The quick list
1. Make people aware
2. Brand yourself for quick identification
3. Remind people to come
4. Keep stallholders & visitors happy
5. Keep your insurance company happy
6. Encourage stallholders & visitors to return next year
7. Protect your investment
Or in detail
1. Convert the Unaware
You decide to stage a festival, event or a show. Now you need stallholders and/or exhibitors plus visitors. So, you need to advertise: and advertising early AT the venue is an effective way of alerting your potential customers: so you need a site sign.
A piece of wood painted freehand is a sign – but what message would it tell your customers? We judge by what we see – so unfortunately, they would understand your event was also a home-made, low-budget affair.
If you don’t want that, you need a professional sign made from suitable materials and erected properly (you look silly if it blows down!) Re-use it too: consider leaving it (amended) for next year.
2. Have a Strong Visual Image
In a busy world, your name/brand/image has to stand out. So you need a sign-maker who can design a sign that has the right words, font, colours and layout to suit you.
For example, if you choose a strong colour for the lettering or background (eg think bright pink = hArt), customers get a re-inforced reminder every time they see it, even if they are too busy (or driving too fast) to take in words.
Fonts (lettering) can be fashionable and market-specific, reflecting the people you want to attract. (eg Do you want to be a traditional agricultural show or are you selling design or food? Is your target market families with children, music fans or professionals with money to spend?) Layout must be readable from a distance: what works in a newspaper advert does not work at the roadside
3. Make More Potential Customers Aware & make them Act
As your event draws nearer you need to maximise the pool of people aware of your show and remind people to act on the date – roadside directional signs are ideal. They need siting carefully, so you need installers who know how not to offend the Highway Authorities, using suitable materials so Health & Safety is not compromised. An experienced sign company will help you judge timing, quantities and identify potential hazards. And can be commissioned to take them down afterwards!
4. Keep Stallholders & Visitors Safe and Happy
Once on site, stallholders and visitors must be kept safe and happy. Help people find their way around easily – using numbers, ‘road’ names, sectors, fingerposts, flags – improves the event experience and reduces stress and the number of staff you need. Identify your toilets!
Maximise sales by highlighting cafes, seating areas and draw customers to different areas of your event – your sign company can provide café barriers, queuing systems, banner-stands, A boards and so on.
Attractive stands, stalls and facilities benefit from professional lettering, backdrops, banners and framing systems. Encourage this in your booking procedure – point out your minimum standards and suggest sign companies who can help. Consider recommending your own sign supplier who might offer discounts.
5. Keep your Insurance company Happy
Hazards, from vehicle/pedestrian movement to overhead power lines, animals or biohazards may all need warning signs to cover your responsibilities and keep your insurance company happy.
Fire exits and emergency access ways are no good just on paper: they need international standard signs for people to use and – not abuse – them.
6. Make Stallholders & Visitors Return another Year
Repeat business is economical: each happy visitor is inclined to return next year, perhaps spreading the word among their friends on your behalf. At the exit, put a “Thank you for coming” sign with the date of next year’s show. And you could advertise at the gate and elsewhere (eg at a tourism publicity event) with a banner-up featuring a special offer for exhibitors who sign up early.
7. Looking After Your Investment & the Planet
Investing in durable signs means you can use them again, with tweaks and additions, saving you money and the earth’s resources. Ask your sign-maker if they can offer storage as well.
Q: How to have a successful show?
A: Use a ‘proper’ sign firm!
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