Is an Expo Stand a good marketing strategy?

So you are going to run an Exhibition stand? That is great. If you have found an expo that has your specific audience in attendance and you have the available marketing budget, go for it.

I have recently been through the process of running my own exhibition stand at the inaugural B2B Expo in Sydney on 1 and 2 June.

I wanted to outline here what I did to plan for the expo, with the second blog being about the actual running of the stand over the 2 days and a 3rd blog on the achievements of my outcomes.

Exhibition Stand Costs

So you have found the expo for your business, you have signed up, paid the stand fee and given your bio to the organisers for their website. Great. You are on your way. Fees for expo stands can vary from $1000 to $20000+ based on a huge number of factors such as running days, attendance numbers, location/position within the exhibition hall, size of stand and any modifications.

If this is your first expo, spend wisely, and my best advice is to do a small stand well. If it works out for you then you know you can stretch yourself next time.

Specific Marketing Plan

Next comes the Marketing Plan specific to the expo. What do you want to get out of the expo? What are your goals and how are you going to achieve them. The advice I was given was to plan it all out so you know everything that you are doing is working towards your expo marketing goals. If you are doing something and it doesn’t result in achieving a goal, then ask yourself why?

Measurable Expo Goals

Consider the top 3 or 5 things you want to achieve from the expo stand. Now for each goal, what are you going to do to achieve that goal? Make sure the goals are measurable. Don’t just say you are going to increase your mailing list, say I will increase my mailing list by 1000 emails. Then you want to list what you will need to help you reach that goal; flyers, mailing list sign up forms, a sign printed.

Print Design

Start designing your flyers to hand out to delegates on the day. This can be more information about your products or services, special offers on for the expo, or discount coupons to be used at a later date. Along with the flyers you might want to think about token gifts for people that visit you in the stand. I had individually wrapped chocolates for anyone that came in and spoke to me specifically about their business and wanted to make an appointment to discuss things further. It was a reward for them and not given to everyone.

Exhibition Stand Design

Next comes your exhibition stand design. The expo/conference will have a preferred supplier for you to get a quote from for your stand. Your stand will most likely be floor space (2x2, 3x3, 6x3 etc) walls and an overhead light. You need to hire, beg, borrow the rest. For ease you can use the preferred supplier who will help you with your choices and even deliver and take away the furniture for the duration of the event. My stand design was very simple, as I was the only person running the stand and didn’t need a massive amount of props. A large table, 2 stools and then some soft furnishings, so I went for the DIY route. The event organisers will give you a set up and take down time so you can bring in your own materials. Follow their instructions and you should be fine to bring in what you need. Label everything.

Media Wall vs the Humble Pull Up Banner

Exhibition stand large scale printing. One of the last but certainly not the least important things to think about is your Expo stand display signage. It is expensive to get large scale printing done but you can’t spend all this money showing at an expo to only have an A3 printed sign for your business on the back wall of your stand. As a minimum you want to cover your whole back wall. You can use pull up banners in a row, you can have a media wall (similar to the back drop for sports interviews after a football game), you can have TV screens or a projected image or you can have custom built shelving and walls with preprinted images. Obviously the cost can grow the more complex you make your stand. The basic rules are: Don’t make the wall too busy, make sure your logo and business name is clearly visible and the font must be large enough that you can read it from 4 meters away. Again the event organiser will have a preferred supplier but if they don’t deliver and set up for you on the day then you are within your rights to get as many quotes as possible until you find what you are looking for.

Hopefully this advice will help you plan your next exhibition stand or encourage you to give it a go. I will keep you updated with how it all went and if I recommend it to all my clients in need of a marketing boost.

Read Part 2 of Is an Expo Stand a good marketing strategy? now