Essentials for a great expo stand – on a budget

Expos are a great way to showcase your products and services, get clients, be seen, network and build your business. Especially in certain industries exhibiting at a few shows a year can boost your sales enormously. However, for smaller companies who don’t have endless funds available, it would be wise to consider which shows are actually worth it for you financially and to then make the most of the ones you do attend. Knowing how to make your stand look great and use the expo to your best advantage can make all the difference. Not that it’s rocket science, but you’d be surprised how many exhibitors get these wrong. So here’s a handy checklist of things to help improve your stand and your presence at the show.

Expo checklist

  • Choose a good spot
  • Use a practical stand layout and furniture
  • Get branding and signage
  • Give them a way to contact you
  • Hand out promotional items and freebies
  • Offer a unique special for the expo
  • Have an attractive stand
  • Train your staff

Choose a good spot:

If your budget allows and there are options available, try to choose a stand that is near the entrance, on a corner or near another well visited area. e.g. the food area or a stage. This way more people will notice your stand and come chat to you.

Use a practical stand layout and furniture:

In some cases you just get the stand that’s been provided by the expo organizers, along with a table and chairs. But often there are ways you can improve the layout. Bring comfortable chairs or a couch, a nice tall counter or a coffee table to make your stand more inviting. Make sure people have enough space to walk around and can comfortably browse through items you have on display.

Get great branding and signage:

Make sure that people remember who you are. Simply having your name in a generic font at the top of your stand will probably not leave an impression, so consider getting a few banners or a sign with your logo and business name. If you’re a small business it might seem like an extra expense, but your striking roll-up or pop-up banner can be reused at any future event and is definitely a good investment.

Give them a way to contact you:

Have stacks of business cards, brochures, flyers etc available. Give your visitors something to take home and a way to contact you again. Check that you have enough material and update it if necessary before the expo. Make sure your contact details and info are still correct.

Hand out promotional items and freebies:

Everybody loves a freebie! Think of something small but useful to hand out to your stand visitors (with your branding or contact details on the item). In some cases you can also arrange with the expo organizers to have one of your promotional items as part of the “goodie bag” received by visitors at the entrance.

Offer a unique special for the expo

Come up with a special promotion that’s only valid for the expo. Let visitors sign up for a competition by giving their contact details and offer a prize. Or give out vouchers offering a discount for your services or offer a nice package deal.

You could also sell some of our actual products at the expo of course, depending on the type of business you have and the type of show you are attending. If this is an option just ensure that you have facilities for people to make payments and be aware of keeping your cash and products secure at all times.

Have an attractive stand:

Even with a small budget there are ways to make your stand look more appealing. Display some examples or photos of your work, products or services. Apart from banners and signage you could bring fresh flowers or plants, have a big screen with a promotional video running in the background or bring along a few décor items.

Train your staff:

It helps to have welcoming, knowledgeable people representing your company, who will interact with visitors in a pleasant and helpful way, without being too pushy. Don’t worry if you are not the ideal person for the job yourself. Not everyone is an extrovert and has the right personality for this. However, if you do hire someone else or get a few of your employees to be present on the day, make sure that they know your services and products really well and will be able to answer any questions easily. Also ensure that whoever is representing your company on the day takes down the contact details of all potential clients and leads that you come in contact with. This is your goldmine of leads to follow up for after the expo and the main reason you are attending after all.

Spending many hours on your feet and dealing with a constant stream of visitors can be tiring, so it might be a good idea to set up a rooster and give everyone sufficient breaks to recharge and enjoy the experience. Also make sure you and your staff have a place to sit and refreshments to keep you going throughout the day.

And finally enjoy mingling with the other exhibitors! It’s a great way to network and meet other people in the industry and remember there is more than enough business for everyone to benefit from…

If you’re in need of banners, signage, business cards, brochures, pamphlets or any other marketing material we are here to help. Get more info or a quote by contacting us.