How to maximise your impact from exhibiting

Let your clients and potential clients know that you will be there.

There’s not much point in doing your show if you are going to wing it and hope your clients will be in attendance!
Pre-Show publicity can be the most overlooked part of doing a show and well over 50% of companies exhibiting fail to do any pre-show marketing. Probably not surprisingly, these are the companies who say they haven’t done well from a show. It’s crucial that all your pre-show marketing tells people that you are exhibiting. If you don’t tell them then your competitors will get there first!

  • Communicate your attendance and your stand number on your social media
  • Get free invites from the organisers and do a direct mail campaign to your database
  • Run a competition where the prize winner will be selected at the show
  • Put the show logo on your marketing
  • Offer a product or service for free/discounted for those attending the show

Set your exhibition objectives in advance

When you are doing up your house you make a plan and talk to all the relevant people before the work begins, exhibitions are no different! Having spent 25 years in this industry I have seen that companies who have strong objectives beforehand are the ones who do best from shows.

You don’t need a telephone book of objectives, I would suggest 3 or a maximum of 5 specific objectives for the event so as you can really focus on them, and effectively report on them.

  • How many leads are we aiming for each day at the show?
  • How many potential new clients do we want to meet?
  • How many existing clients do we want to meet?
  • What customer feedback do we need to achieve?
  • Which products/services do we want to focus on for this particular show?

Prep your team well

Exhibitions are unlike other forms of advertising in that you never know who is going to walk onto your exhibition stand and when. It’s important that we all present a unified company approach and look as professional as possible. It’s also important that all people on the stand are working to the same objectives. Very often we just assume that everyone knows why we are exhibiting, but very often they don’t! As you’re in the spotlight it’s really important that your team are at their best and all on the same page.

You need to prepare or train them for what’s to come. This training can be done internally or source an exhibition coach to help you.

  • Decide on your objectives for the show
  • Host a team meeting to discuss/share the show objectives
  • Ensure everyone is fully versed and prepared
  • Invest in training if necessary
  • All agree and sign-off on the plan of action
  • Do a daily meet-up onside with your team to track process/challenges

Nail your marketing materials

When the show is over, your visitors will remember how you interacted with them. However, over time and if you don’t follow up with them, they will forget. If this happens you will have drastically reduced the opportunities for business with them, so what you leave with them is really important. Be it marketing materials or promotional giveaways make sure it has reference to the show they met you at!

  • Ensure you have high quality and consistent marketing materials
  • Are you giving them promotional items? Make sure they are dynamic & memorable!
  • Marketing/promo items are expensive… are we just giving them out en masse?!
  • Are our marketing materials just the same as everyone else’s?
  • Get creative and you will be remembered!

Leads follow-up and team debrief

This may surprise you but almost 80% of show leads either are not chased up or are chased up badly. This is fact and it’s like getting an inbound sales call and not calling them back – don’t fall into this trap! Very often we come back from a show and are busy catching up with things we missed while at the show and then a few days later we start chasing the exhibition leads, but if you don’t chase an exhibition lead within 6 days the chances of closing it are drastically reduced! Make sure you have a leads follow up strategy for the days post show:

  • Create a leads strategy form for the show with critical info (include the best time to call on form)
  • Delegate lead follow up to people for the 2 days post show
  • Ensure EVERY lead is followed up within 7 days
  • Monitor lead follow up
  • Become the exception(ally) good company who DOES follow up!

Hopefully, these quick tips will help you turn your exhibition stand into a lead generation machine!


Stephan “The Exhibition Guy” Murtagh has 25+ years’ experience in the exhibition and events industry and has worked with many of the biggest organisers in the industry. As a qualified Fetac trainer, he set-up The Exhibition Guy to educate and train people on how to sell more, his website features module-based courses and coaching for real-life situations within the sector.

Contact The Exhibition Guy to learn how he can help manage and educate your exhibiting team.