The Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Exhibiting
When you choose to exhibit you are opening up your business to a whole host of potential game-changing benefits and invaluable business opportunities. But there is a risk. 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 mistakes made by exhibitors when it comes to their exhibition. Here are the 5 we have listed:
- Blowing Your Budget on Your Space
- Leaving it too Late to Organise
- Selecting the Wrong Staff
- Covering Your Stand in Text
- Underspending on Your Stand
These are the main pitfalls to avoid. If done right, a successful exhibition can make that pivotal difference in transforming your business into a leading company in your industry. If you’ve booked a space at an exhibition show then you’ve already made a significant investment, and you don’t want to squander this.
So, in no particular order, let’s explore the 5 unbelievably stupid things you can do with your exhibition . . .
Blowing Your Budget on Your Space
Whether you’re working to a budget or not, you want to make sure you don’t blow all your costs on your exhibition space only to find you have nothing left to invest in an eye-catching stand.
This is a typical schoolboy error and far too many exhibitors do this. 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 because they have no budget left.
This is not only detrimental to your exhibiting needs but also your brand. 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 exhibition will look even more “bargain basement” 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 exhibition 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. If you book anything costing more than this then you will seriously reduce your chance of getting a good ROI for your exhibition. 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.
Just remember a great space with a bad stand will equal a bad exhibition.
Leaving it too Late to Organise
Once you have decided you are going to exhibit, it might tempting to rush straight in and book a spot at the first big trade show in your industry that comes along.
This results in businesses exhibiting without any clear focus or any benchmark for measuring for their success. They will exhibit without a well-thought-out marketing message and appear disorganised and unprofessional. Often there will be a last-minute panic as the exhibitor struggles 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.
Failing to start your event planning process early will result in a whole host of problems down the line and is one way to guarantee a bad ROI for your show. 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 are too common 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.
Although there is no right way to design your exhibition graphics, there is one big “no-no” that is universally overlooked . . .
Covering Your Stand in Text
You want attendees to know about all the benefits of your product or services, we get it. But covering your stand with text as you attempt to convey all of these messages is not only misguided but will guarantee you put off attendees.
Far too many exhibitors feel the need to use their stand to explain everything about their company and expect busy attendees to stop and read it all. Sorry, but this really is an unbelievably stupid thing do to do.
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. You’d have more chance attracting people to your stand if it was staffed by Michael Myers and Pennywise the clown.
Your exhibition stand is not a brochure or leaflet so don’t cover it in text. Too many words on your stand means there will be too many places to look, which means people won’t want to look.
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 it difficult for attendees to work out what your business is about – leave the chunky text to the other marketing materials.
Remember, your stand just needs to stop people in their tracks when they are walking around the exhibition hall. It is then the job of your staff to start a conversation with visitors and explain the benefits of your product or service. But, of course, you need to have the right staff for this . . .
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.
You’d think making sure the staff on the stand are welcoming to attendees would be an obvious one for exhibitors. But you only have to walk around an exhibition show and see some salespeople at their booths playing on their phones, eating or casually chatting to one another with their back to attendees.
It goes without saying this is going to put prospective customers off. The fact is 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.
No one is going to buy from a company that can’t answer their basic questions – this will make your business look disorganised and unprofessional. Make sure the staff you take are going to be able to handle difficult questions about your products or services. Give them all proper training before the show opens so everyone is well briefed.
One final point to remember when it comes to staffing your booth is that standing at an exhibition all day is hard work. With so much going on, and so many visitors to talk to, it will be tiring for your staff if they are having to stand at your booth all day.
This is why it is wise to always have more staff than you need on your stand at any one time. People will need breaks, so make sure there is someone there that can cover for them or take turns in shifts. It is also important to ensure that everyone stays well hydrated throughout the day and are wearing shoes they will be comfortable in.
Although these points might seem obvious they can be easy to forget. You want everyone representing your business to be full of energy and enthusiasm for the whole of your exhibition.
Your exhibition deserves your best team
Underspending on Your Stand
Whatever your exhibiting objectives, one goal you will want to achieve is a return on investment (ROI). The mistake many first time exhibitors 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.
This strategy simply doesn’t work when it comes to exhibiting. If you don’t spend a significant amount on your exhibition, you won’t attract attendees and will go home with a negative 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 spend properly on 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.
It is your exhibition stand that will play the biggest role in determining your ROI. To put it simply: if you don’t spend enough to stand out, you’ve got no hope of talking to enough people to make a return on investment.
If you need a highly creative, business-enhancing exhibition stand then the Quadrant2Design team are here to meet your expectations. We have a whole range of design features and ideas to create an impressive stand in any space.
Whatever your budget, with the right organisation and strategy, you can generate a good ROI for your show. As a leading exhibition company for the past 20 years, we know what it takes to ensure a successful exhibition. We know that exhibiting can be complicated and stressful, which is why we will assign you with a project manager to take care of all of your exhibiting needs – managing every detail from preparation right through to the installation at the exhibition.
When you exhibit, 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 pitfalls and getting the best ROI for your show.