Sowing the Seeds for Stand Success

Well, the clocks have definitely gone forward. Outside the sun is shining, the butterflies are fluttering by and the grass looks suspiciously in need of a trim. It can only mean that spring is in the air; and that, of course, means more exhibitions and events.

If the news is anything to go by, apparently this year’s daffodils have peaked too soon. We don’t want you to do that – so here are five top tips for taking stock of your display(s) and sowing the seeds for maximum audience attention at your next event.

1. Talk tactics
The first thing you need to be clear about is what makes you a budding catch at the event. Do your widgets wow the world more than anyone else’s? Are your price points perfectly pitched? Or is your customer service the real deal in a sector known for being less than lustrous? Whatever positively differentiates you should set the scene for your promotional mix.

2. Court celebrity
If you read our post on five steps to great exhibition planning, you’ll already know who your prospect ‘superstars’ will be at the event. So grab that exhibition A-list and put yourself in their Jimmy Choos (or Hush Puppies) – what might get them to visit your stand? It could be an amazing offer, an incentive, a present, a meet-up with someone they admire – the fact you’ve spent time thinking about them will usually be appreciated.

3. Magic mix
Make sure you get your activity sewn up for before, during and after the event. Turning up on the day is not a strategy for success, especially since research shows 76 per cent of people turn up to an exhibition knowing what they want to see. A good balance of promotions often includes the following items:

• Invitations – it’s OK to forget the finest parchment and gold leaf, but your invitation should always be personal, whether you decide to email, post or call your prospects to encourage them along
• Advertising – from simple messages at the bottom of an email signature through to competitions and sponsorship deals, there are plenty of ways you can build your association with an event; it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to get noticed
• PR – use your website, web and wires and industry publications and social media to highlight attendance; think about coinciding the event with a product launch, sales promotion or incentive; and maybe take ‘vox pops’ or video at the event so you can prolong the effects of the exhibition for months afterwards
• Interaction – tell everyone you know that you’re exhibiting, what you’re planning and why they should pop along to see you. Be loud, be exclusive but above all be interesting – and throw in a special offer or treat to really boost your chances of someone turning up!

4. Magnificent messaging
Whilst at the event, your exhibition stand and message need to be easy to work out. If people are scratching their heads, they may not get what you’re offering (or then again, they may just have an itch).
By making sure your stand has a clear theme and your brand is easily identifiable, you’ve got a much better chance of attracting visitors. Everything your company stands for is being exhibited on the show floor – in your programme, display, the team members, communications and giveaways. So check that everything feels consistent and makes a positive impression.

5. Emphatic endorsements
When promoting your products through the media, remember the important rule that “people like to read about people.” Instead of saying that your product lasts a long time, ask a customer who has used your product for several years to talk about it; let them tell the story.
It’s also worthwhile chatting with customer service or sales colleagues to ask them for details of people who love your business. It might be that you’ve saved people money, helped them solve a problem or created a special memory for them. The fact is, word of mouth is a very powerful tool and much stronger than self-praise or sales puff. So find those friends and see if they’re prepared to support you.

That’s it for now, enjoy your promotional preparations and get ready to blossom! If you’ve got any comments or ideas, we’d love to hear from you – please email us, tweet away or say hello on Facebook.

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