Make The Right First Impression At Your Next Trade Show; The Visitors May Not Give You A Second Chance

Whether an upcoming trade show would be your first or the 100th you’ll be participating in, you cannot take things for granted. Making a killer impression may have been easy at your last exhibition, who’s to say that the next one won’t turn into a big disappointment? You got to get it right; there’s no other option. Here’s how you treat every show differently and prep up:

You play by their rules and take the back seat for once: Well, it’s your show, agreed, but the organizers may have some rules in place. Respect them. When broken, the very same rules will show you in a bad light, flushing all your efforts down the drain. It’s not about losing control, but making their rulebook a reference point won’t hurt, while you are busy getting the booth designed and sending over the invites. And yes, if the event warrants a dress code, stick to it.

If you ignore the audience, they’ll play hard to get: Your booth design should be in sync with your target audience or better still, in sync with their mindset(s). Of course, it’s very much your booth, but you are out there exhibiting for the audience. For instance, if you are targeting the millennials, something old-fashioned would hardly be enticing; they’ll be more than happy to give your booth a miss. On the other hand, if your stand figuratively shouts that it’s youth-oriented, they’ll come in hoards and bring along more people than you expect to handle. The youth, in general, is impressionable; act while you can.

Don’t be so full of yourself: Imagine coming across a booth where the staff is all making merry – someone’s eating, others are drinking, while the rest of them are too busy to talk to you and would rather engage in a telephonic conversation; would you rather not head over to another booth? Exactly! The visitors will do the same. Do you get the drift?

Be messy at your own peril: Is the “scribbled-all-over” notepad from yesterday’s event still at your front desk, or have you been naive enough to hide the giveaways in plain sight? Either way, you would succeed in making the first impression, but a really bad one. Hide the clutter. Don’t obstruct the view of the audience or knowingly give them distractions to look at, while you make every possible move to divert their attention to your products and offerings.

Don’t be caught unaware: You want the visitors to come over to your booth, right? Then act like it. Prepare your staff for face-to-face interactions and have an elevator speech handy. Use technology in a possible way and do anything and everything you can to make it clear that you were expecting them indeed.

In the end, it’s all about understanding that there are other booths at the exhibition, and unless your first impression is good enough to lure the audience, you’d be losing out on quite a few leads. Be punctual, act like you know it all but be receptive to feedback because the visitors could be vocal about their experiences, and more importantly, start the preparations well in time.

Successful Exhibition Stands Have A Lot In Common. Learn And Adapt!

When at a trade show, the visitors may be busy finding answers to a different set of questions than you – while you may be busy qualifying leads, they are often seen wandering from one booth to another, spending merely 8-10 seconds before they decide to walk past – many are on the lookout for freebies, agreed, but others are just finding a good booth to be at. And how do they ultimately find one? Well, the answer lies within these constants:

Visuals That Attract

WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get, right? At least this is what the visitors believe; for them, if your stand looks good, you definitely have something good to offer, and once that’s been established, they’ll come in huge numbers. So, successful exhibition stands to invest in good visuals or graphics, whatever you want to call them. The idea is to stand out and attract the visitors; it really doesn’t matter if it’s a shell scheme or a custom stand, you can make it look good – you don’t necessarily need to break the bank, rather find a designer who can work around your budget and come up with a visually appealing stand.

No Ambiguity

Unsuccessful stands go overboard with the visuals and often miss out on the need for clarity, while the successful ones don’t. An architectural marvel is a sure shot way of attracting the visitors, but once they are there, they’ll spend only 3-4 seconds to digest the available information. And if within that timeframe, your visuals and/or signs fail to communicate what your business is about, they’ll leave.

Here’s what successful stands do to ensure that the visitors stop to find more:

– They make sure their copy is legible and more importantly, easy to understand. Technical jargon is a big no-no unless it’s an absolute necessity.

– They don’t overkill – 20 characters/5 words max per wall or something along similar lines. A bit too much information is a major put-off.

– They may embrace brevity but clearly communicate what all products and services they have on offer.

Valuable Literature

Once the visitors decide to stay, even if it’s for a short while, they must be provided with more information so as to pique their interest. While some stands bombard them with information, all thanks to the overzealous sales staff, out there to make a mark, others splash the walls with their entire knowledge bank. None of them succeed. The successful ones get leaflets/flyers printed for the visitors to take home. Some play smart and go digital with the information, providing the visitors with a link or QR code to fetch.

Samples or Discounts

Those who succeed at trade shows and exhibitions know what the visitors want; others do not. Successful stands are often flocked by visitors because they offer free samples. Those who are not able to do so because of the nature of their product(s), go the extra mile and give discounts. Either way, they are in a win-win situation.

No Place for Boredom

If your stand can keep the visitors entertained, it’s a success, if it can’t, it would fall flat – as simple as that. Trade shows can be quite tiring and some stands add to the anguish – with boring presentations and dry demos, they ward off the visitors sooner than expected. The successful ones, on the other hand, keep them entertained with virtual reality, gamification and what not.

Additionally, stands that succeed are manned by friendly staffers, and do not turn a blind eye to the needs of the mobility-impaired visitors; in other words, they are accessible to one and all. Success at trade shows is easy to achieve; some stands get the drift, while some don’t. Which side are you on?

A 3-Step Guide To Choosing The Right Spot For Your Trade Show Booth

More often than not, trade shows are driven by one common motive – getting the maximum number of people to visit. And when you have a booth out there, at any of these shows, that’s exactly what you aim at, right? Isn’t it because you know that the more traffic you drive to your booth, the better are your chances of collecting leads and acquiring new customers? You bet. So how do you do it?

– By decorating the booth and making it visually appealing?
– Or with promotional baits?

Either way, you may or may not succeed, unless of course, you have chosen the right spot for your booth, one that stands out and gives you an edge over the others. Location, location, location – that’s the endgame. You either find the right one or you lose. As simple as that.

Here’s how you grab the perfect spot:

1. By determining the amount of space needed:

–  Why are you exhibiting in the first place? What’s your objective?

– Are you there to merely showcase your products or would you rather be interested in engaging the visitors in one-on-one conversations, while ensuring that no two visitors overhear each other?

– And even if you are only displaying your products, how many of them do you plan to take along? Will your entire product line be out there for the visitors to see, as in would you be needing multiple display shelves?

– How many would salespersons/business partners/subject matter experts be accompanying you to the booth?

Find the answers to these questions, and once you are done, choose among the following:

– Island stands: open from all sides; have their share of advantages, including being inviting enough and allowing easier entry and exit; not so good for displaying multiple products, but if you are ready to get some free-standing furniture shipped, they are worth their salt.

– Inland stands: not as inviting as the island ones, but they have three walls, which offer maximum product exposure.

– Corner stands: perhaps the best of the lot; have two sides open and attract the visitors in large numbers.

– Tunnels: or walk-through stands, whatever you want to call them, well, these are positioned in a passage between halls, and should only be chosen if you are able to take advantage of two parallel sidewalls and open sides.

Letting go of the fear of congestion

High-congestion areas may be a big no-no for many exhibitors, but what they don’t realize is that conference and meeting rooms, restrooms, escalators, and elevators, and restaurants and food stands are flocked by all or most of the visitors and a booth in the vicinity is sure to garner attention. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Also, it’s a good idea to reserve a spot closer to any of the sponsored booths – these booths often have relaxation lounges, VR tours and games and other such facilities, and leave the visitors in a happy-go-lucky mood. If your booth is where they head to next, they would be more receptive to your pitch.

Reserving the spot early on:

Good spots go off the table without much ado. Act in time. And while you are it, ask for early-bird discounts. Don’t forget to keep your checklist handy though and avoid any of the spots that:
Are just below the air conditioning vents and can limit the height of your booth

– Have some red flags nearby. Spots in close proximity to fire alarms and extinguishers may fall prey to additional rules and regulations.

– Are next to narrow alleys, which don’t leave much room for visibility.

– Pre-show marketing and eye-catching visuals are all good, but if you are in the wrong spot, no one would come your way. Sad but true!

Time is money. Here’s how you can save some at a trade show

A trade show can leave you with mixed emotions- you may be happy with the positive response you get, but all that exhaustion might make you wonder why didn’t you have more time on hands? Time is of the essence here, isn’t it? What if you could save some? Yes, that’s very much a possibility. Here’s how:

Play smart with your promotions: Think of promotional material that goes down well with multiple shows. The idea is to avoid repeating the process for every show and putting in extra time and effort. However, be sure to understand your target market and do thorough research on their age group, gender, occupation, and likes and dislikes, so as to create material that they actually want to see.

Qualify your leads while they are hot: More often than not, staffers at the booth send over random leads to those back at the office. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Qualifying your leads during the show will not only save your time but also ensure that the sales team gets only those leads that seem genuinely interested. Also, it’s advisable to get hold of a good lead collection system and a badge scanner. The former can help you collect the leads and measure their conversion rate, while the latter can come in handy if you need to keep a record of the attendees’ contact details. A good scanner would forfeit the need for writing down these details, especially for the attendees with no business cards.

Brief your staff before the show: On-site training is a big no-no. Whatever it is that you need to tell your staff – whether it’s reminding them of the basic rules like not to eat inside the booth or chew gum or imparting product-specific knowledge, do it 3-4 weeks before the show. This way you can focus on finishing touches and details when the show actually begins. If you want, you can also monitor the leads generated by each staff member so as to measure their efficiency and decide who all should be accompanying you to the next show.

Go for an easy-to-install design: A lightweight and portable display is like half the battle won. You’ll be able to set it up in no time, and would have some extra hours at your disposal for other important tasks. However, don’t forget the very purpose of your booth design – it is supposed to make you stand out, while clearly conveying your message and showcasing your products and offerings – make sure it does that. And if it’s not one of those self-build kinds, then do check with the designer if they offer storage, installation and dismantle services.

You may or may not have enough time to do everything that we have discussed; it’s better to rather choose those tasks that seem the most important – whatever you choose will save you some time for other things that would have gotten delayed otherwise. That’s a win-win!

 

In-booth Tactics That Could Give Your Exhibition Stand Design An Edge

What purpose does a well-designed exhibition stand serve for you? At best, it grabs the visitors’ attention, right? But so does every other stand out there. And more importantly, does it also keep the visitors engaged for long? Not really. So, is there a way that you could use your exhibition stand design to involve the visitors, rather than watching them walk away as soon as you are done with your elevator pitch? There is; in fact, there are a couple of in-booth tactics, which in conjunction with an effective design, could make your “stand” stand out.

Gamification

Kids love to play, agreed, but so do the adults; cash in on their love for games. Give them a reason to come and visit your exhibition booth – encourage participation through leaderboards, digital challenges and anything and everything that can add on to their experience – in the end, it’s all about experiential marketing. Let them have their moment – the moment of victory, where you announce the winner and give them a suitable reward. And you need not necessarily break the bank to incorporate gamification – there are a lot of budget-friendly options – right from quests and badges to loyalty programs. Just make sure that the results are fair and square and that they are made public, especially if you are using a leaderboard – put them up there for all to see.

Photography

A picture is worth a thousand words. Save your pitch for later; let the photos talk. Or better still, use them as a backdrop, something that could help you kick-off some engrossing discussions with the visitors. That being said, photo stations have been there for quite some time now; chances are that the neighboring booth has one. So how do you make yours more enticing? By leveraging the social media – photos make up for great shareable content and could be easily posted across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other channels – the more they are shared, the more people get to know about your brand – win-win!.

Technology

Is it feasible for you to transport all your products, even the large ones, to every trade show? Of course, not. So how do you promote these? Use technology to advantage – that should do – try and make Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) an integral part of your exhibition stand design – and worry not, you won’t be replacing the real-time experience – you would be engaging with the potential customers in a rather inventive way – something they’ll look forward to.

Product demos

Don’t be one of those ‘all talk, no action booths’; the visitors hate them. Grab every chance of showing off the key benefits of your products – give demos – let the visitors see for themselves how helpful your products are.

Gone are the days, when you just had to find one of the exhibition stand contractors, and book the biggest space – today, it’s more about identifying your target audience and thinking of some out-of-the-box ways to attract them. Once they are there, these tactics we have discussed could keep them engaged, and make them go through the decision-making process sooner than expected.