The stand is built - what else should I budget for?

Costs can mount up quickly when you’re planning an exhibition stand budget, particularly if you’re commissioning a custom built stand. There’s no doubt that well designed, elaborate custom installations can have a huge impact on prospective clients, however the basic cornerstones of a successful exhibition stand shouldn’t be overlooked. In this article we’ll give you some tips that will enhance your exhibition stand even if your budget is light, and help you avoid some disastrous but all to common mistakes.

Train your exhibition stand staff

Probably the single most important thing you can do in preparation for your event is to make sure your staff understand what is expected of them while manning your exhibition stand. If your staff are sloppily dressed, disinterested and otherwise occupied with their laptop or smart phone, you are not only letting potential clients slip through your fingers, you are giving a negative impression of your company that you may never get the chance to rectify. Even if you’re sure that your staff won’t let you down, a bit of preparation will give your staff the confidence to approach prospective clients, peak their interest and ultimately secure the sale. For more details, read our article on the do’s and don’ts of manning an exhibition stand.

Ensure your exhibition stand graphics are up to scratch

Decent graphics for your exhibition stand are a relatively low cost way of creating impact and maintaing a professional presence. Exhibition stand graphics help you stand out from your competitors – just make sure you stand out for the right reasons! Scrappy A4 signs attached with sticky tape are a definite no-no – even if you’ve laminated them. If your stand is part of a shell scheme or modular arrangement, check with the event contractor – there is likely to be an agreement in place with a printer meaning that you can take advantage of negotiated bulk rates. Pull out screens are another alternative – these prove cost effective as they can be reused at other events. Read more about the importance of exhibition stand graphics.

Give-aways

Everyone likes a freebie and they’re par for the course at most exhibitions. Even the most basic freebies – like a bowl of sweets or jars of pens – can attract visitors to your stand and create a bit of a buzz. If you are investing any kind of money in your give-aways, however, ensure that you have incorporated some way of measuring your return. If you’re having customised products printed, make sure the web address or QR code takes them to a dedicated landing page so that you can measure traffic. If you’re giving away goody bags, put in an invite to take part in a prize draw for a higher ticket item in return for their email address.

Lighting

Lighting is an important element of the design for a custom built exhibition stand, and can also be a useful consideration for shell scheme or modular exhibition stands too. Supplementing the basic lighting provision with desk lamps, standing lamps and/or spotlights can change the whole look and feel of a stand and make it look much more inviting and professional. A word of warning though – check the health and safety requirements and the service provision (plug points etc) for your event before investing in supplementary lighting.

Refreshments

Offering refreshments is a good way of keeping people at your stand for a couple of minutes. If your budget will stretch to it, a good quality coffee machine gives a far better impression than a kettle and instant coffee. If your stand isn’t serviced with a water supply, soft drinks might be a better option. Another important consideration is ensuring that your sales staff are kept free to talk to customers and aren’t tied up with making and serving drinks all day. It might be more cost effective to employ a barista or waitress for the day rather than miss out on important contacts and sales because your key personnel are otherwise engaged with preparing refreshments.

We hope you’ve found these tips useful. Exhibition stand budgets are often a significant part of your overall marketing spend, and following these tips will help you to project and maximise your investment. If you’d like to talk about how we can help with your upcoming event, please do get in touch.