An exhibition is always the perfect opportunity to boost brand awareness and begin connecting with potential customers or clients. Particularly as an upcoming business, they allow you to make the first steps towards growing a successful brand, making them vital in achieving your goals. However, much like any other event type, exhibitions do require meticulous planning in order to guarantee both an exciting and engaging experience for visitors. If you are new to exhibition planning, then this prospect may be somewhat daunting. So to give you a starting point, we have put together a helpful guide on planning an exhibition, filled with useful tips.

An Inflatatent Guide On Planning An Exhibition

Having offered our expertise in event hire in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas for several years, we have been lucky enough to attend a host of innovative exhibitions. This means that, along the way, we have been able to pick up valuable knowledge on the qualities of a successful exhibition. Regardless of how experienced you may be in putting together an exhibition, it is always vital to keep the core stages of event planning in mind. These are the following:

Exhibition Stands

Define Your Goals

The first step towards planning any corporate-related event is to determine goals as this will act as a foundation for all of your plans. This can be rather tricky as, in some instances, you may simply be attending a show to promote your brand, as opposed to a specific business venture. If this is the case, then your goal can be statistic-based, for instance, a total of new customer leads you would like to gain, website visits or future sales. When opting for this route, it may be up to a few weeks after your exhibition that you begin to see a return, which means that you will have to wait longer to measure your success.

Those who are putting together their exhibition to advertise a new product or service, it’s likely that setting goals will prove far more straightforward. If you plan to make sales on the day of the event, then you should set a realistic total that you would like to achieve. Perhaps consider splitting this total between the morning and afternoon, taking into consideration what times of the day will be busiest. It will be during these hours that your team need to be interacting with visitors the most.

Determine Your Budget

Once you have set clear goals for your exhibition, its time to begin determining a budget. Your budget is another factor that will help you to stay on track with your planning efforts, ensuring that you have plenty of money to cover every potential expense. It also prevents you from making a loss on what could have been an incredibly profitable event, increasing the likelihood of a significant return on investment.

When budgeting for your event, we recommend beginning by putting together a list of both the necessities of the exhibition, as well as additional features that you would like should you have some cash to spare. Expenses that should always be in your list of necessities are:

  • Exhibition Space Rental
  • Printed Graphics
  • Power & Lighting
  • Exhibition Staff
  • Travel Costs
  • Accommodation If Required
  • Promotional Material

Other expenses that you may want to consider are those that will encourage more visitors to take a closer look at your exhibition, such as freebies, competition prizes and sponsorships. Don’t forget also to incorporate a contingency budget, which is a small percentage of your budget which is put aside to use in the event of an emergency. In preparing for unexpected events, you can ensure that you not only do not go over budget but also do not have to sacrifice an essential aspect of your exhibition to cover the additional costs. For more information on budgeting for an exhibition, take a look at Express Exhibition Displays.

Budget Planning

Choose The Right Exhibition

There are thousands of fantastic exhibitions which take place every year across the globe, which means that it will take a significant amount of research to find the best-fitting option for your requirement. To ensure that you choose the right exhibition or show, we suggest shortlisting options and gathering as much information as you can on each. Always opt for those that relate to your industry as this means that visitors will fit with your target audience; this can include both large events and smaller local shows.

Your goals and budget will play a huge role in your final decision, so when shortlisting options, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the show fit within our budget? Will hiring a spot in the exhibition alone consume almost all of our budget?
  • How popular is the show? Have they been actively promoting their event? What is its reputation like?
  • Has the show been successful in the past? Have they published information on the average number of visitors?
  • Where is the location of the show? Is it nearby to a train station or other public transport links so visitors can travel to the exhibition? If it is far away, do you have enough budget to cover travel costs?

If you’re unsure on how to begin your search for exhibitions, then we suggest heading over ExpoCart and exhibitions.co.uk, which both feature tools where you can search for shows based on your industry.

Carry Out Thorough Research

Although you may have decided on the exhibition that you would like to attend, the research isn’t over. It is now time to take a closer look at your competitors so that you can ensure your stall stands out from the crowd. If possible, ask the show to provide you with a list of other exhibitors that will be attending as this will allow you to gauge an idea of what to expect. Research into their products or services, as well as their marketing efforts and website, taking note of their strengths and weaknesses.

Along with researching into competitors, you should also take a look at the layout of the exhibition before choosing your stand location. Consider whether you would prefer to be nearby to the entrance or further into the event venue. Always aim to pick a stand location that is not nearby to your direct competitors as visitors often do not want to visit two exhibitions one after another that appear to be the same. It is important to note that for many shows, the price of hiring a stand may differ based on its location, size and whether you want an empty space or one with walls installed. Astro Exbihitions had put together a helpful article with more tips on how to find the best location for your exhibition stand.

Planning Exhibition

Begin Pre-Event Marketing

Now that your exhibition is booked and you have all of the tedious tasks out of the way, its time to be creative with your marketing activities. Pre-event marketing will always play a pivotal role in how successful your exhibition is, and you must spread the word that you will be participating in the event.

While, in most cases, the trade show itself will include your logo and often a small description of your business on their website, you must also take the time to promote yourself. If you have a website, ensure that it is updated with details on the event and how those interested can purchase tickets. You should also strive to increase engagement through social media, uploading regular posts in the lead-up to your exhibition. When it comes to social media, the more unique and creative you can be, the better. Share your information in a way that will grab the attention of followers, including plenty of visual content and precise details while remaining consistent. You could even consider creating a hashtag which will be used in both the lead-up and during your exhibition.

Make Your Exhibition Engaging

Much like promoting the event, ensuring that your exhibition is engaging is all about being creative. If your chosen exhibition has been running for several years, take a look at photos from previous events to get an idea on what to expect. It is from here that you can then put together a stall that leaves a lasting impression.

Although we may be a little biased, hiring in Inflatatent is guaranteed to help your business to stand out from the crowd. With a plethora of tents available for marquee hire in London and the surrounding areas, it couldn’t be easier to add a unique twist to your exhibition stand. If you have limited space, then we suggest opting for the compact InflataPod or InflataLuna; both of which not only take less than half an hour to set-up but can also be fully customised with LED lighting and branding. For those who have booked a larger floorplan and want to create separate areas to network, our InflataBreakout would be ideal. The InflataBreakout concept involves several smaller tents which can be used as exhibition stands, pop-up stores, presentations and much more. The possibilities truly are endless!

InflataBreakout

Connect With Visitors

During the exhibition itself, it is imperative that you connect with visitors and spend time speaking with them. Exhibitions are designed explicitly to allow businesses to network with not only fellow industry professionals but also potential customers and clients.

Inevitably, your success in connecting and networking with visitors will be based on the communication skills of your team. This means that if you plan to bring representatives along to look after your stand, they must be able to represent your brand positively. Spend time preparing each member, running through your goals and objectives, as well as ensuring that they have the knowledge to answer any questions that visitors may have. Brief them on how to portray a warm and welcoming first impression through the right body language, eye contact and dressing presentable. For information exhibition stand etiquette, take a look at NVP Exhibits.

Evaluate Your Success

Last but most definitely not least, every event must end with a thorough evaluation of your success. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your exhibition will not only allow you to determine whether your goals have been met but also any improvements for future events. During this stage, you should also ensure that any leads have been followed up by contacting visitors who left their information with you. Your website and social media should also be updated with a recap of the exhibition, thanking everyone who visited your stand.

If the goal of your exhibition was to promote a new product or service, then a fantastic way to measure your success is through asking for feedback. Consider putting together a short, quick and easy questionnaire that you hand to visitors on the day or send via email after the event.

Team Meeting

A Successful Exhibition Is As Easy As That!

Planning any type of event can be stressful; however, the pressure is most definitely added when the success of an event can lead to business growth. The key to any successful exhibition is always planning as without a detailed plan of action; it can be easy to become side-tracked. Focus on tackling the most important aspects of your exhibition first before moving onto the small details.