Are you gearing up for some real-life B2B events this year? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Attracting new clients and retaining existing ones is an important part of the events process. So, ensuring you have the best possible chance of - quite literally - standing out at your next event will be vital in ensuring you give your company the opportunity to grow and engage your audience.
That’s why we were thrilled to chat with Gemma Shaw, the Managing Director of Insideout Events on The Big Bright Podcast. She specialises in the design and builds of stands — an essential component you’ll have to consider if you’re exhibiting at events.
So, how do you make the most out of your event presence? Read on below or check out the full episode to discover some practical tips that’ll help you dazzle your audience and attract new visitors to your stand.
Why are exhibition stands important?
You probably already know that B2B events are a huge part of the business industry. This is the place to network with clients, introduce yourselves to potential customers, catch up with partners and get the scoop on your competition.
What’s more, events usually last over a period of a few days, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re setting up camp in a stand that you’re proud of. After all, this is the chance to showcase your brand’s personality in the flesh, so you’ll want to dazzle them with everything you’ve got!
If you’re still unsure, then according to Gemma, “Companies generate approximately a third of their revenue from exhibits and events.” Enough said, right?
How much should an exhibition stand cost?
There’s no getting around the fact that exhibiting is expensive. According to Gemma, you’ll be looking to pay anywhere between “£200 - £400 per square meter” just for a space in an exhibition hall. That’s why it’s important to make the most out of your event stand, so outsourcing to experts in the field is highly recommended.
Some other costs to factor in include:
Bigger is not always better
The first thing to outline is your budget. What can you afford to spend on the event? For example, if you've got a £15,000 budget, there's no point spending £10,000 on your space, leaving with just five grand to fill it with a stand. You’re just not going to make it look good with a fraction of your budget. Nobody really cares about how big your stand is, people are attracted to how it looks. So if you are limited on budget, it’s best to go with a smaller stand space and then spend more money on filling the stands with nice fancy features that are really going to grab people's attention. At the end of the day, image is everything.
Think about the colleagues coming along to the event. Remember they’ll be representing your brand, so ensuring you have personable members of staff who can easily chat to prospects and customers will ensure you’re making the most of your time. In other words, you don’t want people who will just hang around on their phones all day!
Electricity isn’t cheap. (Yes, you need to pay extra for power). Everyone is going to need electricity and, most of the time, your stand builder will remind you and include it. Just bear in mind that sockets come at an extra cost. So consider what electrical appliances you need on your stand. If you're going to include a coffee machine, it's going to need three kilowatts of power. In total, you could be looking at around £600 to power that coffee machine over the course of the event. So, just weigh up if it’s worth having the machine at all.
Instead, you could pop to a nearby coffee stand and grab drinks for those customers or prospects you know you are going to spend longer with.
What features should I include on my exhibition stand?
When it comes to the little details, less is often more, so make sure you think carefully before choosing your features. Part of this is understanding your goals for the event. Are you there to meet new customers, schmooze with new ones, or build brand awareness? Perhaps you’re keen to showcase a new product or service. Whatever it is, once you’ve figured out your goals, you can plan your stand accordingly.
“Half of my clients will be looking to pick up new customers and they want to meet as many people as possible and want people on and off the stand quickly. In this case, they won’t opt for a meeting area because the longer you’re sat down with a customer, the less time you're going to spend with another. Most of the time at a business event, you're not doing any deals on the exhibition stand itself. You’re probably just going to meet people and show them who you are and what you do. The hard work comes after the show when you contact those customers and attempt to convert them.
On the other hand, If your aim is to just meet with current customers, you might want a meeting room so you can sit down and spend more time with them.” - Gemma Shaw
Another key feature that will come in useful is storage spaces. Not only can you hide your personal belongings here, but it can also be a space for you and your colleagues to take a breather. Events can be intense, so somewhere you can get away for a 10-minute break will make things a lot easier.
The Insideout Events' stand design
Where should my exhibition stand be positioned?
Besides making your exhibition stand ‘stand out’, you’ll probably want to consider where you’re positioned within the event hall. A lot of B2B events are held in huge halls that attract hundreds to thousands of people. So you don’t want to be tucked away in the back corner!
When you’re liaising with your event organiser, they’ll want you in a spot that is in the prime position for potential customers. They’ll probably suggest you pick a plot that is closer to the entrance, or away from the main speaking halls.
However, despite what you may think, grabbing the more expensive and ‘prime’ positions isn’t always necessary.
“Most people who are attending an event are going for a purpose. They're looking for something for their business or something for them personally, so most of the time people will walk up and down every single aisle. Whilst you are probably going to get more footfall in those busier areas, for anyone who's actually looking for something at a show, you’re not really going to miss out on the business.”
Stand trends that have been dazzling visitors
When working on a stand design, it’s a good idea to check out the competition and have a look around at past and upcoming trends.
“About five - 10 years ago, everyone wanted to incorporate their logos into their exhibition stands. So on top of the stand, they'd have curves and accents which mirrored their logos, or they'd have cut-outs in their carpet with their logo on.”
Now, we seemed to have moved away from these sorts of designs and instead, there’s a trend for ‘homeliness’. So expect stands with lots of plants, natural wood and all-around earthy vibes.
Check out some previous designs from Insideout events. Can you spot the trends?
Bio Store - Identity Management Event Stand
MTG Systems Exhibition Stand
Snüz exhibition stand design
We hope you’ve picked up some tips to help you plan your next exhibition stand. If you’re keen to get Gemma and the team at Inside Out Events involved, simply head over to their website or give them a follow on Linkedin.