When you choose to exhibit you are opening up your business to a whole host of potential business opportunities, but there are risks to making exhibiting mistakes. Get it wrong and not only will the event be a waste of your time and money, but it could even damage your brand.

With this in mind, it is important to be aware of the biggest exhibiting mistakes and how to avoid them. Here are the 5 we have listed:

1. Blowing your budget on your space

2. Leaving it too late to organise

3. Selecting the wrong staff

4. Covering your stand in text

5. Underspending on your stand

1. BLOWING YOUR BUDGET ON YOUR SPACE

Whether you’re working to a budget or not, one of the biggest exhibiting mistakes is blowing all of your budget on your exhibition space, only to find you have nothing left to fill it with. This is a common exhibition mistake and far too many make it. They think that a bigger space is always better and then end up exhibiting in a prime spot with only a couple of roller banners and posters for their display.

Not only will this approach mean you fail to attract the attendees you want, but as you’ll be exhibiting alongside the bigger players in your industry, your stand will pale in comparison.

Of course, you don’t want a cheap spot in a dark corner where no-one will see you. The space you choose to exhibit in will make a huge difference to the amount of traffic your stand attracts. It is important to choose a location that is going to get lots of traffic, but it also has to be one you can afford to exhibit in with a stand that announces your presence with authority. To find out more, read our guide to picking your exhibition space.

Ideally, you should aim to spend around 30% of your exhibiting budget on your space. This will then allow you to spend a decent amount on an impressive stand design that will gain attention.

The design of your exhibition stand is, without doubt, the most important element of your exhibition. It is this that will promote your brand and help you stand out from the crowd. Therefore you want to make sure you can invest properly in design features that will attract attention at the show.

2. LEAVING IT TOO LATE TO ORGANISE

Once you have decided you are going to exhibit, it might be tempting to rush straight in and book a spot at the first big trade show in your industry that comes along.

However if you exhibit without any clear focus or benchmark for measuring for your success, you risk appearing disorganised and unprofessional. Often there will be a last-minute panic as you struggle to put an exhibiting strategy together just before the show. This lack of planning will often manifest itself at the show itself, with things going wrong with the stand, the booking with the venue or staff.  This is another common exhibition mistake.

Ideally, you should allow around 9 to 12 months to plan for your exhibition event.

As well as planning what your marketing strategy is going to be, who is going to the event, and making hotel and travel arrangements, you need to allow enough time to get your exhibition stand design sorted.

There is a lot to plan for when it comes to exhibiting, so careful preparation is required in order to guarantee a smooth and successful show. This way you’ll avoid any of the frantic, last-minute preparations that is a common mistake in the exhibiting world. For more information on how to plan for exhibition success read our guide on how to organise your exhibition event.

The most important thing you’ll need to consider is the design of your exhibition stand. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to research your options so you can come up with the perfect exhibition stand design to showcase your brand.

At Quadrant2Design we offer free 3D visuals without any cost or obligation. Our in-house team of graphic designers will propose business-enhancing ideas and features based on your brand and image until you have best stand design for your exhibiting needs.

3. COVERING YOUR STAND IN TEXT

You want attendees to know about all the benefits of your product or services. But covering your stand with text as you attempt to convey all of these messages is one of the most common exhibiting mistakes.

If your exhibition stand is mimicking a brochure, with lots of words and small details you’ll be doing a great job of steering attendees away before they even enter your exhibition booth. Too many words will make your stand look too busy which will put people off.

Also, if there’s too much text on your stand it’ll look disorganised and seem like you don’t know how to prioritise properly. This is not a good impression to create.

Your exhibition stand should be similar to a billboard. Your event back-drop is there to catch people’s attention and the best way to do this is with striking graphic visuals and dynamic design features.

Yes, of course, you want to include a message that effectively communicates who you are and what you do, but make sure you keep this clear and simple.  Don’t make the biggest event mistake of making it difficult for attendees to work out what your business is about – leave the chunky text to the other marketing materials.

4. SELECTING THE WRONG STAFF

With so much planning and budgeting to consider when it comes to exhibiting, it can be easy to overlook one of your most important assets: your staff.

Ensuring the staff on the stand are welcoming to attendees should be an obvious one for exhibitors, but a common mistake is to choose the wrong staff, or not train them properly. You only have to walk around an exhibition and see some salespeople at their booths playing on their phones, eating or casually chatting to one another with their backs to attendees.

This is one of those exhibiting mistakes that really put prospective customers off. Most attendees will linger in front of your stand as they try to work out what you do and if you’re useful to them. This is the time to engage them and make them feel comfortable.

Obviously, you need to pick professional-looking and customer-friendly people for this job, but just having smartly dressed people with a nice smile is not enough. It is also important to make sure they are highly knowledgeable about the product or service you are promoting and trained in sales techniques.

No one is going to buy from a company that can’t answer their basic questions – this exhibiting mistake will make your business look disorganised and unprofessional. Give your staff proper training before the show opens so everyone is well briefed.

In addition, ensure you have enough staff to cover breaks – being on display all day is hard work.

5. UNDERSPENDING ON YOUR STAND

Whatever your exhibiting objectives, one goal you will want to achieve is a good return on investment (ROI). The exhibiting mistake some make is to reduce their “I” as a means of getting the “R”. By this we mean they try to invest as little as possible as they think this is the best way to ensure a return.

In order to get a good ROI for your exhibition, you need to generate maximum exposure to raise your brand awareness and capture leads. The most effective way to make this happen is to invest in an exhibition stand that will make an impact in the hall and give your sales team the chance to start conversations with prospective customers.

The amount of time and money you spend on the whole of your exhibition would be completed wasted if you don’t invest in your stand. But many exhibitors mistakenly believe this is the one area of their exhibition campaign they can cut corners on.

If you are going to book a large space in the exhibition hall then make sure you use it properly with a great stand design and features that create a fully branded environment. If you are on a tight budget then it is far better to book a smaller space and spend wisely on creative custom-designed stand within this space.

Exhibiting can bring enormous gains to a business, but there are no easy shortcuts. You need to be prepared to make a substantial investment of your time and money. Make sure you get the most out of your show by avoiding these 5 most common exhibiting mistakes and getting the best ROI.  For help with your next exhibition stand, call us on 01202 723 500, or email design@quadrant2design.com.