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How to exhibit successfully - Driving expo success (Part 1)

7th February 2024

3-minutes read

Exhibiting at trade shows and expos is a highly effective marketing strategy for B2B marketers, and shows deliver more benefits than just lead generation. They help you to research and investigate new markets, understand customer pain points and try out new sales strategies

The benefits of exhibiting at a trade show

Exhibiting at a trade show or expo provides you with a great opportunity to understand your customers fears and address any sales barriers they might have by answering questions and explaining your product or service in more detail. After all, people buy from people so if you are able to put people at ease they are much more likely to remember you and your business. Expos are not just about ‘selling’. They are about collecting names, building a sales funnel and building relationships. It’s not always about instant results.

Choose your expo carefully

Not all expos are created equal. Do your research, make sure you understand who is likely to attend the show and what the organisers expect in terms of footfall. Industry leading shows or those with a high profile keynote speaker will attract more visitors but are likely to cost a lot more.

Carry out a reccy

Plan ahead. The majority of expos have a similar layout year after year. Going to the show a year before you intend to exhibit is a good idea. Check out higher traffic areas, the cheapest exhibition space is likely to be the worst.  If your stand is at the far end of a cul-de-sac, you’ll attract few passing visitors.

Spend as much as you can afford, try not to cut corners on your space. Check out the types of business that are attending and the facilities available. Take photos and speak to the organisers. Find out what’s included. Do you need to pay extra for a power supply, for example? Some organisers are able to offer discounts on space, particularly in the last few weeks leading up to the event if others have pulled out.

A reccy will also give you the chance to see the different sizes of stands on offer. What is the standard of competitors exhibition materials, do yours stack up?

Have a dry run

It is possible to exhibit at some smaller shows at a much lower cost or even for free. Often, local chamber groups or networking groups will run single day events and these are a perfect opportunity to try and test your messaging and the design of your stand. It’s also a good time to consider the logistics; what will you need while you are there?  Write up a checklist so you don’t forget the essentials.

Invest in good expo materials

There are lots of different types of expo stand available and a lot are very cost effective. From the most basic pull up banners to more elaborate bespoke systems, each will have their own pros and cons.

Nowadays, it’s possible to buy modular systems that can be arranged in different ways to maximise the space available. If your artwork is designed so that each module works independently from the others, you’ll get the biggest ROI for future expos, as modules can be arranged differently based on the space available.




This way of designing a modular system gives the best ROI because each message is on its own panel so panels can be arranged differently for different expos and different spaces.




These panels cannot be arranged differently because the design runs across all three panels.

Make the most of your free marketing opportunities

Most expos will have their own website listing exhibitors at the show. Usually, as part of the deal, you'll be given the opportunity to promote your attendance on social media and show literature. Make the most of this marketing opportunity by providing good quality imagery and brand logos that event organisers can use. If you only have low resolution jpegs of your logos, invest in a designer to redraw the logo and resupply digital masters. This can be surprisingly cost effective and the investment will pay off in the long term. New master logos can be used for any marketing you choose to do in the future.

Consider investing in a professionally designed press advert for the trade show programme to signpost people to your stand. Remember, delegates will look through these programmes as soon as they arrive at the trade show and so it’s a perfect opportunity to grab their attention early.

This is part 1 of a two part series on driving expo success. In part 2, we'll explore how to get your expo stand looking the best it can be and how to manage visitors to your stand.




Thinking of exhibiting at an expo? Need help with design? See how we can support you and make the most of your marketing message. Contact Mark Wilde for a free design audit.

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Mark Wilde

Mark Wilde

Creative Director

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