Improving Your Exhibition Displays During the Offseason

Depending on the industry, most businesses use their exhibition displays in 3 or 4 trade shows a year. That leaves a lot of time in-between shows that you could be using to improve your appearances, cut costs, and improve your ROI.

Just like in sports, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels during the offseason: you should be using downtime as an opportunity to refine your strategies for your trade show displays. Fundamentally, planning is the most crucial part of a trade show appearance, and the more time you can spend on it, the better.pole panel displays

Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your next trade show display is always your best yet.

Planning For Your Exhibition Displays Between Shows

I. Form a core team of trade show specialists:

It’s extremely common for businesses to go into trade shows taking whoever happens to be available that weekend. Don’t do this! If you’re serious about your trade show booths, take some of your experienced staff and turn them into specialists.

If you have a group whose job description includes prepping and drilling for trade show appearances, you’ll know you won’t have to worry so much about employee problems at the show itself. Have them practice pitches on each other, train for handling difficult questions or hecklers, and get plenty of hands-on experience with the trade show materials well in advance of the show.

II. Analyze past performance:

If you aren’t keeping detailed records of the performance of your exhibition displays over time, now is the time to start. Keep track of elements like:

  • Overall cost

  • Number of visitors

  • Number of leads gathered

  • Number of leads converted to sales

  • Demographics on visitors (age, job title, etc)

  • Participation on your website or social media

  • Estimated ROI

  • General topic (your displays’ focus at each event)

Start graphing these metrics. Look for trends. If you graph this out, it can be far easier to spot instances where things really worked or really didn’t. It gives you the sort of overview you need to make intelligent strategic decisions about potential future changes to your exhibition displays.

III. Poll visitors:

Prepare a short poll before the trade show – probably less than five questions – and hand it out, or contact leads afterwards via email or social media to ask them their opinions. When combined with the above analysis, this gives you terrific insight into how your visitors view your exhibition displays and how you can make them more appealing to people.
quadro popup 50 ft trade show display

There are also numerous websites online, such as Surveymonkey, that allow you to host online polls for free, or for extremely minimal costs. These can be a nice, cheap way to do a little market research.

IV. Study your customers:

We’ve talked before about buyer personas, and the offseason is a perfect time to develop them. Really dig into your customers’ likes and dislikes, and look for ways to tie your trade show displays more closely to what they want to see.

Ideally, your booth and all the materials in it, including trade show carpet, tension displays and trade show furniture, should not be aimed at just anyone. They should be targeted specifically to draw in the visitors that YOU want, that you think are the most likely to convert into sales.  That’s how you truly get the most out of your exhibition displays.

In short, if you want to see the best return on your trade show displays, they shouldn’t be something you only consider during trade show months. You should be constantly working to improve these exhibition displays and boost the returns on your appearances.

For more, check out how to patch holes in your budget or the economics of exhibiting.

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