An exhibition stand at an event is a serious investment. Booking the space alone can cost thousands of dollars depending on the size and reputation of the event. Add in the cost of travel, staffing, promotional materials, equipment, and more and you have a sizable price tag. The only way to make in-person events worth your investment is to bring ample traffic to your booth.
As anyone with exhibit stand experience will tell you, that’s easier said than done. There are tricks and strategies to use, though, so use this guide as your playbook for your next in-person event.
A successful event exhibit starts long before the event itself. Generating buzz in advance allows you to go into the event with momentum, which can make a world of difference. From reaching out to old contacts to harnessing event management software, follow these tips to prepare for a thriving exhibition stand.
Once the event begins, attendees will be surrounded by options and competitors. You don’t just want them to happen upon your booth; you want them to be looking for it. You can do that if you generate interest before the event begins so your booth is on their must-visit list.
The best way to do this will depend on your options. Some events use an event software that lets you access attendee contact lists in advance. In other cases, you may need to get more creative. Regardless, give them a preview of why your booth will be a hotspot they’ll want to visit.
Depending on the nature of the event, there’s a good chance your current clients or customers will be at the event. One of the most common misconceptions is that you don’t need existing clients to visit your booth because they’re already “sold” on your product, but they’re actually incredibly valuable visitors.
First, simply having people at your booth makes others more likely to stop in because they think, “If other people are stopping here, there must be something interesting.” Second, when existing clients come to your booth, it gives you a chance to nurture the relationship and develop stronger brand loyalty. Third, this allows you to tell existing clients about your other products they may not yet own, so they still present an opportunity for new revenue.
Along with known attendees and existing clients, the general public should hear about your upcoming exhibition stand too. After all, you never know who might be attending and the more you can spread the word and get people excited about your booth, the better. Use social media, email marketing, or other strategies to tell the world about the great experience they can have if they pay your stand a visit.
There are numerous types of online event technology solutions out there, each with its own features and options. Take advantage of tools that help you generate buzz and promote your booth before the event. This could mean using an event app to integrate social media ads with event sign-ups and even to start booking private consultations and meetings for the event in advance.
No matter how diligent you are in laying the groundwork and promoting your exhibition stand before the event, there’s plenty you need to be doing during the event too to pull in traffic and drive success. Take advantage of these essential strategies.
At your event, your booth is competing for attendees’ attention with dozens or hundreds of others. As simple as it sounds, having an eye-catching booth design and decor will get people to turn their heads and will help your booth stand out among the crowd.
An attention-grabbing design might get people to stop into your booth, but a great environment will determine if they stay. Depending on your brand and the audience you’re trying to appeal to, craft an environment that is welcoming and enjoyable. Maybe it’s a fun, lively environment with games and music or a quiet, relaxing space – either way, make it fit with your product and your audience.
The staff you bring to your exhibition stand makes a major difference in how attendees respond and whether they explore your booth or walk blindly by. Ideally, you want people who are sociable and have the ability to read people and know how to engage with each person at their level. They also need to be knowledgeable about your business and product so they can answer questions and converse with industry insiders.
In-person events and conferences are packed with passive information – signage, brochures, pamphlets, and so on. If you can provide a genuinely engaging experience, you’ll be fielding more booth visitors than you can handle. Incorporate interactive, gamified elements into your exhibition stand, perhaps with a literal game or an interactive display.
If you want people to do something (e.g., visit your exhibition stand), give them a reason to do it. Offer incentives for visiting your booth, like exclusive tools and products, special discounts, and so on.
Social media is a valuable tool for driving traffic to your exhibition stand, and you can make use of it during the event to generate positive press. You might offer an incentive for attendees to post about your event, for example, or use corporate event software to manage your own social media posts throughout the event.
During in-person events, you want to give as many reasons as possible for attendees to visit your stand and as few reasons as possible for them to leave. Part of this includes making them comfortable in your booth with light refreshments. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive – for example, mini bottles of water, small cups of coffee or lemonade, and cookies are practical options that won’t break your budget.
Your exhibition stand should be an opportunity for people to get to know your brand. Part of your booth should include branded screenshots that paint a clear picture of your brand, who you are, and what you can offer.
Everyone loves collecting swag at in-person events, and it can be the perfect way to get the word out that your booth is worth visiting. Attendees love little freebies like pens, notepads, and stress balls. If possible, try giving away freebies that attendees can use or wear throughout the event, like hats, pins, water bottles, or tote bags. This way, other attendees will see them and head to your booth to get one of their own.
Glitz and flash are enough to make an impression in some marketing and advertising scenarios, but not at an exhibition stand. You’ll be speaking with clients who know their stuff because they’re in the industry, so you need to be able to offer genuine value and interesting information at your booth.
Exhibition stands are expensive, but they can be among the most lucrative investments too, driving connections and contacts that lead to long-term clients and profits that keep growing. It’s all a matter of learning how to drive traffic to your booth.
Along with the strategies above, learn more about the Canapii event platform and how we can help your next event thrive.