There are exhibitions on up and down the country every day of the year for every different type of business imaginable. There is the mundane 'office equipment' type of exhibition stand, a more girlie 'wedding exhibition' full of floaty fabrics and fluffy girls and there are the practical exhibitions such as household stuff.
Exhibitions are an excellent form of advertising. Marketing through a newspaper or magazine is one thing but you can't touch the item being sold, you can't feel the quality and you can't pitch your sales talk to convince any buyer. You get one shot at selling your item through the media and that is why a good advertising company are able to charge so much. It is their job to make your product or service stand out above all others for the sole purpose of increasing sales.
To get over this competitive area, many people will use a trade exhibition to display their services and products. But is it as easy as it sounds? And what exactly is involved in hosting an exhibition stand?
Preparations need to be made well in advance. First, you need to find a venue. The internet is a good place to start as are trade magazines. They will keep you updated of forthcoming exhibitions and you can weigh up the pros and cons of how far you are willing to travel to attend an exhibition. Once you have decided you want to go, apply for an exhibition stand space at your desired venue. Be aware, they do not come cheap. However, this is probably the best form of advertising you could pay out for in one year.
Of course, how far you are willing to go depends and whether or not the distance is worth it will depend quite a lot on what you are offering. A tattoo convention will draw exhibitors from all over the country because their equipment is minimal and they can take it with them, doing tattoos and making money on the day. If you are purely advertising and getting leads for a relatively local service then it would be pointless to travel too far.
So, you've chosen your venue. Next, you need to let people know you will be there. Yes, I know, another lot of advertising expense but the pay back from people actually being able to meet you in the flesh will be worth it. This is also your chance to stand out above the competition so it is always a good idea to employ the services of an exhibition stand designer. They can design a stand around your product, to show it off to its best, to make it customer friendly, inviting and comfortable. We all know how these exhibitions can be tiring and lead to long days when all you want to do is sit down for a break. If you're one of the few exhibition stands with a seating area, your customers are already half way there.
Remember on the day, this is your one shot at reaching potential clients that would not have otherwise seen your product. Present the image that you want other people to see. Smart is always good as well as a degree of relaxation. Only you can judge to what degree as you know your target audience better than anyone.
Ensure you take with you everything you need. There is nothing less professional looking than fumbling around, not having information to hand and getting flustered, customers will simply walk away. Take plenty of business cards to hand out, as much information as you can to get into the hands of those that pass by and a good range of samples. And, above all else, remember to smile and enjoy the day, it will reflect in the attention you draw to your stand.
Trade expert Catherine Harvey looks at the usefulness of having an exhibition stand for advertising.