How to get visitors to your exhibition stand ahead of your competitors

How to get visitors to your exhibition stand ahead of your competitors

Having a great looking stand is essential to exhibition success. But productive exhibiting is about more than just aesthetics. You also have to attract and retain visitors ahead of your competitors. So as well as choosing the right system and adding some magic to ensure your stand is a winner, you also need to think about promotion. Because it doesn’t matter how good you look if nobody knows you are there.

Are you doing enough to promote your exhibition stand?

Promotion is about more than just completing the show exhibitor profile (although you should always do this!). Here are some tips to help you make a big impact and put the competition in the shade.

Social media

Use the exhibition hashtag on social media to promote your presence. Much more than a gimmick this will help visitors to connect, share information, and engage with you before the big event. And make them keen to visit you when they get there.


Use images, videos, and testimonials from previous tradeshows to demonstrate what people can expect at your stand.

You should also create bespoke content that attendees will want, and start promoting this before the event. You don’t have to hand out a printed pack. Instead, rather than providing delegates with something throwaway, consider going paperless.

Over the years, our exhibition team has come up with a huge range of alternative giveaways to help our clients to stand out from the crowd.
paperless exhibition stand

Booth boosters

Most exhibitors will deploy some tricks to attract visitors to their stand. From food and drink to seating areas. But, while giving away coffee (or something a bit stronger!) can help to get a queue forming, this won’t help your business if the free drink is the only thing they remember about you after the event is over.

Likewise, while seating areas are an easy way to encourage people to hang around, we’ve seen delegates who have actually fallen asleep on sofas during the afternoon!

So, if you are deploying such tactics, make sure that they support your objectives. For example, rather than giving away something for nothing:

  • Encourage conversations while people are waiting
  • Provide rolling presentations for them to watch while eating
  • Make them earn it (e.g. make them do a quick survey or exchange contact details in return for their freebie).

Of course, this will only work if what you are giving away is perceived to be worth it.

Check out these in booth tactics for exhibition stands by
In booth tactics for exhibition stands by


Promote competitions before the tradeshow that give people the chance to win on the day. For example, to help one of our clients, we sent invites to targeted prospects. This came complete with an individual code which allowed them to visit the stand and try their digits on a padlock showcase holding a giant ticket. If successful, visitors were invited to come back later when the winner would be revealed. This meant our client benefited from a second visit from most of their prospects – boosting brand engagement and opportunities for networking.

Find out more about this project.


When it comes to exhibition promotion, email is still a key communication channel. You can use emails to:

  • Let contacts know you will be attending the show
  • Promote any offers available at the event
  • Promote any demos, talks, etc.
  • Send reminders and announcements to create a buzz.

Including a video in an email is a fantastic way to ensure high click-through rates and create a more engaging experience. And, if encouraging conversations is a key objective, why not give visitors the option to book a personal session with you on the day?

Just remember that any emails you send will need to be GDPR compliant. For example under the GDPR, it’s not illegal to send marketing emails to contacts; but you do need their permission to do this.

Find out more about how you can legally use data to enhance and focus your marketing activities at your next tradeshow, and beyond.

GDPR and Exhibitions


Wearing branded clothing and hiring people to give out literature and talk to customers is still a great way to boost your exhibition presence.

However, over the years, we’ve all seen deliberately underdressed women employed to drum up footfall. And at Apex we would argue that today, a more respectful approach is required.

Should the event industry be using sex to sell?

Should the event industry be using sex to sell?

Want more information on how to ensure your tradeshow presence is maximised?

For more information on buying an exhibition stand and making it work for you, our handy checklist will help you to reach your goals and achieve a truly positive experience.

In this guide you’ll find out more about:

  • Deciding on a scheme.Making sure the system you choose works for your business
  • Putting the basics in place.Ensuring your stand has everything it needs to succeed
  • Whistles and bells.How to add some magic to ensure your stand is a winner
  • Energy savings. How to introduce some green initiatives that help your stand to work more efficiently
  • Promotion. Helping you to attract and retain visitors ahead of your competitors
  • Lead capture. How to capitalise on your exhibition presence, long after the show is over.

Download the Apex Tradeshow Checklist for Exhibitors.

Tradeshow Checklist for Exhibitors
Tradeshow Checklist for Exhibitors