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What Are Some Successful Exhibition Ideas?

What Are Some Successful Exhibition Ideas?

The exhibition industry is booming and it is showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. There are over 1.3 million business events held in the UK every year, collectively attracting over 85 million visitors per annum. With figures like this, it’s obvious that competition is tough for businesses exhibiting at such events.

In 2015 alone, over £19.2 billion was collected in revenue from exhibitions and trade fairs. With the potential to make so much money, it is essential that you make your exhibition stand deviate from the swarm of other displays around you if you are going to get a slice of that £19 billion for yourself.

There are numerous techniques you can adopt to ensure that your exhibition endeavours are a success. We have compiled some of our top tips to help you see a return on your investment:

Be Interactive

With thousands of visitors attending any one event at the same time, peaking curiosity is a must. Attendees have hundreds of businesses trying to grab their attention at the same time. It’s important to think like a visitor; which stand would you rather go to? A bog standard display or an exhibition stand with something for you to get involved in?

What does interactive mean?

To be interactive means that you have some form of multimedia or activity embedded into your exhibition stand for visitors to engage with.

What type of businesses can have an interactive exhibition stand?

Any business can have an interactive display. Whether you sell contents insurance or run a party entertainment firm, you can make what you do sound like the bees knees – even if it’s not particularly exciting.

What do I need to buy to make my exhibition display interactive?

Making your exhibition stand interactive isn’t as costly as it may seem. By adding simple components such as a monitor bracket or an iPad stand, you can instantly transform your stand from drab to fab. With prices starting from just £58, you are almost guaranteed to see a return on your investment into an interactive display.

If an iPad or a monitor bracket isn’t something that would work for your event, simply adding a speaker or effective lighting can be equally as stimulating and compelling. A good lighting option is the Lumos tower. It comes with 16 million colour illumination options and can be synced to music to create a stunning and fascinating display that will draw visitors in.

We supply a full range of exhibition stand accessories, including everything you need to create a interactive, experiential display stand designed to entice customers.

What kind of activity or multimedia ideas can I choose from?

What you can do with your display depends on what product you choose to incorporate. If you have a monitor bracket, you can play an engaging promotional video for your brand, present infographics about your industry or your business success rates, or you can even hook up a games console or laptop and have a game for people to play.

Games link in well to competitions. People love to win things, so by offering a prize, you will encourage footfall to your stand and boost engagement immeasurably.

If you are launching a new product or specialise in one specific product, live demonstrations are a great way to get people involved. Letting people touch and feel your product is an easy way for people to understand and get to grips with your business. The ideal way to promote and example a specific product is with a demonstration counter. Exhibition counters are a great way to keep your stand organised, as well as providing internal storage and extra branding. To find the ideal promotional counter, take a look at our range of exhibition counters.

There are over four billion internet users globally. Social media accounts exist for the vast majority of events, specifically ones with a high rate of attendance. This means each exhibition event is bound to have a presence on social media in some capacity; be it through a hashtag or an actual account. With thousands of people attending each exhibition event, there is certain to be a large number of people following the event on social media.

For this reason, it is a smart idea to have some sort of engagement on social media and tying it into the event. For example, investing in a selfie board with your branding on it, getting visitors to take a photo with the selfie board and posting it on social media and using a hashtag relevant to the event is an easy way to have social media engagement. Even this could be turned into a competition; the visitor who gets the most likes or shares on their picture wins a prize.

Social Media

Social media isn’t just useful for engaging with events; it’s also great for following up leads and closing sales. Over 95% of adults aged 18-34 are likely to follow a brand on social media. In 2015, Facebook influenced 52% of consumer purchases.

How do these statistics work?

If someone goes to an event and they have been ‘wowed’ by your interactive exhibition stand because it was particularly memorable, there is a high chance of them following you on social media. With consistent social media posts that are informative but not too machine-like and dull, you stand a good chance of influencing someone to invest in your business.

This makes it well worth having your social links on your exhibition display or on a piece of marketing literature for people to take home.

Is paper marketing still effective in a digital world?

Many people assume that because everything is moving online, marketing should too. Whilst it’s important to have a presence on the internet, nothing beats an old-fashioned bit of paper.

Clarifying your business, your services and providing a call to action via social media profiles and a website link through the medium of a brochure or a hand out is far more effective than expecting people to remember your links mentally. In fact, over 70% of people say they prefer to read things on paper rather than on a screen.

Exhibition Stand Graphic Design

It’s all well and good having an interactive display and a presence on social media, but it could go to waste if your exhibition stand itself is poorly designed.

What should I avoid?

  • Too much text
  • Clashing colours
  • Blurry images
  • Poor organisation
  • No creativity

What should I aim to include?

  • Clear branding
  • A slogan or a one-line summary of your business
  • Bright, vibrant colours
  • An organised customer journey
  • Several design elements

For more in-depth information about exhibition stand graphic design, read our article How to Design an Eye-Catching Exhibition Stand.

Customer Service

Many businesses focus all of their efforts and resources on the look of their exhibition stand and forget to perfect their customer service.

There is nothing worse than being drawn into a company or a brand, only to be let down by shabby customer service. At an exhibition event, product knowledge is key. If staff are stumbling around questions or are unable to give a confident and correct answer, it will be an instant turn off and they won’t want to invest in your business.

Why is staff training so important?

In-depth staff training can be the make or break factor as to whether or not your exhibition experience is a success. In fact, 80% of your event success comes down to your staff. Before you get to the event, you need to carefully select which members of staff will be going and give them structured training to ensure that they are prepared for any questions that might come their way.

How can I train my team appropriately?

Here at XL Displays, we give our customer service tam and our sales team weekly training on how to improve their customer service and product knowledge.

By doing this, we are making sure that everyone is up to date and familiar with our products and practices, allowing them to give uniform and trust-worthy advice to customers.

Set Attainable Objectives

Every business goes to an event for different reasons, and it’s important you establish what you want from an event before you send your staff out there.

What objectives should I think about?

The most obvious objective of any exhibition is to increase revenue, but this doesn’t always have to be your primary aim. If your business is new or relatively small, raising brand awareness could be your main focus.

The majority of visitors to an exhibition are there to plan for next year, meaning they more than likely won’t invest in your business straight away. This makes brand awareness all the more essential.

How do I know if I’ve hit my objectives?

There is no point setting goals if you fail to measure your results. Create an organised system to tally off each time you generate a new business lead or close a sale. Create surveys for visitors to fill in, asking them things like whether they heard of your brand prior to the event and how your customer service was.

After the event is over, collate all of your data into a spreadsheet and update it each time you go an event so that you can visibly see if exhibiting is benefitting your business. To find out more, read our article on How to Set Exhibition Objectives That Work.

Maximise Your Day

Exhibiting at an event doesn’t mean you can’t also be a visitor at the same time.

Scope out Competitors

The odds are, if you’re exhibiting at an event, some of your industry competitors will also be there. In the harsh world of business, you need to keep a close eye on your competition in order to stay one step ahead.

Don’t be afraid to wander around the event and see what your competition are doing. Look at their set-up, examine their tactics and see if they are attracting more visitors to their exhibition stand than you are.

Keep a note of what they are doing and what you are not. After the event, use these notes to improve on your exhibition experience for next time.


Wherever there are retailers, there are suppliers. If your business is going to be a success, you need to find the highest quality hardware from the lowest-priced suppliers in order to maximise your margins.

At your exhibition event, find suppliers and see if you can get a better deal. Connect with people in the industry and make contacts whilst they’re right in front of you.

Post Event Actions

What you do after and exhibition is just as vital – if not more so – than what you do during and beforehand.

There is no point investing time and money into an event if you do not follow it up afterwards.

Why do I need to follow up an event?

When you exhibit, the chances are that you will generate business leads. As mentioned beforehand, you need to document all of the data you collect at an event to see whether or not it has been a success and if you have hit all of your targets.

When you know this, you can identify whether or not your investment was worth it and if you should do it again.

Remember, most visitors at an event are planning in advance, so it’s important to monitor any business leads for the next 12 months in order to maximise the amount of deals you close and the revenue you make.

What are the next steps?

After you have collated your exhibition data and determined if your efforts have paid off, you need to book your slot for your next exhibition – quickly. Places fill up fast, so make sure you are prepared in advance.

Chat to your team to see how they found the experience of exhibiting, if they would do it again, what they think went well and what could be improved on for next time.

There is no set formula for a successful exhibition, but by making sure you are prepared and maximising the most of your time at the event, you are guaranteed to reap some form of reward for your efforts.