Five Tips to Stand Tall with Your Small Exhibit

September 29, 2012

Errol Ahearn

Errol Ahearn, vice president of design at GES, is a creative leader and industry speaker on exhibit strategy, design and technology.

Are you exhibiting for the first time and feel like David amongst the many Goliaths of the showfloor? Think of any big company in the world and chances are they started out as a small exhibit on the showfloor.

A common goal for all exhibitors is to provide an engaging experience that helps sell products and build a brand. As I write this, there are micro start-ups being developed on kitchen tables across America. In order to grow new business leads, they’ll be debating what to do with their first exhibit presence.

It’s simple to engage, but it takes time and thorough planning. Using a trained staff, inviting platforms and a pull-thru strategy can create an awesome experience for any size exhibit.

Here’s a list of my top five tricks for the small exhibitor:

1. The Perfect Welcome Counter is Not a Counter - Use your talented staff and digital tablets to relay concise information and opportunities to engage more effectively. Tablets can be loaded with detailed information, themed educational activities and more with multiple benefits to exhibitors.

2. Extend the Show with E-Literature - A small exhibit that uses electronic literature not only saves on printing, shipping, and drayage, but its biggest benefit is that your literature has a much higher probability of being used and exponentially shared long after the show.

3. Power Charging Stations - Recharge zones are in vogue for big and small exhibitors throughout Europe and the U.S. FACT: Everyone carries one if not two mobile devices on the show floor. YOUR GOAL: Provided asimple area that allows visitors to recharge their phones. Done correctly, this can guarantee more attendee face-to-face time while you provide a simple, low-cost service. Maximize your new zone with highly visible signage, provide adaptors for all the latest devices and locate it near the aisle.

4. Face-to-Face Lock Down -If you’re staff is using digital tablets to relay information in your small exhibit, teach them this simple and effective tip. Whatever your hook line is to welcome visitors into your space, the very next step should be to hand them your digital tablet. This stops attendees in their tracks and forces them to engage in conversation with you immediately. The activity on the tablet should be company or product focused and simple to use. It could be a simple challenge, donation or survey. Whatever the “digital ice-breaker” is, make sure a multilayered pull-thru strategy of conversation follows.

5. Keep Them Coming Back for More -Do you have existing video content that’s hard to display in a small space? Design an enticing program that requires attendees to come back each day and repurpose that video. One of the most popular exhibits I saw at a recent show was a small space that allowed three attendees to sit in chairs, get a vibrating foot massage and see educational videos on headset goggles — all at the same time. Attendees were badge scanned and received additional information from the reps after each visit. The immersive headset and vibrating pads virtually remove them from the show floor to focus on the message.

The kicker was that they invited visitors back each day to see more videos and increase their chances to win a valuable premium. While much larger exhibits were slow or empty, this little “David” exhibit was packed day after day qualifying visitors.

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