Exhibition shows are an excellent opportunity to meet, communicate and build relationships with potential customers. These events can attract thousands of visitors and you want to make sure you make an impression and stand out from the crowd so that you’ll be remembered.

Preparing to exhibit can often be overwhelming as there’s so much you need to think about and do leading up to the event. If you’ve decided to exhibit at a trade show here are a few simple steps for you to follow to ensure you have a successful and stress-free show:

1: Create a plan

Creating a detailed plan is essential. Make sure you outline what your business goals are: will you be promoting a specific product or is your aim to seek out new clients? Consider what is required for your exhibition space including design, production and materials. Make sure you book your space at the event early and allow yourself enough time to plan and execute all details beforehand.

2: Outline your budget

It’s important to establish your budget before you start thinking about your exhibition stand or the huge number of new clients, you’re going to get from it. Setting a realistic budget will decrease the chance of overspending, after all you want this to be a profitable event for you, the last thing you want to do is make a loss.

Within your budget you should account for:

  • space rental
  • your exhibition stand/display
  • travel costs
  • marketing material including printed graphics
  • advertising and publicity costs
  • staffing
  • power and lighting costs
  • stand and equipment transportation costs

3: Exhibition Stand

This is the exciting bit, it’s time to start designing a stand that really has the ‘wow’ factor. Firstly, decide which kind of stand you want to use. This is where your exhibition stand company will come in as they will help navigate you through the options and how best to make your idea work.

To make sure your stand grabs attention and is instantly recognisable, here are a few things you should consider:

  • maximise the space
  • lighting is key
  • include images and graphics
  • branding
  • experiment with different materials
  • product demonstrations
  • create an atmosphere with lights, colour, textures and layout
  • use technology
  • make it interactive

Always keep your target audience in mind when designing your exhibition stand, if you identify who they are you can focus your efforts on appealing to their wants and needs. Combining this with all the above aspects will help you to create the most aesthetically pleasing exhibition.

4. Presentation

Your beautifully designed exhibition stand is the perfect opportunity for you to tell your story, demonstrate products and sell yourself to an intrigued audience.

Once your stand has done the job and drawn them in, it’s your turn to keep them there, therefore you need to work on your presentation in advance.

When presenting make sure you use a microphone, exhibitions can get very noisy and you will be competing with the noise of the visitors and other stands so using a microphone will help you deliver your message effectively.

Always keep the focus on you, if you have any other visuals playing make sure they are turned off when you’re talking so that all eyes are on you.

Encourage audience participation as this is a great way to keep attention. Get them to ask questions and take part in demonstrations so they can see for themselves how your product works.

As always, practice makes perfect so be sure to rehearse your presentation as much as possible before the event.

5. The day of the event

The day has arrived, and your vision is finally going to come to life. Make sure your staff are briefed and everyone is in good spirits ready to interact with potential clients, the stand can only do so much the rest is up to you and your people.

Have your camera to hand and take pictures of your stand and goings on throughout the day, post live updates to social media so that people know you’re there.

Allow yourself and your team time to wander around the event, you may be able to approach new business and clients at other stands or find new suppliers/partners.

Once the event is over, follow up on leads and review your performance at the exhibition, identify what worked and what didn’t and start to prepare for the next one.

Anna Barker is the content creator for Nomadic Display.

Exhibition stock photo by Sushiman/Shutterstock