Exhibition stand planning – 6 super slick ways to make it a roaring success

Exhibition Venues

Exhibition stand planning – 6 super slick ways to make it a roaring success

You’ve booked your exhibition space; your display stand is designed and printed and you’ve organised your team to man the stand.  You’re ready to go. But, have you thought about your exhibition strategy?  What’s the key message you want to get across to delegates? What’s your opening line and how are you going to measure success?

Don’t just turn up and hope for the best. Make your exhibition a success.  The advice in this article will help you formulate a winning formula for your show attendance which can be replicated again and again.

  1. Have you set SMART goals?

Attending an exhibition to increase awareness of your company or to generate leads that can be followed up by sales and marketing are legitimate reasons for attending a show but they’re not SMART goals which you can measure success against.


  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound


So, let’s take the awareness objective and convert this to a SMART goal.  What actions would you need to take to increase awareness? Some examples may be:

Collect 100 business cards each by the close of the show.  You could then break this down into bite-size goals for chunks of the day, so could have a mid-morning goal, lunchtime goal and mid-afternoon goal.

Arrange 5 meetings per person, per day.  The size of the exhibition and the nature of what you provide will determine what’s achievable and realistic.

The more exhibitions you do, the better you’ll become at setting SMART goals.  Remember, nothing is set in stone, if you’re new to exhibiting, you can revise your goals whilst you’re there is they’re way off the mark.


An increase in awareness will no doubt result in more people searching for you by your company name, more social media followers or more enquiries so be sure to monitor your website and social media analytics following the exhibition.

  1. Free branded giveaways

One thing we know for sure is that people love a freebie.  They’ll attract traffic to your stand and ensure your company will be remembered long after the exhibition.  Don’t underestimate the power of promotional gifts, they’ll be visible on a desk a lot longer than a tweet in a timeline.  Pens never fail, but don’t scrimp and just opt for the cheapest.  Everyone has their favourite smooth writing pen.

  1. Run a competition

In a larger exhibition with a high footfall of people, it will be impossible to engage with everyone.  Run a competition to gain lots of business cards for people that can then be nurtured by your sales and marketing activities after the exhibition.

Many exhibitors succeed with a simple competition for a free bottle of fizz, although this could be improved on if you were to give away one a day or one an hour depending on the exhibition duration and your budget, of course, especially if you can arrange for winner announcements during the show, to further amplify your show presence.

  1. Be visual

You’ll certainly need an eye-catching exhibition stand and display to help you stand out and convey your brand.  In addition, provide a screen, laptop or tablet with your website or company video on display to bring some movement and interactivity to your stand.  If you have them, you could use videos of your customer testimonials or projects.

  1. What will you say?

Whatever you do, don’t pounce on delegates.  It’s far better to entice them over with your stunning stand display, competition, and giveaways than to approach them in the aisles.

What will be your opening line?

“Can I help you? “Is bound to invite a “no, thanks”, whereas eye contact and a smile, combined with something more friendly and light-hearted, such as “how’s the weather out there now” or “that’s a lovely scarf you are wearing” will break the ice and open up a conversation.

Then something like, “are you in search of anything in particular” is a more effective way to test the water for some interest in what you offer.

  1. Never forget the follow-up

It can feel like a relief to get to the end of an exhibition, you’ve been on your feet for days, talking to hundreds of people and you’ve met your SMART goals, but what now?

This is where the real work begins.  The follow-up phase is often the make or break phase that determines the ROI on your exhibition spend.

It’s a good idea before the exhibition to prepare your follow-up emails, brochure packs or whatever it is you’re doing to follow up.  Set yourself some SMART goals for your follow-ups, such as:

  • All ‘thank you for visiting us’ emails to be sent within 24 hours
  • Follow up calls to arrange appointments to be made with 1-2 days

Are you going to an exhibition soon?

We design, print and install exhibition stands of all shapes and sizes so please get in touch to discuss your requirements and find out how we can help.