Trade shows are a great way of showcasing your organisation. If you want to make the most of the opportunity it is best not to rely on the exhibition organiser to bring people to your stand.

Here are our top tips to maximum your presence at the show.

1. Work with the Exhibition Organiser

There are a host of publicity opportunities presented by exhibitions which should be seized; the fact that you do so when most exhibitors don’t will automatically give you a huge advantage.

Get in touch with the organisers as soon as you are committed to the show, and find out who their PR agent is – they will be only too pleased to give you details of their press contacts to supplement your own. Find out their plans for the Press Office at the show.

2. Think of Techniques

Research shows that the average exhibition visitors visit about 12 stands, over the course of 4-5 hours at the show. That means that your work starts long before you get to the exhibition.

You need to think of every technique you can to make sure people coming to the show have a reason for seeking you out.

3. Pre-show, Make People Curious

Use interesting, complex mailers, with different size envelopes or postcards which make your message stand out. Give people a reason to find you.

Offer a free report, or free drink, or something that will make people make you one of their targets to see. Your list of targets should include customers and prospects

4. Competitions

Competitions can be a valuable tool to get visitors to seek you out. However, do make these interesting and challenging, and tie in any questions or icebreakers to any theme you have at the event.

Another gimmick is a card – sent before the show or handed out to visitors with a guaranteed prize – perhaps one which only becomes visible when placed under a special light located on your stand.

With prizes ranging from the cheap and cheerful to the spectacular, such low-cost promotion can be extremely effective.

5. Keep People On the Boil

Many people will be interested in your product – but may not necessarily be in a position to place an order right now. You need to keep them “on the boil”; why not invite them to come to your stand to receive or validate a discount/bonus voucher valid for the next six months?

6. Explore Opportunities off the Stand

These can include sponsorship of features, promotion in the catalogues and “daily newspapers” that many organisers offer, speaking at seminars providing articles and handouts at meetings, and even sitting on “steering groups” to advise on the future strategy of the exhibition.

7. Your Website

Your website should have details of the exhibition on the “landing page”, and most organisers will be happy to provide you with the relevant “buttons”.

Make sure that visitors know why they should come and see you at the show, and that they can then click through to register for the show.

8. Make an Impact Whilst Your Visitors Rest

Usually visitors will stay at recommended hotels, and in the past some exhibitors have slipped leaflets under doors, sponsored a complimentary morning newspaper, or even left customised messages on the TV welcome screen!

One enterprising exhibitor even left a half bottle of wine in the room of his main prospects, with great success.

9. Theme Your Stand

If you can come up with a “theme” for your stand, make sure it’s carried through in all your pre-show marketing and post-show promotional activity.

And let the Press know when the show ends just how successful you’ve been. Press releases and pictures should be available to be downloaded from your website.

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