How to be Popular at an Exhibition


Exhibitions offer a fantastic opportunity for live marketing – a chance to meet your prospects face-to-face and demonstrate your products in front of a willing audience.  Research shows that 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority and they are there to check out new products and developments in the market.

But exhibiting at a trade show requires investment – both financial and in time – so it’s important to get it right.  You want to stand out from the crowd and gather as many qualified leads as possible.  So how can you make sure you are popular at an exhibition?

Here we have some essential tips to make a success of your next exhibition.

1. Choose the right exhibition

Make sure you research an exhibition carefully to see if it is the right place for you to be.  Find out who they are planning to attract, what size organisation they work for and what their job function is.  You may be able to speak to previous exhibitors to find out more.  How is the exhibition going to be marketed?  How many attendees do they hope to have?  These are all important questions to ask the organiser.

2. Set clear goals

Know what you want to achieve from the exhibition and set measurable targets.  Maybe you hope to make a number of sales, or gain leads.  Or maybe your goal is raising awareness of your brand.  These will also affect the exhibition you choose – if your goal is lead generation, a larger show will be appropriate, however if you want to raise brand awareness within your industry, a smaller, more niche exhibition may be better suited to you.

3. Design your stand well

Your stand is what will bring you the most attention at an exhibition so make sure the design is the best possible.  It should have large, eye-catching graphics that can be read across the hall.  Don’t include too much text, no-one will read it and it will look too busy. 

Being taller than other stands can also help get you noticed, check what the maximum height for stands is.  Including a rotating header on top of your stand can be effective.  Don’t forget the lighting, using spotlights to highlight certain areas is a good idea, and backlit display cases will show off your products.  Having a TV running demonstrations of your products or information about your company can also grab attention.



4. Select your location carefully

Plan ahead to get the best locations in the hall, ask for a copy of the floorplan as soon as the exhibition is announced as the best spaces will book up fast.  You want to be in an area where people congregate – that may be near the entrance, at an intersection or near restaurants.  You don’t want to be on the back wall in the corner.  Look at where the main industry players are, they will draw the crowds so if you are nearby you may benefit.

5. Demonstrate your products

A good way to attract the attention of passers-by is to evoke curiosity.  Run demonstrations of your products if possible, the more people can interact with you and your products, the more likely they are to buy from you.  An exhibition can be a good opportunity to launch a new product or service to a captive audience.  Just make sure you advertise what you are doing.

6. Promote your attendance

In the run up to the show, email all your prospects and customers to let them know you are exhibiting.  You may be able to arrange meetings with them there.  Promote your attendance on social media.  In the run up to the event, find out what hashtag the organiser is using and use it in your posts.  Tell people where they can find you and what you will be offering.  Once at the exhibition, post photos or videos of your stand and products, using the event hashtag to drum up some excitement.

7. Ask questions

The way to engage with prospects at an exhibition is to ask them open-ended questions.  Try to be more original than ‘Can I help you?’.  Ensure your body language is welcoming and approachable.  Make sure staff aren’t looking bored, chatting amongst themselves or on their phones, this will put people off.  You should also ban eating on the stand, allow regular breaks instead.

8. Hold a competition

A competition is a good way to get people’s details, although they may not be hot leads, but you never know when a lead might become a customer.  The prize must be worthwhile for people to want to enter.  But you may find a lot of people are prepared to part with their details for the chance to win an iPad.

9. Branded giveaways

Handing out promotional items will attract visitors and ensure your brand stays in their minds after the show.  Try to choose something that they will find useful like a memory stick or a reusable coffee cup.  Avoid cheap tacky items like pens or keyrings that are likely to go straight in the bin.  Make sure you have plenty of brochures and business cards for people to take away with them.

10. Follow up

Remarkably, most exhibition leads are not followed up, which is a huge wasted opportunity.  Log all the leads you get either electronically or on a lead capture form, and load them into a database.  Contact them all within 2 weeks so that the exhibition is fresh in their minds, thank them for their time and ask if you can be of further assistance.  Try to arrange meetings with the hot leads, but still log and nurture the cold leads, you never know when they might be ready to buy.


Exhibitions present a great opportunity to position yourself in the market, gather leads, sell directly and network.  To be a success they require a certain amount of planning.  But with the right approach, they are a form of marketing with an ROI that is difficult to match elsewhere.  For help with your next exhibition, call us on 0800 019 2141, or email

Bespoke Design With Your Branding