Planning an exhibition stand can seem like its own full-time job. There are so many things to consider, so many elements to get right to see the desired results.
Exhibiting requires some research and some attainable targets to be successful. Planning as much as you can around the aspects of exhibiting will help you achieve your best results. Below are some common pitfalls and traps that most exhibitors fall into, and it prevents them from the results they set out to achieve. Ensure you avoid these common mistakes and improve your exhibition performance!
- Failing to plan is planning to fail -If you fail to plan for your exhibition appearance, then you are planning to fail when exhibiting! When you decide to exhibit, you should develop a comprehensive exhibition marketing plan. This marketing plan should include all of the particulars of exhibiting, what practicalities that your stand needs to have, how it should be designed so that it is inline with your branding. You also need to plan all other aspects of your exhibition, such as appropriate marketing, managing staff and your expectations from exhibiting. At this stage it is crucial that you outline what your goals are from exhibiting, what you hope to achieve in terms of obtaining leads, contacts or sales. Having a detailed sales plan will mean that you have a greater chance of achieving success and meeting these goals. Not having a plan means that you are floundering and trying to establish what your goals are way to late in the piece, and this way you’ll never achieve them.
- Marketing your appearance - Marketing your exhibition appearance is a crucial step that most exhibitors forget to execute properly. Most exhibitors have a process that involves little communication with the attendees they would like to come and visit their exhibition stand. If you want to have a lot of attendees visit your exhibition stand, they need to know that you’re there. Make sure you establish a comprehensive exhibition marketing plan. Depending on who your target audience is will depend on where you need to put your marketing efforts. If you are attracting industry qualified visitors, then you want to develop a detailed email marketing plan. You might also investigate marketing with industry publications, especially in any publications where the exhibition is being advertised. Space in industry publications that are advertising the exhibition are valuable to attracting the right visitors to your exhibition space. Ensuring that enough people visit your exhibition space is dependent on how many people know about your exhibition space.
- The wrong staff at the wrong time - The biggest mistake you could make when choosing to exhibit is selecting the wrong staff to work in the exhibition space. Your exhibition staff are the first sales line. They need to be approachable, knowledgeable and a perfect representation your company ethos. People shouldn’t be turned away by your exhibition staff, which requires your exhibition staff to read people quickly. Ideally your exhibition staff would be members of your sales team, as sales teams are trained to identify different personalities and employ different methods of conveying information to suit the different personalities.
- Attending the wrong exhibition - Attending the wrong exhibition for your product is one of the largest mistakes that is regularly made by exhibitors, especially in the early days of exhibiting. We make decisions for a myriad of reasons and choosing which exhibition to attend is no exception. We often weigh many pros and cons to decide which exhibition to attend, especially if you only have the budget to attend one or two exhibitions a year. There are important factors you should consider so that you don’t attend the wrong exhibition.
- Selecting the wrong floor size - Often, when deciding on what floor space is best for an exhibition space, exhibitors will consider cost of the space rather than necessity of the space. Cost will drive most decisions you make as an exhibitor, but it also carries consequences with it. If cost is going to be the determining factor of your exhibition stand size, understand that there will a restriction on the products you can display. Overcrowding a small exhibition stand is not a viable option, to use an analogy it would be having your cake and eating it too. Using a smaller space because of cost restraints means that you are restricting your sales due to the limitation on your product display.
- Not investing in your best asset, YOU - These factors combine to result in a lack of investment in your company. Exhibiting is a marketing exercise that must be part of your marketing strategy, and your whole overall marketing strategy needs to support your business goals. Exhibiting at an exhibition should not be an exercise that is not stringently controlled and assessed. Proper measurement of goals will ensure that you see excellent ROI on your exhibiting efforts. Ensure that where practical you make wise investments into your company and your exhibiting efforts. This might mean investing in a bigger exhibition space, a bigger exhibition stand or improving your exhibition staffing, but it will also mean an investment in your future sales results. That’s an investment worth your time and money.
For tips on how to effectively budget for your exhibition marketing and exhibition stand click on the image below. Use our free template and get more out of your exhibition attendance.