So you’re booked in at the next big trade show. The venue is set (big fancy convention centre) and the tickets are on sale (dwindling by the minute). You’re going to be a stallholder and you need to start planning – so naturally, you’re either super excited for it or you’re dreading it with every fibre of your being!
Either way, you’ve got to get started – so here’s our definitive list of questions to ask yourself when planning a stall at a conference, exhibition or trade show.
1. Define your stall goals
First things first, you need to figure out what you want to get out of your presence at the event. At Roobix, we’re firm believers in not spending money on an event unless you have a specific goal in mind and a good reason to be there! There’s no point in showing up to stand around with a few free lanyards. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Push a new product? Gather email addresses for contacting later? Determine the reason for your presence at the event first, and everything else will make more sense.
2. Clarify your target audience
Consider who this event is attracting. Is it an industry event that will mostly be attended by others who work in your industry? Or will it be populated by potential clients? What will entice them to your stall? What do they need to hear? Having a good idea of your target audience is critical to building a stall that will help convert them into strong leads.
3. Determine your conversion goals
Once you have your target audience, you can figure out what you want them to do. Do you want them to leave their phone numbers or just email addresses? Do you want them to follow you on social media? Or buy products from you on the day? Maybe you just want to have a chat with them or prove a point about your industry. Figure out your ideal audience objective, then work backwards to plan how you can make that happen. If you want email addresses, you might want to think about hosting a competition they can enter – but if you just want to chat, you’ll need something big and flashy to draw them in.
4. Figure out what you want to say about yourself and how you’ll say it
What do you want to say about yourself? What makes your business truly unique against your competitors? Make sure what you’re saying about yourself isn’t too internally focused. You want to be able to solve a problem for your audience – so how best can you explain that? Write down your key messaging points and use them throughout the planning process. Then it’s time to plan out how you will physically share this information about your business – whether it’s through stall signage, flyers, videos on screens, info packs or a combination of the above. Remember to tie this in with your audience conversion goals for best effect.
5. Plan how you’ll get your audience to your stall
How will you entice your desired audience to physically get to your stall? It will likely be a combination of digital advertising before the event and traditional advertising during the event itself. For example, creating a Facebook event and inviting your existing network to come down is a great way to generate interest before the big day. On the day, consider how you can use things like wayward signs, arrows and banners to point attendees toward your exhibition space.
6. Consider your staffing requirements
With all of that important branding stuff figured out, it’s time to start looking at the operational side of your stall. First, consider your staffing requirements on the day. How many people will you need at the stall? If you want to run a few conversations at once, you’ll need at least 2-3 of your knowledgeable staff. Make sure they’re available on the day and prepared to share your core message with attendees, helping to encourage them toward your conversion goal.
7. Consider all the other physical stall requirements
What physical items will you need at your stall? You might need A/V supplies – like wall-mounted screens, tablets, extension cords, lights, speakers and USBs. On top of that, you’ll need to consider what furniture you would like – chairs or sofas are great if you want to encourage longer conversations. Plants, tables and engaging brand-related props can help set the atmosphere. You’ll also need to consider the design work required for any branding on screens, flyers, banners and stall walls. We’re not saying you need all of the above – but a few chairs, a plant, a big banner and an engaging video on screen will look and feel far better than a lone card table displaying pamphlets!
8. Decide on your freebies
Merchandise is a huge drawcard for many trade show attendees. Consider the kind of branded merchandise you might like to give away – like water bottles, tote bags, pens and journals. What type of branded products would best fit your business? While it’s not strictly necessary to give away freebies, it’s always nice to leave your stall attendees with a little memento!
9. Think about your backup plan
Ask yourself what your plan B looks like. Can you pack an emergency supplies bag that will help you dodge any critical failures? Our events team at Roobix always carry a backup bag stocked at the very least with spare USBs, batteries, scissors, gaffa tape, spare charging cords, auxiliary cords, makeup remover, painkillers and snacks! Try to plan out everything that could go wrong and prepare a solution – that way, you’ll be totally at ease and ready to chat to your leads on the day.
10. Determine your follow-up
Last but not least, consider how you’ll maintain momentum and excitement with the contacts you’ve met after they leave the event. At Roobix, we help most of our clients prepare a post-event schedule of contact – much of which can be automated – to ensure the people you meet on the day continue to think about you long after they’ve left. That almost always makes future conversations and ultimately sales all the more easy!
Whew! Does that sound like a little too much to take care of?
If you have an event coming up and are feeling overwhelmed, Roobix can help.
We offer events conceptualisation, strategy, management, branding, coordination, advertising, communications and more as part of our Managed Marketing Service, or even as a once-off engagement!
Reach out today to chat to a Roobix consultant about your upcoming event – we’re always happy to lend a hand or run the show so you can focus on meeting your event goals.
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