Inspiration, Tips and Advice

Exhibition survival 101

Whether you’re an exhibition first-timer, or a seasoned pro, exhibition season can send anyone into cold sweats with all the work involved. However, there’s help at hand courtesy of our timeline breakdown to make you an exhibition extraordinaire.


Before the exhibition….

1. Do your research

It’s important to know exactly what you’ve signed up to. It may sound obvious but understanding the size of the exhibition, its target audience, how it will run, and where you’ll be located, as well as knowing what sort of stand you’ll have. This will help you prepare everything you need to be exhibition ready, so aim to have this knowledge two weeks prior to exhibiting.


2. Curate your collection

What is your aim at this exhibition? Think about what you want to get out of it, and then you’ll know what you need to be showing off, whether it’s a new product or service, getting your brand out there or selling products on show. There’s only a finite amount of room on exhibition stands, so work out how different assets complement each other. For example, if you’re a wedding venue you may not have room for a full seating set up but you can arrange a simple wedding breakfast for one on a plinth or have a centerpiece on show. It’s also a good idea to have an inventory so you know you have enough samples and plenty of stock.


The exhibition stand at Top Drawer S/S 18

The exhibition stand at Top Drawer S/S 18, featuring The Completist, The Curious Department and Ted and Kip

3. Prepare your print

You’re going to want to display your most recent offerings and collections, so tactile takeaway print is a must for prospective customers to get up close and personal with your business. Again, make sure you have enough print to last you the entire exhibition, there’s nothing worse than missing out on giving marketing collateral to passers-by.

Consider print that will make you stand out, using luxury finishes such as White Ink, Foiling, Laser Cutting and Perforation. There will be plenty of competitors exhibiting too, so twists on classic print, such as a different size Saddle Stitched Brochures, unusually Folded Leaflets, Square Business Cards and Mini Cards will help differentiate you from the rest of the pack.


4. Dress to impress

Express your creativity by making your exhibition space something that really reflects your brand and personal style. This could be anything from displaying your Leaflets & Flyers in a funky stand to bringing in retro furniture rather than the standard venue supplied options.

As we mentioned earlier, during your research you should have found out a bit about your exhibition space. We’d recommend having a trial run at home to see what can and can’t be done, as well as what essentials such as glue, scissors, pins, pens etc. you won’t want to forget!

Using signage is an absolute must at any exhibition. Display Boards are great for showing off your brand, Roller Banners are perfect for creating a bigger presence and can be moved around to create different looks. Use Flags to really bring your space to life, while Posters and Self-Adhesive Vinyl prints make statements as a floor to wall design.


5. Shout about it

Get the word out on social media a week or two before heading off to your show. Anyone interested in your business will then know where you are. You can even organise competitions and promote them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to drive people to your stand on the day. The exhibitions organisers themselves are sometimes good at reposting on social media, which can help you if you need a bigger reach, so don’t forget to make good use of tagging and location tagging too.


Top Drawer ss/18

Top Drawer S/S 18



1. Smile

Not everyone is a natural sales person, and if the thought of engaging with total strangers turns you into a shrinking violet, you’re not alone! Keep your body language open and friendly, and a simple smile and a little eye contact will make it easier for you and the attendees; they might be a bit nervous too! Don’t be afraid to step outside of your space and greet people in walkways with samples to bring them over. Try engaging with people using open ended questions that require more than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer – this way you’ll be more likely to spark up a conversation from the off.


2. Be personal

Anecdotes about jobs you’ve done, ideas you’re passionate about and experiences you’ve had – these all help when networking with potential customers or even business partners, because they make you memorable. Ask questions so you can bond over mutual interests. If for example someone is looking at one of your products, go on over and tell them a bit about it – where you got your inspiration, why you love it, and of course, ask their opinion too!


3. Handouts

You want people to experience the quality of your business first-hand, so make sure your handouts are top notch. We offer a number of luxury paper stocks, and giving out extras such as bags and freebie sweetie treats to lure people into a conversation is a tasty tactic. Pop some Stickers on items like this to takeaway and hey presto these prospects are now walking billboards too.


4. Wear comfy shoes

If this is your first exhibition, it’s worth noting that these things are tiring. Expect to be on your feet all day – and by all day, we mean all day. If you’re exhibiting alone, you may not have the option to take breaks during the day, so wear your most comfortable shoes! You’ll thank us for this later, we promise.


Top Drawer S/S 18

Top Drawer S/S 18



1. Follow up leads

Most sales are going to come in the aftermath of the exhibition, so have a plan of attack! Don’t be afraid to follow up potential contacts, leave it a day or two, then shoot out some short, friendly emails to remind them of you. If you can remember something specific you discussed, even better. Talking about something that involves or interests them will hopefully get the dialogue going. It’s a good idea to make bites about your leads during the exhibition. Ask for a Business Card from your prospects and when they leave, pop a few notes alongside their details so you can follow up with ease later on.


2. Blog and promotion

There will probably be quite a bit going on online about the event or exhibition, so jumping on the bandwagon with your own blog will help drive traffic to your website. It’s also a nice way to promote your involvement in the exhibition, and the organisers might reciprocate with reposting your efforts.


3. Review

What did you learn about your exhibition experience? Is there anything you’d do differently next time or was there something another exhibitor did that you’d love to try? Jot down a few notes so you remember these thoughts for next time, as well as looking at similar events and if asked, pass on feedback to the organisers so they can improve on the experience if you decide to return.


Promotional essentials on Display at Top Drawer S/S - by The Curious Department

Promotional essentials on Display at Top Drawer S/S – by The Curious Department



We hope that you found our hints and tips helpful and your next exhibition goes without a hitch! While you’re here, why not take a look at First time exhibiting? Follow these steps to success article?


To get yourself prepared with all the print you need, shop our Exhibition Collection now!


Shop the Exhibition Collection

About the author

When she’s not perusing the factory or planning our next product launch, you’ll find Emma doing some form of exercise. Whether it’s her favourite gym class or a walk around Northumberland with friends, she loves keeping fit!

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