Top Tips for your First Exhibition

Top Tips for your First Exhibition

For any first-timer, placing yourself in a hall full of established business owners and eccentric exhibitors can be daunting. Whether you’re an attendee or an exhibitor, it’s easy to let your nerves get the best of you at your first event.

To help banish those nerves, there are some things you can do to help exhibition day go as smoothly as possible.

Find out who will be attending

This is your first step to networking at your first exhibition. Discovering who will be attending, exhibiting and speaking at the exhibition can help you decide who might be the most useful to speak to, or who might be able to best introduce you to other people.

Attendee lists or exhibitor lists are often available in advance – find out who might be interested in your company and vice versa. You could try sending them an introductory email reaching out and explaining you would love to meet them.

Having already reached out to a range of people, come exhibition day, you have a point of conversation and a reason to stop by their booth or to encourage them to stop by yours.

Brief your staff

Naturally, the people who come to your booth will be asking questions about the products or services you offer.

Make sure you prepare the people on your stand with the information they’ll need to answer these queries – impress visitors with your knowledgeable answers.

Ensure that your staff are friendly and conversational. They’re the faces of your business for the day, so ensure they are approachable and comfortable asking questions themselves, assessing the needs of those who stop by your stand and turning them into qualifying leads and customers.

Engage on social media

Most of the buzz regarding a trade show happens on social media beforehand. A lot of exhibitions and shows will have a specific hashtag on Twitter in which they encourage announcements and photos to be shared under the guise of connecting likeminded attendees.

Use LinkedIn to your advantage and connect with people before the show to make your follow up process easier and more memorable.

Bring business cards

This is key to any exhibition. How else do you expect people to remember your contact details? A business card presents these in a neat and compact way and is also your time to shine when it comes to design and representing your business.

Make sure to invest in some business cards even if you’re only attending and not exhibiting – you never know what companies might be interested in and want to contact you.

The offering of a business card is an extension of the conversation after the show, where the real deals are made. Don’t be the person to miss out on this opportunity!

Be physically ready

It goes without saying that an exhibition will undoubtedly be a long day on your feet. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep beforehand and don’t drink too much alcohol the night before – you’ll need to be on top form and the chirpiest you can on exhibition day.

Make yourself memorable and memorise others

It’s great when people can remember you from an exhibition. Whether this is due to the way you look, the conversations you had or how your stand was presented, it’s good to be a key takeaway from someone’s day.

When it comes to the follow up, it makes the whole process easier if people can remember you and what you spoke about.

On your business’s side, take notes on your conversations so you’re familiar with who’s who and what they want.

It never hurts to be sure and can result in a following sales pitch being much more tailored, personal and persuasive.

So, there’s our top tips for making the most of your first exhibition and getting the best leads whether exhibiting yourself or attending.

 For all your exhibition needs, stands and services, first timer or veteran, contact us today at 200m2.

Pop-up Stands vs Truss Stands

Pop-up Stands vs Truss Stands

Whether you’re a first-time exhibitor or an expo veteran, you’ll need an exhibition stand to wow the crowds and attract people to your stand.

Both truss and pop-up stands have their advantages, but what kind of stand is best for you and what actually are these stands?

Here’s our beginner’s guide to portable pop-up stands and truss stands to help you decide which is right for you.

Truss Stands

Truss stands provide a professional and eye-catching solution for any exhibition. You may know this type of stand as a gantry stand, these are modular stands usually made from plastics or metal.

The rigid structure creates a temporary framework which can be altered and changed depending on your space and the purpose of the event.

Creating a visual impact at an exhibition is an important part of having exhibition success. A truss stand not only achieves this but it also reusable.

So, what are the benefits to using a truss stand?

  • Durability – Considering they’re designed to last from one exhibition to another, using the highest quality materials possible ensures your stand will see you through a number of
  • Versatility – Truss stands are designed to be modular, this means that you can rearrange the layout of this stand, whether you want a huge tower or a really small stand. Truss stands provide the versatility you need to use them in any space.
  • Return on investment – Truss stands can be used again and again, with no problems. Due to the versatility and the strength of this stand, it can be repeatedly used in a whole range of different spaces.

The truss stand really does provide you with the tools that you need to create your perfect vision and attract visitors to your next stand.

If you want more information about our range of truss stands, visit our page for more information.

Pop-up stands

Pop-up stands are portable and lightweight exhibition stands, usually made from a plastic frame covered in fabric.

These stands are great if you’re travelling between exhibitions with very minimal space. However, they are not the most durable of stands and need replacing far more frequently than a modular truss stand would.

The fabric stands can be printed with your branding and the information that is unique to your company, however, because of the nature of these stands, you may blend right in with other exhibitors.

These stands are extremely popular with exhibitors, but you pay the price for this by not having a unique or particularly eye-catching stand.

But, what are the benefits to having one of these quick, pop-up stands?

  • Easy setup and take down – Pop-up stands simply fold and unfold – they are readily assembled as soon as they’re removed from their containers.
  • Easily transportable – The nature of these stands means that they are able to fit into small spaces and are stored in a fairly small bag, this means that transporting them from show to show will be no problem. You could even take them on public transport easily!
  • Low cost – For some, the disadvantages in the durability of this stand will be made up for with the low price. It has an extremely low initial cost and compared to more professional, durable stands there can be a big difference.

So which stand is best for you?

Deciding which stand is right for your business may be the easiest decision you’ve made all day (we know that we pick durability and professionalism over cost any day), or it could be a bit of a hard decision.

One of the keys to having a successful exhibition is standing out from the crowd, catching visitors eyes and overall looking interesting and engaging.

Are you going to be able to do this if your stand is the same as 100 others in the room? Probably not, but will you do this if you have a large tower and stand that fills your space? Well, that one is up to you.

Both of these stands are completely portable, with the truss stands packing down into a few large bags and the portable stand fitting exactly back into its case. If it’s down to transporting the stand there is very little in it, maybe just the size of your car.

The banner and decoration capabilities of truss stands allows for a high rate of interchangeability and it is easy to change said decoration, making this an extremely cost-effective method of promoting your stand and your business. Whereas, with the pop-up stands you are tied into your original banner design.

If you want to know more information about exhibition stands, why not have a look at our favourites here. 

What you need to know if you’re attending an overseas exhibition

What you need to know if you’re attending an overseas exhibition

Exhibiting at overseas events can be a great way to promote your products and generate international awareness about what you do. The exposure to the broader audience overseas exhibitions give can be essential in breaking into foreign markets and securing export business.

As with any trade show, there are opportunities for issues to arise, but more so with exhibiting abroad due to quite often heavy expense and long distances they involve.

For some though, this slight risk is worth the huge potential reward. So, what do you need to know about attending an overseas exhibition to produce great results?

Proper Planning

Before you begin to plan your stand or journey, you must assess whether the venture and cost of your trip will mean success for your business.

There is no point in spending thousands of pounds to attend an exhibition to only find out it was unsuitable for your business and gain a few hundred pounds in revenue from unqualified leads.

Do your research and ensure that the event not only looks ideal for your business, but really is. Contact the organisers and request floor plans, visitor demographics, and exhibitor and speaker details to really assess whether the clientele could become assets to your business and will become invaluable contacts to you later on.

It may even be a wise decision, if circumstances allow, to register and attend other exhibitions abroad to simply assess the conditions – make connections to help you when you exhibit, see how the competitors measure up, and discover innovative ways to make your marketing stand out.

Preparation checklist

The preparation for an exhibition is not done overnight. You’ll want to be planning almost a year in advance in order to stand the best chance at having your exhibit run smoothly.

  • 6-12 months before – do your research and look at funding options.
  • 5-6 months before – book your space (try and get the best space you can!) and begin promoting your appearance at the event.
  • 4-5 months before – book your transport and hotels, and make sure your marketing materials are ready (print, freebies etc).
  • 3 months before – have your vaccinations and check travels documents (passports etc). Read the exhibitors manual and familiarise yourself with any pending deadlines.
  • 2 months before – plan the layout of your stand and ensure you have all the necessary equipment like lighting. Consider and finalise your equipment transportation options (freight, shipping options and delivery etc).
  • 1 month before – ensure you have a list of price conversions for your services as you’re selling in a country with potentially a different currency. Organise your finance for your trip and ensure you have changed currency. Create a packing list and gather equipment.
  • 2 weeks before – Ensure you have all necessary documentation like travel documents and exhibitor passes.
  • 1 week before – double check arrangements and pack your suitcase. Research any cultural considerations and implications and make sure you know this in order to make a good and respectful first impression.

Access and support

If you know a particular show would do wonders for your business but you simply can’t afford it, there are services available to help make this opportunity accessible for you.

The UK government’s Trade Access Programme (TAP) provides funding for those businesses, covering some of the costs of exhibiting at overseas trade shows.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) partners with TAP to confirm a number of shows annually that would provide good business for UK companies and the support from these two organisations allows the grants to be put in place.

The grants available can be anywhere between £500-£2500 provided they do not exceed the business’s own expenditure on things like exhibition space costs and stand costs.

If cost is an issue and this money needs to be allocated to other resources, remember there are always alternatives to the recommended guidelines that could save you money elsewhere.

Consider hiring someone to ship stands to your exhibition rather than renting one there – this can work out a lot cheaper than most people expect.

It is crucial to plan changes like this in advance to help your overseas exhibiting make an impact and stand the best chance of gaining a positive response. Choosing the right exhibition methods for each show will help attract people to your stand and make overseas exhibiting worth it for you.

To browse our range of stands, sort your printing or outsource your exhibition management, visit our website and get in touch today.

The Difference between Shell Schemes and Truss Stands

The Difference between Shell Schemes and Truss Stands

When it comes to an exhibition, you will want to choose a stand design that best showcases your brand and fits the purpose of the event. Two popular styles of exhibition stands include shell schemes and truss stands.

But which type of stand is best for what you’re trying to achieve? Here is a breakdown of two of the most popular stand designs so you can decide which will suit you better.

What are shell schemes?

Shell schemes are a type of booth that include 3 (or less) panelled modular walls supported by a frame.

With this, a board containing your company name can be placed across the top of the frame, and carpet is often used to decorate the floor.

The empty set design allows you to decorate and completely personalise your set design to your needs.

Often, lighting is offered as an extra, as well as the option to add electrical sockets and display equipment.

Sometimes this will be included in the initial cost, but it is best not to assume and contact the exhibition organisers if you have any questions.

How can you use shell schemes?

Your stand is key in helping portray your company and products, so it is crucial for your stand to reflect this.

Wall panels can be decorated with posters, graphics, charts and photos – so make sure to be aware of the stand size before you go printing huge graphics that then won’t fit.

However, it does mean your graphics can be interchangeable, again leading to more customisation opportunities within your stand design.

The space inside the booth can be used as you wish, to include banners, pop ups, stands and tables, but make sure you leave enough space to stand yourself!

Your stand is meant to be inviting and entice people into conversing about your brand, so utilise the space you’re given to your advantage.

Pros and Cons of Shell Scheme Stands

This stand is completely compact and sleek – you don’t use any of your floor space in the construction, and the thinner walls themselves aren’t weak despite their composition.

Shell schemes are often provided by exhibition organisers which is the perfect option for the exhibitors using public transport or smaller cars to get to their exhibitions. It’s a fuss-free way of doing exhibitions and perfect for those of us who want a really quick and easy set-up.

Shell schemes, however aren’t as universal, it is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach that can be used, unlike truss stands, where parts can be added or taken away to fit the shape or size of the event.

These stands are widely used at exhibitions so you won’t stand out by using a shell scheme stand, imagine an exhibition full of the same stand but different graphcs – this could potentially happen at some exhibitions.

What are truss stands?

Truss stands are sections of metal or plastic bars forged together to create a lattice of material that fits together to form your stand.

The stand comes in different shapes and sizes, allowing you to fix them together to create a uniquely shaped or heighted stand to suit your needs.

These are completely modular which means extensions can be added or removed at any time depending on your given exhibition space.

How can you use truss stands?

Plastics and resins with thin tubing frameworks are being used by more and more manufacturers, making them more lightweight and flexible in terms of adjusting for space and height purposes, which is brilliant for hanging professional graphics.

 Be sure to check with the manufacturer the load bearing specifications before planning your stand – 200m2 stands come with a light fixing and table, but other exhibitors will have different specifications about what can and can’t be used depending on the material the stands are built from.

Pros and Cons of Truss Stands

One of the huge benefits of truss stands is their flexibility in terms of customisation. There are almost no limits in terms of size, height and shape as parts can be fixed together to build these stands to any requirements.

The durability of the stands is not to be doubted either – they are often considered much better for larger graphics and displays due to their higher load capacities.

This stand will make you stand out from the crowd, in a sea of shell scheme stands you stand will tower over them and attract attention.

The cons of truss are that they are often bulkier, and dependent on material, and you do have to be able to transport your stand from event to event with the space to assemble and de-assemble your stand.

Overall, the type of stand you choose really depends on where you’re exhibiting and for what purpose of your stand is.

Truss stands suit both indoor and outdoor exhibitions equally due to their adaptable nature, whereas crammed inside exhibitions may suit shell schemes more as there is more chance to use the assigned space you’re allocated.

If you need more information on truss stands and what their benefits could do for your company, please see our page for more information or get in contact today.

Top Tips for Exhibition Networking

Top Tips for Exhibition Networking

Exhibitions are a great place to start networking with likeminded individuals and with people who are looking for your services. But, even the best of us can get a few networking nerves, especially when you’re in a hall full of people.

So, here are a few top tips to make you a networking pro at your next exhibition.

Business Cards

They have been around for hundreds of years, and they aren’t going anywhere, these little cards are the backbone to networking, they make the whole process worthwhile.

Make an impact with an amazing design but remember to try and tell your company’s story through this card. This card will be the face for your business when everyone goes back to their offices; you want to make them want to get in touch with you.

If you want to make the process of someone getting hold of you easier, you could use a barcode which when scanned will input your contact details.

However, if you do decide to take this approach, include a written version of contact details as well.

Possibly the most important thing to remember with business cards is to have enough of them!

Interesting Questions and Memorable Answers

Don’t get caught in the trap of asking mundane, repetitive questions with boring answers. These are going to make you forgettable.

Researching who will be at the exhibition before the event allows you to find out about what their business is and come up with relevant and interesting questions about their industry or job role.

In return, you do not want to give boring and generic answers – you want to stand out! So, it is always best that you have a few answers stored for the typical questions you receive at a networking event. Think of fun or interesting answers to these.

Body Language

Body language will get you far when it comes to networking, and even if you’re terrified, if you look relaxed everyone will think that you are.

Think confident and relaxed, emitting this kind of body language will, in turn, make your companion relax in your company as well allowing for some great networking to take place!

Remember always to smile and shake everyone’s hand when greeting and saying goodbye; it is also important to keep the appropriate amount of eye contact – think interested, not obsessed.

If you act the part, it will make the whole process easier for everyone involved and you will get into the flow of your conversation much quicker, which means more time for networking properly and building working relationships.

Follow Up!

This could potentially be the most important part of the whole networking process, and it’s the easiest to forget as well.

Developing a relationship takes more than just a 15-minute chat at an exhibition. Connect with your leads via email, social media and you could even give them a call.

Build a working relationship where you could refer clients to each other and in turn convert this individual to use your services.

It’s important to keep this relationship going past leaving the exhibition hall doors!