How to make your first exhibition a success

Embarking on your first exhibition is an exciting and significant step for your business, providing a platform to showcase your product, connect with your audience, and promote your business with a wider audience. But there’s no denying that it’s a mammoth task. Get it right, however, and you could be reaping the rewards for many months. We’ve outlined a few pointers to make your first exhibition a raging success. 

What’s your purpose?

There is no better place to launch a product than at an exhibition – not only so you have access to your desired audience, but you get to address any queries immediately, and it may even mean some free media coverage. But, before diving into the logistics of running your first exhibition stand, take a moment to define the purpose of your exhibition clearly. What do you want to achieve? Boost your brand awareness? Launch a product? Are you looking to network with other businesses or want to increase your credibility? Talk to colleagues to get a rounded view – what do they think is important? With your purpose strong in your mind, you’re in a better position to make your first exhibition a success.

Plan, plan, plan

It’s never too early to start planning for the event – you’ll need plenty of time for preparations. You never know what challenges might crop up (and they will) so it’s always good to be as prepared as possible. It’s worth doing a brainstorm at this stage to ensure you’ve considered all the costs. Make sure your plan includes a budget and how much you’ll allocate for each element of the show, such as lighting, equipment hire, exhibition stand design etc. 

Create a timeline of things to do before the event including tasks such as organising a stand supplier, creating or selecting a stand design, then consider your products, arranging logistics, promoting the event – get in all down so you know exactly what’s what. A well-thought-out plan will help you stay organised and reduce last-minute stress. 

Select a venue

When considering your first business exhibition, venue and location are key factors.  Perhaps you have a venue in mind already. If not, now is the time. What exhibition events are coming up that suits your business? Where are you likely to have the most impact? Choose a venue that aligns with your business and attracts your target audience. Ensure the space is as accessible as possible and there’s good footfall. Before you approach the venue, have questions ready – how will they generate publicity? What’s the estimated turnout? How will the venue benefit from your exhibition?  The visitors at any show depend on the type of exhibition it is so ensure the visitors fit in with your customer demographic. 

Create a professional stand

Now the preliminaries are taken care of, you can do the fun part – get creative. Working with an exhibition stand provider to create a stand that best showcases your product and effectively communicates your brand values is one of the easiest ways to make the most significant impact at your first exhibition – so hit the ground running and use a company that has the skills and expertise to create the exhibition stand you’ll be proud of.

Choose your exhibition stand design carefully to reap the maximum benefits. When planning your stand design, consider factors such as location, size, lighting, and ambiance (ensuring the venue has the necessary facilities for displaying your product effectively). 

Consider live demonstrations, talks and conferences when planning your exhibition stand, which can work better than any marketing gimmick in demonstrating your expertise. You can conduct Q and A sessions, demonstrations, and trials to give your audience hands-on experience with your product, hopefully resulting in more leads and sales.

Embracing technology can expand your reach beyond the physical event. So, don’t forget to plan in interactive elements that enhance the overall experience. Consider incorporating digital displays, virtual tours, or interactive elements that engage visitors in a unique and memorable way. 

Finally, establishing a theme, be it a colour, or idea will give your business a cohesive narrative, making it more engaging for visitors.

Get the word out

Utilise various marketing channels to create awareness about your stand at the upcoming exhibition. Leverage social media, create a dedicated website or blog, and reach out to local businesses and communities. Don’t forget to design and print promotional materials that reflect the essence of your exhibition.

Engage

Every exhibition creates the opportunity for businesses to present their offerings, promote their goods and services, and nurture new connections – whether potential clients or new business alliances – the power of face-to-face interactions can’t be understated. But they can be so much more – with major brands and your competitors showcasing alongside you, exhibitions can be a melting pot of ideas, offering insights into industry trends and competitor strategies, highlighting areas for your own innovation. They can even spark ideas for future collaborations.

At this stage you’ll want to ensure that any connections and contacts you make at the exhibition don’t just disappear into thin air. You can get to know your target group and even extract vital information from them by asking them to conduct surveys or fill in a brief form with their details, in exchange for some goodies/refreshments. This way, you can get an insight into your target group and get a preview of what their preferences are. This data can be used to reinvent the product or marketing strategy to create one that appeals to your target audience.

Think beyond the event

Once the exhibition is over there’ll be no time to relax just yet. You need to take this opportunity to action some of the referrals or feedback you’ve received. This valuable input can help you understand what worked well and identify areas for improvement in future exhibitions. Use the feedback to refine your process and enhance your approach to future events.

The surveys your visitors completed is valuable information. They give you the information you need to contact potential customers and follow up on some of those leads. Using this information can help you better understand your customer – pivotal in tailoring your marketing strategies and innovating based on genuine feedback. 

The atmosphere, the buzz of conversation, and the possibility of instant feedback that a big exhibition offers your business is an unparalleled advantage. It’s a space where you can explore potential collaborations, refine your strategy and solidify your industry presence, making them invaluable avenues for growth and connection. 

But it’s not all plain sailing. Making your first exhibition a success requires creativity, strategic planning, and effective promotion. By defining your purpose, planning ahead, selecting the right venue, and engaging with your audience, you can create a memorable and impactful exhibition that sets the stage for a successful exhibition. Remember to learn from the experience, adapt to feedback, and refine your approach for future exhibitions.

Get in touch today for help to make your first exhibition a success.