16 Sep Exhibition Stand Design: 10 Ways to Get More Attention
Do you want to get better results from trade shows and exhibitions? Do you want your exhibition stand designs to WOW passers-by and stop them in their tracks?
Then you need to know your customers and give them what they want.
Exhibitions offer an amazing opportunity to increase brand awareness, generate leads and grow sales. But that opportunity is a short one. You’ve only 3 seconds as someone passes your stand to pique their interest and convince them to stop.
I could list 10 tricks or gimmicks to make them do that. And, for a while they may even work for you. But ultimately they will tire.
Like any aspect of marketing and sales, success all comes down to knowing your audience and developing a strategy to give them what they want and adapts to their needs.
And it’s so easy to do.
Your strategy doesn’t have to be complicated or involve some big lengthy process. Here are 10 simple ways you can attract more people to your exhibition stand. And more importantly keep attracting them.
1. Imagine your customer.
Before you ever approach an exhibition stand design company, you need to know who your stand needs to appeal to. Who are your target audience? Who will be your customers of the future?
Even if you’ve only a few minutes to spare, try quickly thinking about …
- Who is attending this exhibition?
Try and paint a picture of them – their age, profession and where they are from.
- Why are they attending this exhibition?
Perhaps it’s new ideas and inspiration, networking, information or freebies and offers.
- What problems might they being trying to solve on the day?
They might want somewhere to sit, recharge their phones or a quiet workspace to catch up on emails. Can you help?
- Where do they usually hang out? What are their interests?
Think outside the box. Try and picture what social media platforms they engage with and what their broader hobbies and interests are.
2. Have a single focus
While some of the insights you might come up with about your potential visitors may seem like small trivial facts…. these are the things that can lead you to some amazing exhibition stand design inspirations.
A simple insight, can transform how you might build a stand that would engage them. Maybe when you think about it, you’ll identify them as foodies, quirky, sporty or gadget and tech obsessed.
And what is important at this point is to focus in on the single most important insight. Don’t try and be all things to all people. Focus on one single concept or solution that your audience wants…
… be it inspiring them … making business easier … helping them connect.
Three seconds isn’t long. It you bombard people with a whole mix of messages they won’t have time to take it all in.
Having a single focus will allow your message to have real impact.
3. Your product – make it special!
Once you’ve got your focus, try and utilise every element of the marketing mix to deliver the best and most engaging experience for them.
There are 7 P’s in the marketing mix and each offers you another opportunity to attract visitors to your stand. The first of these is your product. What are you offering attendees?
And what can you add to it, to surprise them?
You may think your product is just your product. Nothing particularly innovative you can add to it.
But just look at what Nutella did… how they engaged people by turning their product into personalised gifts!
4. Your Price – discounts, freebies and added value
We all love a good bargain. Or better still, something for free.
A unique offer that attendees can only get that day, can really create a sense of urgency to visit your stand. Here are some ideas:
- A competition – An all-time favourite, this can still be really effective. And especially when it’s integrated with your overall theme properly.
- Exclusive discounts – Give a percentage discount or create a bundle deal for people who purchase, order or book on the day.
- Freebies – Give away free product samples or free gifts.
- Added Value – Samples and gifts aren’t the only thing you can give away. You can also share your knowledge. Free guides and free expert advice can be as valuable, if not more so, to attendees who are on an information finding mission.
5. Promote yourself – let them know you’re there!
Promotion is one element that a lot of people overlook. They take an ‘if I build it, they will come’ approach. Why rely solely on natural footfall?
Pre-promote your stand and make people want to seek you out!
Exhibitions don’t just offer the opportunity to reach out to new customers, they also allow you to re-engage with your existing ones. Let them know that you’ll be there beforehand.
And, having decided on your offers in the previous step, why not pre-entice them to visit by highlighting the special discounts, freebies or added value they can get.
Promotion on the day
Have someone dedicated to promoting your stand on social media on the day. And, choose the platforms that your target audiences are likely to be on.
Every event has a hashtag and a lot of attendees will be following tweets and posts on it during the day. Have a plan to regularly share fun and useful content throughout the day.
Even better, get your stand visitors sharing.
Photo booths have surged in popularity and provide attendees with something fun to share on social media. They provide a reason to talk about you on the day.
And, while I’ll be getting to the all-important exhibition stand design and build shortly, don’t forget about other clever ways to promote your stand around the exhibition centre. One of the less utilised but highly effective tools are floor graphics.
They’re highly impactful and can be used inside or outside to drive awareness and direct people to your stand. Even if you’re limited to the space right in front of you, you can use them to interrupt people and get them to look up.
6. The place – location, location, location
There’s a lot to consider when choosing your location. The natural footfall within your area, will have a massive impact on visitor numbers to your stand.
The NY Times recommended the following when looking at the floor plan in advance:
- Try and avoid low foot fall areas such as
- dead-end aisles
- areas obstructed from view
- loading bays.
- Look for locations that will have natural high footfall such as:
- Near bathrooms
- Refreshment areas
- Main exhibitions
Then you need to choose whether you want a side, a corner or an island stand space. This decision will also affect the type of exhibition stand you choose. While islands provide impact and visibility, corner stands can be very effective as people tend to pause at the end of a row before going around a corner, according to Quatreus.
Quatreus also highlighted the importance of researching your neighbours before finalising your spot. They identified three things to be aware of:
- The ‘industry swamp’… they describe this as a layout where all the exhibitors relating to the same industry are grouped together in one area. It can lead to everyone’s message getting lost as people are bombarded with the same information.
- Following the ‘industry leader’… which can actually be a great strategy. They’ll drive natural footfall to the area, which you can benefit from. And there’s an interesting psychology with being placed next to the industry leader, where attendees associate you as similar and you can position yourself as their key competitor.
- Finding a ‘complementary neighbour’… another strategy worth considering. You could position yourself next to a complimenting service and refer people to each other’s stands during the day.
7. Package yourself – exhibition stand design which have the wow factor!
And now the fun part. The way to package yourself to attract more attention to your stand. When working with your exhibition stand designers and builders you want to create clear, impactful and bold designs that will stop passers-by in their tracks.
The format will be influenced by the type of location you’ve chosen – island, corner or side stand. Pop-up and go exhibition displays are great if you’re a smaller operator or if you’re just starting out. They’re easy to build and transport. They’re cost-effective and reusable. And can still have big impact with their graphics.
Modular exhibition displays allow you to create more innovative formats, but are still easy to assemble and reuse. The pieces are broken down into modules so you can adjust the size and shape from exhibition to exhibition; creating new and exciting designs and shapes as you go.
And finally, for those key events there’s the opportunity to do something truly unique and create bespoke exhibition stands.
To create real impact, you should work with a specialist exhibition stand company to create eye catching and bold designs.
But, be careful not to get carried away and forget the basics:
- Keep the copy short and simple (remember you’ve just three seconds)
- Make the copy captivating. Pique the interest of those passing your stand.
- Choose the right font. While breaking text up with different fonts can be good to distinguish between text, be careful not to use too many. It can make it more difficult to read at a glance.
- The best message in the world will be lost if it’s not legible. Make your font big enough to read from a distance. Especially if you’re in a highly visibility area.
- Use colour to create bold, high impact statements. Colour can also affect moods and emotions. For example, red is associated with urgency and is easier to recall – which is why it’s generally been the colour of choice for ‘Sale’ and ‘Special Offer’ graphics.
8. Position your brand – stand out from the crowd. Be unique.
What do you want your visitors to think and feel after visiting your stand? Your exhibition stand is a reflection of your brand. It’s what makes you different from your competitors.
Don’t just focus on getting people in. Focus on the experience you want them to have when they’re there. How are you going to engage with them?
If you’re a fun brand, your exhibition stand should reflect that. If you’re an innovative brand that is at the forefront of new developments, that should be reflected in your stand. If your point of difference to your competitors is customer service – make sure they receive outstanding customer services while they’re there.
Which brings me to the next point… your people.
9. Your people – your most important asset.
The team who will be manning your stand are your most important asset. Engaging team members who are friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable can make all the difference.
Staff should be dressed appropriately –not too casual and not so formal that they intimidate. Branded t-shirts are a great way to make sure your staff are clearly identifiable and can be used to reinforce your key messages.
Staff should be provided with the information to answer questions and ideally the tools to resolve existing customers’ complaints or problems, there and then.
How often have you spoken to someone at an exhibition stand and they’ve advised you on who to call and what to do to resolve your query? How often have you queried something and had them call up billing or whip out a tablet to deal with it for you?
It’s the difference between good and great customer service.
10. Listen and Learn
And finally. Listen and learn.
Use this opportunity to get honest feedback about your brand and product. And save yourself a fortune on market research and focus groups.
Find out what your visitors are interested in. If you’re capturing their contact details, find out which products and services they’d like to hear more about.
Ask them for feedback on your exhibition stand. And learn more about who your customers are, what they’re interested in, why they’ve attended the exhibition and what problems they want to solve.
If you take this information into account when planning your next exhibition, it’s sure to be even bigger and better again.
If you’d like to find out more about exhibition stands, or you’re looking for a quote to design and build your stand, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01744 661 404.
Keith Hughes is Managing Director of Vinyline Graphics, one of the most innovative graphics and signage companies in the UK. Keith has been in the industry for over 30 years, starting off as a tea boy and Pimbletts pie runner for the company his dad Ken started over 35 years ago.
When Keith’s not steering business strategy for Vinyline Graphics he likes to spend time with his family up in the Lake District, walking and relaxing. Keith is also actively involved in raising money and awareness for the Steve Prescott Foundation and a very keen team squash player.