Exhibitions can be a fantastic way of generating new leads and gaining exposure for your business. After you have spent time, effort and money into planning your exhibition – you want to make sure that you get people to your stand to engage with your brand or product. It’s a great way to increase your sales pipeline, bring in new and repeat customers, and generate sales revenue. At the end of the day, the higher the number of attendees you can attract to your stand, the more leads you’ll walk away from the show with.

Here are Identity’s top 7 most effective ways to generate those leads at an exhibition:

1. Stand design & messaging

At a glance, the message you portray through your stand should be very obvious, so give some thought into how you would like to present your brand, product, and services at the show. The appearance of your stand can mean the difference between a qualified lead stopping to say hello or walking past without a second glance. A design which creates an impact always acts as a bit of a show stopper and once you’ve got that person to stop, you already have one foot in the door. Plan your seating carefully though as you might not want some people getting too comfortable!

2. Running competitions

When people see a chance to win some goodies in exchange for their business card or contact details, it usually gets people to stop, especially if the prize is juicy enough. It also adds an extra dimension if the competition is based on a game which encourages more people to the stand to have a go. Furthermore, while people are queuing to take part in the game, it also gives you a good chance to interact with them and strike up a conversation. People will also sometimes check back throughout the day to see if the prize draw has been done or to see who the winner is. Everyone likes a bit of healthy competition!

3. Get interactive

Creating an interactive experience at a trade show goes a long way towards grabbing people’s attention by bringing in audience participation and often attracts a crowd. The use of live demonstrations, touch screens, and interesting new technologies like virtual reality are great ways of doing this. Creating that interactive experience will make you more memorable than your competitors and make you stand out worth talking about. With the large audience that this kind of experiential marketing brings, you’ll also be able to communicate with several leads at once.

4. Pre-show promotion & invitations

You could have the most captivating stand at the show, but if you don’t invite anyone to it, then you will have to rely solely on passers-by to stop. Promoting a trade show to your retailers and prospects might encourage attendance and orders that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, so it is a good idea to invite people to your stand in advance.

Another way of promoting your stand is through social media. Once you have identified your target audience, use all of your communication channels to let people know about your event (email, websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc). If you make the headline catchy, this will be a good way grab people’s attention and get people talking.

5. People & staff

Despite what people say – first impressions do count!

Having the correct people on your stand is one of the most important things to consider as they are the face of the brand you’re promoting. You should use your most experienced staff who can speak about your product or service fluently and consider supplying them with several good engaging questions. By having a plan to follow, you will then get the most out of your leads.

In addition, instead of giving away literature, offer to mail it to attendees and get their contact information so you are able to follow up with them after the event.

It’s also important to have friendly staff who the customers can interact with. There is nothing worse than a person who sits behind a desk on their phone who seems unapproachable and bored; this will only detract custom. The more energy you have in your trade show booth, the more engagement you’ll get. No one wants to talk to boring people, and even worse, boring salespeople. Awkward!

You won’t want to unman the stand either, just in case that important lead is the one left waiting.

6. Giveaways

Most people associate trade show promotions with giveaways – free mugs, ballpoint pens and other semi-useful corporate items. Over time trends have progressed, however, there is always that useful item which people like to seek out. Plus, everyone likes a freebie!

7. Follow up

Make sure you follow up your leads…and quickly. You don’t want all your hard work from the past few days to go to waste. What’s more, because your prospects are likely to have visited a huge number of stands, you risk being quickly forgotten and if you’ve really made an impression, one of those fish might bite.

If you’re planning a stand and would like find out more about our services then please email us at letstalk@identitygroup.co.uk to discuss how Identity can help.