steps will ensure successfully goal setting.
Secondly, you need to identify the team you need and set a realistic budget. Without a realistic budget it will only cause dilemmas down the line when you do not have the margin to carry out an exhibition. Additionally, selecting the team during the planning stage safeguards against employees not knowing what their role will be.
Lastly during the planning stage, you need to work out why you want to be present at an exhibition. Ask yourself if this is to generate sales, networking with other businesses or to gain new clients.
The second stage of preparing for your exhibition lies within the preparation. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to establish what size stand you want. Leaving it late to book your stand at an exhibition will reduce the size of the stand you can have. Book with plenty of time to secure the size stand you need.
- Set your timescales and create a Gantt Chart for all to monitor the progress and sign of the completion of tasks. For example, tasks could be; select your tradeshow or exhibition, book your space, research design and styles of stands and select a company to produce your exhibition stand and so on.
- Lastly, think about promotional material you will need for the event such as gift bags, freebies, leaflets, business cards etc.
This can be beneficial in a number of ways; initially to provide a level of inspiration on designing your stand. Seeing what others’ previously have done can provide insights in what works well and what to avoid doing. Remember to create a unique design from the ideas taken. Secondly, it is important to establish who else is attending the event as exhibitors, so you know what to expect on the day and who to talk to.
Design and Plan
This involves considering the design ideas and concept you have in mind for both the stand itself and the artwork. It is imperative when doing so you leave enough time for any revisions which may be needed.
Furthermore, you need to pinpoint how the stand will be transported to the event and who will help build the stand.
Spread the Word
The last step in the pre-exhibition stage would be to spread the word as soon as your space has been confirmed. This is an essential part of exhibiting; you need to let the attendees know you will have a stand there. It is advisable to join/follow social media groups for the event, join in conversations and raise awareness of your business and where you will be located.
During the Exhibition
This is where the hard work can pay off, remember to enjoy yourselves and talk to as many attendees and other businesses as possible.
People will make their mind up on entering your stand within the first few seconds of seeing it. So, with such a high volume of attendees it is vital your stand is eye-catching.
The first impressions you leave on someone will leave a lasting impact on their opinions of the business. Remember, be friendly, approachable and show you are having fun, this will set you up for success.
These are a must to ensure attendees remember you when they are home. Be creative with the promotional material you are giving away, so your products stand out against others.
Product Demonstration and Interaction
Show a glimpse into your business and have fun with it, show your uniqueness. Be proud of the business and products that are on display. A tip would be to add an interactive element to attract attendees and draw in the crowd.
Network and Market
Just because you are at the event this does not mean you need to stop marketing this, promote your attendance on social media and upload photos. Additionally, get out there and network, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.
People will not remember all the stands they have visited in a day, so get in touch with the contacts generated, roughly 1 or 2 days after. Make this personalised and thank them for visiting your stand. Provide them with additional information about your stand and offer them a discount code as an incentive to take a look at your website.
To conclude, get organised, be prepared and enjoy the thrills and connections an exhibition can bring.