18 Sep, 2023

From Idea to Impact: 10 Tips for First Time Exhibitors

From Idea to Impact: 10 Tips for First Time Exhibitors

Your first time exhibiting at a trade show can be daunting. There’s so much to organise, from hiring a stand to booking amenities on the day. Don’t worry though! We’ve put together our best exhibition tips to make your trade show a success.

At Unique Exhibitions, we offer an all-encompassing exhibition stand service. We will custom design an exhibition stand, including high quality graphics printed in-house. Our service includes complete project management, so everything is done for you. If you want a stress-free trade show, request a quote today.

Here are our top 10 exhibition tips, to help you achieve your marketing goals.


1. Define your goal

When attending a trade show or exhibition, you need to have a clear goal in mind. For example, do you want to increase brand awareness, generate more leads or launch a new product? These will all require different strategies.

Goals should be SMART wherever possible. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Specific means you have a clear idea of what success looks like. So instead of ‘generate more leads’ you would say ‘generate 100 leads’.

Measurable means there’s a way to measure success. There needs to be a way to track the number of leads, like filling in an online quote form. This allows you to evaluate performance at the end of the show.

An attainable goal is something that you can reasonably expect to achieve. There’s no point aiming for 10,000 leads if there’s no way you could achieve that. You’re setting yourself up for failure.

The goal should also be relevant, which means it is connected to the business’ overall goals. If your business goal for the year is to increase sales by 4%, then you should focus on sales at the trade show.

Finally, time-bound means there is a clear time period in which to achieve this goal. The time period for your exhibition goal will be the duration of the trade show.

A SMART exhibition goal may therefore be: to generate 100 leads at the trade show for our new marketing service, using our online quote form to track and follow up on leads.


2. Research the event

One of the most important exhibition tips is to research the trade show. This will help you to decide what kind of resources to invest into the show, plus what sort of marketing materials to bring with you.

Find out who the expected audience are; are they industry professionals, shop buyers or the general public? This will change the sort of marketing material you bring.

You should also research the expected footfall at the event. This will give you an indication of the resources to invest in the show. For example, if 20,000+ people are expected to attend, then it is worth spending more. Invest in a bigger, custom designed stand (LINK DESIGN PAGE) which helps you stand out from the crowd. You should also bring a large team to cope with demand.

Finally, you should also find out who your competitors are. This will affect how you market yourselves at the event. For example, if you are a small family business going against multinational corporations, you may take the angle that you are small enough to care about your customers.


3. Choose the perfect exhibition stand

An exhibition stand can make or break your success at a trade show. At Unique Exhibitions, we create stands which help you to achieve your marketing goals. Here are some important things to consider when choosing an exhibition stand.

The first thing to consider is budget. At Unique Exhibitions, we have different packages to suit different budgets. A Modular Exhibition Stand is our most affordable option, whilst the Bespoke Exhibition Stand package is more expensive, but gives you complete freedom of design.

Next, you should determine the size of your exhibition stand. Check how much floor space you get at the show. You should also consider expected footfall. If your stand could receive heavy traffic, you might include a seated waiting area.

Finally, you should also consider branding. At Unique Exhibitions, we custom design all stands in close consultation with the business. This ensures brand colours, logos and messaging is consistent throughout.


4. Design your stand

Exhibition stand design is another critical factor to success. Design determines how visitors interact with your brand. Take a look at some of our design tips below.

Your exhibition stand should have clear and identifiable branding, so visitors know who you are. That includes clear brand colours and logos. It should also be visually appealing and make visitors want to go in.

You should consider how your product or service will be displayed within the stand. If you are taking a physical product, you should install appropriate display furnishings. If you wish to display a service, you should invest in TVs or video walls instead.

Finally, don’t forget those finishing touches that really elevate your brand. TVs and video walls make your stand more interactive. If you expect high wait times, you should install a comfortable seating or bar area, to encourage visitors to stay until a representative is free. All of this is included in the price at Unique Exhibitions.


5. Create engaging content

Your stand should feature engaging messaging and imagery. Work with your marketing team to curate text, images and videos that draw visitors in.

Text should be simple and compelling. Avoid long paragraphs that no one will read. Pick two or three main USPs to include on the stand. For example, “Flexible, affordable marketing”. This informs people what you do and encourages them to find out more.

Imagery will vary according to the brand. Some brands should use lifestyle images, whilst others should focus on product images. Our design team can help you choose images.

Remember that it’s important to be consistent at every customer touchpoint. There’s no point having a stand that promotes “Flexible, affordable marketing” only for your catalogue to reveal that there’s one option available.


6. Book amenities

If you haven’t been to a trade show before, you may not know that you have to book amenities like electricity. Get in touch with the trade show to arrange this.

If you hire a stand with Unique Exhibitions, we will do this for you. It’s all part of our service and means there’s one less thing for you to worry about.


7. Promote pre-event

Another one of our exhibition tips that is often overlooked is to promote your attendance pre-event. Try to post about the event multiple times on social media. That includes one a month before, a few days before and on the day. Remember to include where they can find you!


8. Exhibition checklist

When the trade show finally comes around, check off our exhibition checklist.

  • Make sure all branding materials, banners, and posters are ready well before the event. You should contact a designer months before the exhibit.

  • Train your staff to be knowledgeable, approachable, and enthusiastic. .

  • Prepare marketing materials, brochures, and business cards. Use tech where it’s useful.

  • Have a lead capture system in place to track potential customers. - Test any interactive elements or technology to avoid technical glitches.

  • Practice your pitch with the team, with one person playing the visitor and the other playing the representative. - Arrive early to set up and check everything is in place.

  • Set up materials within the stand, so you know exactly where catalogues, business cards etc. are.

  • Dress professionally to make a positive impression on visitors.

  • Engage with attendees actively, initiating conversations and answering questions.

  • Take notes and collect business cards for follow-ups after the event.


9. Network and collaborate

Trade shows are a great opportunity to network, due to their varied and far-ranging nature. For example, a fashion trade show might include clothing brands, retailers, labelling and packaging manufacturers. This could provide an opportunity to find a new supplier.


10. Post-event follow-up

Don’t waste your efforts at an exhibition. The impetus is on your side to follow up leads, not for leads to contact you. Make sure you set some time aside to contact leads.

We hope you’ve found these exhibition tips useful! If you would like an exhibition stand service that does it all for you, from design to installation, request a quote from Unique Exhibitions.