Exhibitions are an excellent way to build relationships with potential customers and gain experience of selling your product in a competitive environment.

However, competing at trade shows can sometimes be difficult. There are tons of activities taking place at every exhibition. Lights, graphics, giveaways and other distractions that can potentially keep attendees away from visiting your stand. So, how do you stand out in a busy exhibition hall and catch attention of valuable leads?

Exhibitors are always looking out for effective ways to beat the noise their competitors create.

1. Contact attendees

Ask show organisers for a full list of attendees who registered for the event. Make sure you contact attendees and create a buzz a couple of weeks before the exhibition starts. You can send them a personalised email asking to sign up for a one-to-one meeting or an invitation to meet you and your team at the show. Follow-up with a friendly email a couple of days before the show. Mention any giveaways, competitions and stand activities you will be hosting on your stand. This will create excitement and encourage visitors to stop by.

2. Remember your existing clients

Don’t assume that your existing clients will visit your stand. Their time is limited, so make sure they have a good reason to see you. One way of doing this is to offer valuable giveaways. It’s highly likely that their bags will be full of pens and key-rings that will probably land in a bin straight after the show, so make sure you give them something worth keeping like portable charges or reusable coffee mugs. You can also offer discounts on your products or services. This will reinforce the existing relationship and will make your clients feel more valued. And don’t forget to spread the word by changing your email signature! Use the show logo and your stand number to gain some awareness among your existing contacts.

3. Promote before the show

Marketing your exhibition presence can make a big difference to the number of your visitors. Join in the online conversations using official event hashtags and keep an eye out for any posts and comments that you can reply to and engage with. If your stand will feature interactive games, product launches freebies, hot beverages or cold refreshments, make sure you tell everyone! Remember that your social feeds should be regularly updated before, during and AFTER the exhibition. You can also send e-newsletters, write blog posts and advertise on relevant websites and in magazines. A lot of attendees plan their day in advance and arrive with a fixed agenda. The more attendees see your promotional material before the show, the more likely it is that they will look for your exhibition stand when they arrive at the venue.

4. Reward your staff

Successful booth staffing is really important and it can change your whole exhibiting experience. Your staff need to convey the right impression of your company and they have to be professional, friendly and confident to draw in visitors. Consider rewarding your staff for good performance. This will help your staff stay energetic and driven throughout the day. You can also run a friendly competitions for your staff, whoever registers the most leads gets a prize. This could be a voucher to a restaurant or a paid day off. Make your objectives clear and let your staff know how the company will benefit from the exhibition. Your staff will be much more motivated knowing the importance of the show and how much you’re investing.

5. Provide a relaxing space

The buzz and chaos of events can be overwhelming for some visitors. Attendees are constantly bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages and sales pitches. You can attract visitors to your stand by providing a relaxing and welcoming environment. Keep your stand simple and easily accessible. Try to include comfortable seating areas. Attendees are more likely to stop by if your stand provides a space where they can a take a break from the show. Offering hot drinks, like coffee is also a great way to attract more visitors and gives opportunity to engage them in conversation.

6. Be visual

You should start planning for exhibition at least 4 to 6 months before the show. Together with your team set realistic objectives, create a schedule and plan all activities. Choose an exhibition stand supplier that will design and build a beautiful and effective stand. Unique design, bold graphics and striking content are essential to making your stand as noticeable as possible and driving more traffic. Make sure your stand is visible from down the aisle and it communicates a clear, enticing message that captures people’s attention.

7. Have a strong brand identity

Brand identity has come to mean so much more than designing a logo and ordering some personalised letterheads. It means finding a way to express your core values and company aesthetic in a way that attracts customers and creates a memorable image.

For many exhibition visitors this may be their first time hearing about your company, which means it is quite possibly your first and only chance to make a lasting and professional impression.

8. Provide an interactive element

Over the last decade technological options for exhibition stands have diversified drastically. This means that you will likely be in a minority if you haven’t invested some time in creating a way for customers to digitally interact with your product.

The range of interactive technology available for exhibition stands has grown exponentially in recent years. With branded digital games, augmented reality, social media and digital surveys prompting countless inventive and engaging possibilities, you will have plenty of opportunities to make your stand memorable for visitors.

One final lesson to remember is that nothing will put off visitors to your stand more than overly aggressive salesmanship. Think of exhibitions less as opportunity to sell individual products, although this may still happen, but instead as a chance to sell your brand as a whole.

Studies have shown that positive cumulative returns can take up to three months to appear after attending an exhibition, but that they followed by continued long-term positive returns and increased product awareness and interest.

If you want to drive more traffic to your exhibition stand, just follow these 8 simple steps. And remember that exhibition success can be achieved through careful planning and creative design.

If you need assistance with setting up an effective exhibition stand that will attract attendees, Skyline Whitespace offers an excellent range of portable displays and creative modular and custom exhibition stands.