Recently I wrote an article for Exhibitors Only that compared stands within exhibitions to websites.

The target audience for this piece was, of course, exhibitors, but there are lessons for event suppliers too.

Here’s the gist of my argument.

Let's say that one of your exhibitor clients is taking part in one of the big industry gatherings.

You know; the kind of event where there are hundreds of stands and thousands of people crisscrossing the floor.  

Let's also assume that your client is not one of the biggie exhibitors either. 

They may have a decent-sized and good looking stand, but they aren't in the Google or Microsoft stakes for brand recognition. 

So now their stand is a lot like a website.

It sits in a big marketing universe (the show) where you and your client both know there are thousands of potentially profitable and worthwhile clients all around.

Your client wants those visitors to know they are present, and they want them to visit their “site.”  

However, there is one big, significant difference and advantage between the physical, show universe and the digital world.

The people out there in the show are highly targeted.

Unlike digital, the sifting that narrows down the audience has already been done by the event organiser.

In this context, a client's website and landing page combine as one within their exhibition stand. 

 It’s an important thing to note.

Graphics, digital or printed, are like email messages and other forms of content we all publish in a bid to be noticed and to bring people to our sites or in this case, to exhibitions stands.

And, just like a website, if what your client offers isn’t understood quickly and easily visitors can be lost as they move on to hunt out products on stands in other parts of the show.

So, bounce rates apply to exhibition stands just as much as landing pages. 

The problem for exhibitors?  They don't have analytics to tell them what that bounce rate is.

If they did, maybe some would do things differently.

The SEO element of exhibiting is pre-show marketing and content distribution.

It’s also things like taking part in seminars.

These are activities exhibitors can use to attract more of the right people to their stands.

In the online world, no marketing person worth their salt would starve their website of content. 

And so it is with exhibiting. 

Exhibitors need to actively work on drawing people to their stands and again, just like a website, not just large numbers of time wasters either.

How can event suppliers help exhibitors to be more successful?

I think by using analogies like this and others that show how the physical world of events is a lot like digital.

Both have to be worked hard to get sales moving with new clients.

If you do little work to build traffic to your website, how will you create a profitable sales funnel?

The same principle applies to exhibiting.

Exhibitors who do little or no proactive event marketing are shooting themselves fairly and squarely in both feet.

Explain that to them as gently as you need to.

Think about how your product or service can help your client attract visitors.

Explain why those cleaner graphics, less cluttered stands, smart furniture, bright stand staff, or whatever it is you offer, will help them meet more of their kind of people. 

Tell them why their exhibition stand is a lot like a website.

Show how you can help them attract more of the people they would like to be doing business with, and your sales are very likely to grow too.

PS. If you would like to build a more profitable sales funnel for your business, using digital or physical marketing tools, we would be delighted to help you do this.

 David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051

Exhibitors Only

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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