It's an oft-repeated mantra in business that quality is better than quantity. This is especially true when it comes to a trade show. There is really no point in getting dozens or even hundreds of people to visit your stall if you aren't going to see any return on investment for your time.

You are at a trade show to sell your product, not simply to attract the attention of attendees. In some circumstances the best way to do this is to get as many people to come to your stall as possible in the hope that a decent percentage end up making a purchase. However, it often pays to be a bit more targeted.

If you conduct a bit of market research before going to a trade show, you will find that you generally only need to attract two or three different types of people to your stall. This means you can make your marketing much more targeted, rather than trying to make your business appeal to every attendee at the exhibition.

In order to work off this basis, it is a good idea to create personas. These are simply detailed descriptions of the type of people in your target market. Constructing these enables you to really target your branding so that the right kind of people come to your stall at your next trade show. Here are our top tips on creating personas:

Be specific

You won't gain anything from marketing towards anything as broad as a 'businessperson'. You need to tie down as many statistics as possible about your target audience. What is their job title? What gender are they likely to be? How old are they? What newspaper do they read?

Eventually, you will be able to get a specific picture of the average people you can target. The aim is to create a persona that tells you what drives and motivates the people you want to attract, and what tactics will work best on them.

Strike a balance with your marketing

It is very rare that you will be able to narrow your audience down to one persona, so you will usually end up with two or three. As such, it can be difficult to decide how best to target them with your marketing. You want to be specific, so don't just choose tactics that will be inoffensive and generally appealing to all of them.

Instead, you should determine how much of your target market each persona makes up. If 70 per cent of your audience consists of middle-aged IT managers, then 70 per cent of your marketing should target these people specifically.

Look to both attract and engage them

Remember that the aim here is not to necessarily attract a large volume of people to your stand. You want to get your personas to come over and talk to you, of course, but that is not as important as engaging them and making sure they are interested in what you have to offer.
Targeting your branding to attract them is one thing, but you also need to make sure your marketing and promotional material is designed to get them to become interested in your product and therefore more likely to make a purchase.