Trade shows, conventions, and other similar industry events offer countless opportunities for your business. These events allow you to learn current trends in your field and outdo your competitors.
But more than that, they’re a great venue to showcase the best of your brand. As startup CEO David Adelman pointed out, a few days in an industry event allows you to achieve what could take months of cold calls and emails. To get the same results, we’ve compiled 9 trade show tips to help you out.
Success comes from careful planning. Our first three trade show tips will help you smooth out details before the big event.
1.) Set your goals. Participating at trade shows is an investment, so you need to be aware of what you want to achieve. Are you looking to promote a product you’re launching? Are you hoping to meet industry professional and potential clients? List down the outcome you want to achieve and this will help guide you make decisions along the way.
2.) Do some research. Not all trade shows are created equal. Make sure the trade show you’re signing up for is the best match for your brand. Before you commit to anything, look through websites and past programs to help you determine which event matches your goals. Choose shows that can help you reach out to key decision makers to get the best ROI.
3.) Prep your team. Gather your team and have regular meetings to plan and prepare for the trade show. Trade show exhibits are a lot like presentations. Aside from the visuals, you need to be able to engage the crowd with good delivery. This won’t happen unless all of you are on the same page. Discuss your goals and train your team long before you’re slated to attend the event.
Once everything has been set in place, it’s time to prepare your visuals and display. Here are trade show tips to guide your exhibit set-up.
4.) Don’t be caught unaware. Get in touch with the organizers and learn the specific details about your exhibition space. Learn more about the layout and technical requirements to avoid any unpleasant surprises. You don’t want to be setting up your booth only to find out that there are no electrical outlets near your assigned space.
5.) Make a trade show loop. Aside from decorating your booth in subtle colors that match your brand logo, you should also have a trade show loop set up. Crowds at industry events won’t spend more than a few minutes in each booth. A trade show loop can quickly show those just passing by what your exhibit is about. You can use PowerPoint to make one. You can read our tutorial here or ask the help of our professional PowerPoint designers.
6.) Be organized and creative. Draw the crowd’s attention by keeping your booth organized, but with an element of fun. Your display will be easier on the eyes if you arrange your materials in levels. Place smaller items up front and larger objects at the back. Arrange your flyers and brochures in a place where people can easily reach for them. You can also display a portfolio so others can learn about your past projects. These are usual things for a trade show booth, so don’t forget to integrate something new. It’s common to offer giveaways at a booth. Most exhibitors like to give office supplies. Deviate by coming up with something more creative with a care package, or food.
Engage the crowd by giving them a pleasant experience. These trade show tips are useful for networking with prospects.
7.) Utilize social media. Most big industry events will have a strong online presence. Even for smaller shows, organizers will likely integrate the use of social media. If this is the case, tweet about your involvement using the trade show’s official hashtag. This will serve you two ways. You can draw attendees to your booth if they see your tweet in the event’s live feed. It will also give your followers a chance to get a glimpse of your exhibit, even if they’re far away.
8.) Make conversation. It’s important to strike up a conversation with those visiting your booth. It doesn’t have to be too long. Chat up people who stop by your exhibit, using the opportunity to introduce others to your brand. Don’t forget to exchange business cards. You should also have some press kits prepared, just in case someone from the media stops by.
9.) Don’t forget to follow up. Connect with contacts you’ve made right after the trade show. Write an email with a personalized message. Use the opportunity to re-introduce them to your company. Frame it in a way that relates to their own interests. Learn more about making follow-ups here.
Industry events are the perfect venue to introduce your brand to potential customers or clients. Make sure you put the best foot forward. Follow these trade show tips and you’ll meet a successful outcome.
Adelman, David. “10 Simple Tricks For Getting More Out Of Conventions And Trade Shows.” Forbes. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Featured Image: Think Geo Energy via Flickr