The 9 Best Ways to Attract Visitors to your Exhibition Stand
There are a number of ways to maximise visitor engagement when exhibiting at expos / business exhibitions and trade shows. We’ve brought together 9 of the best ways below:
- Invite all your business contacts beforehand – encourage them to come and talk to you, yes you want new business but it’s great to touch base with current clients too, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while. They’ll have a great day so you’ll get brownie points and be top-of-mind as well as sowing seeds of repeat business too.
- Create an attractive stand. This may seem obvious but is imperative. Create visual impact with well-designed banners, perhaps a screen showing your product, services or promo video. If you’re using a table, create height and interest with tiered displays and coloured tablecloths. Have beautifully presented show prizes (see point 4) and promo items (point 7) using corporate colours. If you’re using a shell scheme you could create something spectacular such as a snug with a fire or spaceship or whatever fits your brand and message. Some businesses have mascot costumes such as Hugo the Hippo and Curtis the Lion in our header photo. They’re great draws to stands for people, are mobile so can wander and hand out leaflets (or give hugs!) and make super promo photo fodder.
- Have a great show offer. Often, show promoters will push these for you prior to the event and/or in the event brochure so visitors will know about it already and will flock to your stand. It could be a complementary coaching session (Worth £100), 50% discount on your first order, £150 off your 60 inch digital signs etc. Have it framed and in large print on your table, or consider creating a special banner with the Exclusive Show Offer on to draw people in.
- Have a fabulous show prize. Nothing attracts the roving expo attendee quite like a shrink wrapped hamper of delights that they might win, especially if it’s elevated somehow so they can see it over the throngs. Have a very obvious business card bowl (we suggest a glass bowl – take along some decoy cards so you can make it look like there are already several in there at the start!) and a printed sign saying ‘pop your card in our bowl for a chance to win this fantastic prize’ or similar. What you want more than anything is visitors’ details so you can follow up after the show. NB! With GDPR on the horizon make sure you have in small print that entry into the business card prize draw is an authorization for your company to contact the entrant.
- Have some kind of edible treat to attract hungry, sweet-toothed or sugar-depleted attendees. Particularly popular are cupcake muffiny type things, sometimes with company logos on the top. There’s nothing quite like someone wandering around munching your logo – it’s like pollen to bees as attendees start to look round and see where they can find such treats. Shiny chocolates in a large bowl such as Quality Street etc work quite well too as they’re visually impactful as well as sugary, you’ll find people popping back later for another couple.
- If your product or service doesn’t lend itself to hands-on engagement then run a competition to increase time spent on your stand. We’ve done all sorts in the past, guess the number of Smarties in the jar, roll five dice and see what score you get (score gets noted down with a leaderboard too), guess the name of the cuddly office mascot etc etc. Our exhibitors have had the beepy handheld thing where you guide it along without touching the wibbly metal (we’re awful at that!), best selfie with large cut-out of office mascot (great for social PR!), driving games and all sorts of other engaging fun things. It’s all about engagement, fun and making them stay that bit longer so you can chat with them a bit more – it’ll make your stand more memorable too. Don’t forget to get loads of photos and share them on social. It’s also a great reason to get in touch a few days / week later to inform people who the winner(s) were.
- Promotional items – everyone loves free pens! Colourful branded promo items add to the visual impact of a stand and also draw in the free pen and notepad collectors of the world. One of our exhibitors gave bright pink inflatable flamingoes away last year! We’re lucky enough to have Radio Lancashire broadcast live from our expo each year. Every time presenter John Gillmore talks about the expo on air the ‘free pens’ get mentioned with a smile. Pens in particular are good because you can never have enough of them. Speaking of which, if you don’t happen to have free pens and your competition relies on either you or visitors writing something down, make sure you have a lot of pens stashed behind your stand as folks often walk off with them after using them and you’ll be pen-less!
- Crowds attract crowds. At any events there will usually be ebbs and flows of visitors at different times, if other stands around you have folks but you don’t then summon some colleagues or friends to mill around in front of your stand looking interested or if there’s just you then mill around yourself titivating the stand. One stand had a caricaturist at our 2017 expo, a very innovative idea which constantly attracted onlookers and those waiting to be depicted.
- Don’t sit behind your table waiting for people to come to you. Stand in front (just to the side) of it and floor people with a cheery hello and beaming smile, they’ll more than likely stop and engage with you. Who wouldn’t? Meeting visitors or other exhibitors on the day should be the start of an ongoing business relationship so make sure they see your passion for the business and service / product from the off. Chat and find out about them and what they need and make notes to use in your follow up emails/conversations.
We’d say that points 1 & 9 are the most important ways to attract visitors to your stand – having a well put together visually attractive set-up and smiley welcoming delegates.
Do make sure you give plenty of thought to points 2-8 too. Attending business exhibitions costs money, time and a lot of effort – ordering / designing promo items, literature and banners, getting there, setting up and spending the day promoting your hearts out – then taking down and following up of course. The more planning you do before the event, the better your chances of success on the day.
The event promoters’ job is to get the footfall, yours is to engage that footfall and make the very most out of the day, then to build on those relationships post exhibition.
Hope these tips help, have a great day wherever you’re exhibiting!