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The Beginners Guide To Exhibition Stands

Focal Exhibitions / The Beginners Guide To Exhibition Stands
Beginners Guide To Exhibition Stands Image

From concept design, through to the build, to exhibiting when the day comes.

We’ve put together a helpful guide to assist you in the process, from considerations for choosing an exhibition stand designer that fits with your budget, to deciding on the often overlooked parts of your stand that can make all of the difference.

Exhibiting your business at an event for the first time can be daunting

Whether you’re looking to sell more products, increase brand awareness or simply connect with likeminded business in your industry, trade events and shows offer unparalleled access to the brands and individuals that you would otherwise not have at a regular conference or event.

These exhibitions occur quite regularly around the country and some entrepreneurs and business owners travel far to visit as many as they can throughout the year. As a result, they can put their products or services out there to new customers and can also network with fellow business professionals in their sector.

If you have never been to a trade show or exhibited at an event with your company before, then you might not really believe the benefit of exhibiting until you see it firsthand. High entry fees to events can often put business owners off, that is until they realise the recurring benefit that a bespoke stand and exhibiting can provide. Let’s look at ways to get you started on your path to exhibiting mastery, and provide the answers to any burning questions you may have as a beginner.

Why You Should Think About Exhibiting

First of all, let’s take a closer look at why you should think about exhibiting your company at a relevant business trade show or event. We’ve briefly touched on the fact that it can help you attract new customers and clients, but there are also so many other advantages. Here are the main ones that you need to be aware of.

  • Improve Your Relationship With Current Clients
    One thing that not many business owners realise is that going to trade shows and exhibitions can actually help to improve and build on their current relationships with clients.

    If some of your current clients or customers are there, it’s their chance to meet with you face-to-face. This will be a lot more personable than them contacting you over the phone or by email, and you can definitely use this chance to chat to them to your advantage. 

    It’s also very common for businesses to work together for years and never actually meet, so what better chance than at your own bespoke stand?
  • Meet Other Businesses That Can Help Your Own Company
    You won’t only meet with potential customers and clients at the exhibition; it’s also your chance to talk to the other business owners who are exhibiting as well.

    This is a great way to get some networking in and to gain more contacts. You never know who you may need to reach out to for help and advice in the future, so it’s always worth networking wherever and whenever you can!
  • Connect With Potential New Customers And Clients
    Of course, the main reason why so many companies and entrepreneurs head to exhibitions is so they can connect and start to build relationships with new clients. Some exhibitions and trade fairs are open to the public, so there will be lots of people who might be attracted to your stand and be persuaded to do business with you.

    You will still have the chance to meet people who might be interested in your business at exhibitions that aren’t open to the public too. It’s also more likely that you will win clients at a closed, industry-specific event too.
  • Learn About The Latest Industry Trends And Developments Exhibitions, trade fairs, and expos are always the center of the action. It’s here where you will be able to find out about all of the latest news and developments that are happening in your industry and sector.

    It’s always good to try to stay up to date with various developments, as this will help you try to stay one step ahead of all your competitors. 
  • Establish Or Strengthen Your Brand
    By attending trade fairs and exhibitions, you will be increasing the visibility of your brand. There will be more people seeing you and taking an interest in what you do.

    If you take the time to create a good stand and polish your pitch, you’ll be able to position yourself as a leader within the industry, which can really attract new customers.         

How To Attract Visitors To Your Stand

So, once you have decided that attending a business exhibition really is in the best interest for you and your business, you need to decide how you are going to design your stand.

We will touch on this point in greater detail within this guide, however as a quick overview here are some common ways that business owners both get a bespoke stand, and utilise current trends or technology to give their stand a greater chance of attracting the right types of visitors at an event:

  • Consider Your Stand’s Location
    When you do sign up to exhibiting at a trade show, you might be given the option to reserve a stand location. They are often reserved on a first-come-first-served basis.

    It is highly advisable that you do reserve a spot, though, as you can then try to pick out the best location to showcase your company. Ideally, you need to be somewhere that will get a lot of foot traffic passing it by. That way, you are maximising the number of potential people who will see your stand. 
  • Hire A Professional Stand Designer
    You could of course try to design your exhibition stand yourself and with help from your team.

    Hiring a team that are experienced in building custom stands for businesses will give you the best chance at getting the exact type of stand that reflects your brand, and makes your business stand out.
  • Think About Who Will Be The Hosts At The Stand
    You will need to have at least two hosts on your stand. Some companies send a team of hosts so that they can all take it in turns which ensures everyone gets a break throughout the day.

    It’s certainly a good for the business owner to be one of the hosts – after all, you are the company’s main representative! When it comes to the other hosts, make sure that they are chatty and bubbly people who will make everyone feel very welcome at your stand.
     
  • Offer Promotions And Freebies
    It’s also a really good idea to offer some promotions and freebies to anyone who checks out your stand.

    They can then take home some branded goodies so that they can’t forget your company name too easily. Plus, we all love free stuff and it will be a quick and easy way to put your brand in their good books!

The Best Technology To Incorporate In Your Stand

If you want to really impress people at your exhibition stand, you should think about incorporating a few different tech pieces to the design. These are often really engaging and can also show the public just how much of a modern and forward-thinking company you are.

Not sure which are the best kinds of tech to bring with you to the exhibition? Here are some of our top recommendations:

  • Offer Charging Outlets
    Is there anything more annoying than when your mobile phone runs out of juice? Probably not! So, why not offer some charging outlets that people can use.

    Attendees will really appreciate this, plus it also gives you the chance to talk to them about your company as their phone charges. 
  • Use Social Media
    Don’t forget that social media is a tech that you should always be using. Even when you are exhibiting!

    Some companies find that it is really beneficial for them to tweet along while at the exhibition so that people who weren’t able to attend can get a slice of the action.
  • Produce Video Content
    One of the most engaging forms of content has to be video. It’s perfectly fine to have plenty of written content for visitors to your stand to read, but they are likely to get bored of too much writing. That won’t be the case with video, and people are likely to watch a video right through to the end.

    You can spend some time making the video with your team, and you might also want to hire a videographer to help you ensure that it is very professional. You can then play this video on a large 80” screen on the stand space or even go the full mile and play this on a large LED video wall !
  • Give Your Visitors The Chance To Experience Virtual Reality
    This might not be a suitable option for every business, but it could be worth creating a virtual reality experience for all of your exhibition visitors.

    For instance, if you are a gaming company, then this is the perfect chance to give everyone a taster of the new game you have been working on.

    Alternatively, other companies could use virtual reality to give stand visitors the chance to experience working for them, experience their product or even fully immerse themselves in a virtual brand experience.

From Design To Build – How Does It All Come Together?

Ensuring that the final build result is exactly what you envisioned for your business starts with the initial concept stage. With the initial build phase of any bespoke project, it is important to understand and appreciate both the possibilities and the limitations that relate to the exact stand you envision.

  • Conception – Reputable exhibition stand designers will make it their mission to ensure you and your team understand exactly what can be achieved based on your ideas and initial designs. At Focal Exhibitions, we work with our clients from day one to outline a realistic and fully bespoke outcome, prior to any design or build process.

    You should expect this from any team of exhibition stand designers, and regardless of the price you pay it is of a paramount importance that goals and a finalised vision of your stand is benchmarked from the outset. Anything less can lead to unhappy business owners who are left underwhelmed with the final result.
  • Design – Once you’ve achieved a stand concept, you can expect to receive a detailed design of the stand based on the features you require, sizing and customisation, set against the budget of the project.
  • Build – The build phase is naturally the most exciting, as the designs are finalised and you will start to see your stand come to life. At this stage it can be incredibly difficult to update and amend any signed-off designs, so keep in mind that you must pour out and critique all of your ideas and requests at the concept stage to ensure nothing is missed at the build phase.

The above points may seem obvious, but if you’re new to the process it can be overwhelming and aspects are easily missed. Be sure to also consider the following points, and ask the questions to your team and chosen exhibition stand designers to ensure all areas of stand success are covered:

  • Logistics – Does your stand need to be lightweight, compact or portable? How many shows will you be taking the stand to? What kind of transportation will be needed for the stand and how will this affect the build?
  • Storage – Will you need to keep the stand close to your business for pop-up events and ease of access?
  • Integrations – Have you considered any technical integrations into the stand? Have these been noted at the conception stage?

The Pros And Cons Of Exhibiting

Some business owners think that going to an exhibition with their company is a lot of unnecessary hassle, and they opt for more traditional forms of marketing instead. It’s true that other offline ways to market your company are great, but it will really pay off if you do them while also going to exhibitions.

There are, of course, always two sides to every story and here are just a few of the pros and cons of exhibiting versus other offline marketing options.

  • Pro: Gives You The Chance To Speak Directly To Clients
    One of the biggest benefits that comes with exhibiting your company is that you will be meeting up with clients and customers face-to-face. This will be a lot more personable than simply sending them an email or calling them on the phone.

    It gives all of your clients and customers the chance to see exactly who the people behind the business are!
  • Con: Extensive Planning & Preparation
    Whilst an exhibition stand design company will naturally look after the design and build of a stand, there are plenty of hidden tasks and actions that need to be considered when either being involved in the design and build of an exhibition stand, and when taking your stand to an event.

    This is not necessarily a ‘con’ in the strictest sense, however it can be if either you or your team do not factor in enough adequate time and meticulously planned resource to ensure the below factors are well looked after.
    Factors to consider when it comes to effective time management throughout the process include:
  • Booking Travel & Accommodation
  • Staff Allocation (to factor time away from the office)
  • Production of External Marketing Material (Flyers, Graphics, Incentives)
  • Stand Logistics (if you opt against a team of designers that office stand logistics services)
  • Pro: It Gives Customers The Chance To Try Before They Buy
    If you take some of your products with you, then you can showcase them on your stand.

    Your employees can give demos of how to use them and all of the benefits that they will bring to customers. You’ll also be able to let stand visitors have a go themselves so that they can try before they buy.
  • Con: It Involves You And Some Employees Leaving The Office For The Day
    You will need to spend the whole day at the exhibition, as well as those employees who attend with you. Unfortunately, this means one day away from the office for all involved. And that means one day of not getting through important work!

    The more exhibitions that you attend throughout the year, also means more working days lost. This won’t be a worry with other offline marketing methods, though, as you can carry them out from the office.

    However, most employers think that taking an away day to exhibit their company is often worth it thanks to all the benefits it brings them!

There are many points to consider when it comes to both getting your first stand built and attending your first trade show or business event.

Having a plan in place at each step of the way will mitigate any mistakes, primarily the mistake of forgetting important stand aspects or design considerations until after the build has been completed (an all too common issue that meticulous planning will certainly help to avoid).

Whether you already have a stand, are looking for advice around attending an event, or if you’ve been looking for reputable providers and want to get in touch with a team that truly care, we’d love to speak to you.

Contact our friendly team directly via our contact form or call today on +44 (0)1663 744 066. We look forward to hearing from you soon.