It’s certainly true that technology has forever changed the way companies interact with both their clients and their competitors. Industries have become globalised, and connections are made more easily. They are also made in an increasingly less personal way, across the interactive space and rarely by putting a name to a face.

It’s for this reason that exhibitions and trade shows offer such a valuable and exciting opportunity for a company to connect with their audience. To do so successfully, however, it’s crucial to attract and maintain their attention. From picking the perfect sales team to displaying a bespoke exhibition stand in order to attract as much attention as possible, it’s the finer details that count. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL ways to attract attention at business exhibitions and trade shows.

PLAN SEVERAL MONTHS IN ADVANCE

Without wishing to state the obvious, planning is vital for short and long-term business success. But this is especially true when it comes to something like a business event where there are goals you’re eager to achieve within a strict, static deadline. Whether it’s an exhibition or trade show, the pressure is on to make every moment count.

Every brand is different and will have varying needs for exhibition success, as well as different expectations of what that success will actually look like. As an absolute baseline of preparatory necessities, you need to identify the budget, discuss design ideas for your exhibition stand, and rally staff members together who will take part. You’ll need to train them, too. From here, you can also consider branded merchandise or freebies, as well as the all important feedback loop and how you’re going to net any potential client’s contact information.

ATTENTION WITH YOUR EXHIBITION STAND

With the sheer volume of companies attending an exhibition, it’s essential to be unique and stand out to attract the attention of potential customers. Custom exhibition stands need to have a bespoke, ‘on-brand’ design and a layout that suits your needs. 

Carefully consider the best design features for engaging passersby and catching their eye. Technology, for example, is a great way to increase engagement and provide you with a larger window for interacting with consumers. You will also want to consider the furniture you place around your bespoke exhibition stand. Forcing customers to stand while checking out your business will be much less effective than if you offer a dedicated, comfortable seating area. In offering that comfort, you secure a longer opportunity for that all important engagement.

SALES TEAM ASSEMBLE

One of the key benefits of business events is that they offer an opportunity to network with consumers and fellow professionals, therefore increasing sales opportunities and developing stronger working relationships. The make-or-break decision in this regard is the team members you choose to be the face of your business at the event. A confident, capable and charismatic professional will not only attract the attention of passersby, but they’ll also possess the skills and knowledge to keep them engaged until the end.

If the event is a trade show, your go-to team members will be sales staff, as they’ll exude the charm and “gift of the gab” needed to close sales or confirm post-event business. But if your goal is to promote your company’s diverse set of attributes, you may want to take a representative from each department to provide a more in-depth overview of your brand.

KEEP AN EYE ON THE COMPETITION

Not in a sneaky way which channels the cunning of espionage. But, you can also learn a lot from your competitors. Which aspects of their stand do attendees like? Could it work for your brand? Which elements appear off putting to potential clients? Here are a few points of good practice to consider:

  • No clutter. That means no half-consumed cups of coffee, newspapers, half-eaten sandwiches or bored support staff with nothing to do.
  • Focus on your company’s unique selling point and special offers.
  • Be careful not to have too much on display. Unnecessary noise will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons. But on the flip side, opting for a bare-bones aesthetic can make it look as though you were unprepared for the event.
  • Opt for a well-lit and visually appealing display. A bespoke, customised offering will set you apart as unique.
  • Clearly label your exhibition stand. If attendees can’t immediately tell what your company is about from a cursory glance, the chances are they’ll just move onto the next one.
  • Have a consistent theme across your displays, arranged intelligently, so they relate to each other and incorporate your branding. An odd assortment thrown together is unlikely to get you the response you want.

UTILISE SOCIAL MEDIA 

Social media is — without a doubt — one of the most vital business resources of the digital age, and it just so happens to be free. Result. In the build-up to the exhibition, it’s crucial to advertise that you’ll be attending the event across all of your social media channels. This will ensure all of your followers — and their followers if they retweet or share — will be aware of your presence and seek you out at the event. 

It’s also important during the event, as social media is vital for improving engagement and increasing your exhibition stand’s foot traffic. Using the event’s hashtag will make sure anyone following the event online will notice your posts on their feed. Even if they aren’t there to check out your stand, they’re likely to look at your social media account or company website.

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street. This post may contain paid for insertions. For our full disclosure policy visit our advertising page