9 Best Trade Show Tips
Attending a Trade Show?
Getting the most from a trade show can be a tough experience, or is it really?
With trillions of business deals being done every year at trade shows they can certainly be worth it. While attending a trade show to market your company or product can be a worthwhile experience, it tends to benefit most the businesses that incorporate a strategy.
With this in mind we have prepared the 9 Best Tips for Trade Show Success, which, if used wisely could have a huge improvement on whether your next trade show is a success…
#1 Stand Out
You only get one opportunity to make an impression at a trade show, and in a packed event surrounded by confusing messages, it is imperative you take time to make your area stand out from the crowd. Depending upon size and space limitations, and budgetary constraints, there are a lot of factors to take in. Getting a good quality pop-up display with 5 or 6 panels arranged in a 2 meter tall curve can be unbelievably effective and will get you noticed, but if you did not have the €1000 or so to invest in one of these there are plenty of other options available. The good old roll-up banners can create a similar effect (if only on a slightly less grand a scale), so placing a couple of these in suitable locations on your stand can provide a great alternative for a fraction of the cost. Flags, balloons and banners (not necessarily all together at once) are also affordable ways to create visual interest and draw people over to look at what you are offering.
#2 Start Early
This does not mean getting up at 5am on the morning of your trade show. Instead it means you need to start planning weeks or months in advance of the show – in fact the earlier the better. Things like designing your stand, organising your space, designing and printing brochures, pricelists and business cards, organising staff, etc can often be left to the last minute. As a print provider myself we see all too often people panicking a the last minute, rushing their print orders the week before the show and not giving themselves the time they need to consider their message or what they should bring with them. Couple that in with multiple companies doing the same thing and a lot of other printers end up having to turn work away, leaving many people disappointed and stressed out. Planning in advance takes a lot of the guesswork out, and allows you time to cover any unexpected eventualities.
#3 Book Meetings
This might seem a bit of a strange one, but it can be very beneficial to organise a few meetings for both existing and potential clients, and more importantly potential attendees, to come and visit you at your stand. It gives you an opportunity to showcase your business outside of the office, while giving the added benefit of having your stand seem popular, which in itself will draw more people to your stand unawares. If you can arrange meetings with attendees it gives you a great opportunity to collect some extra email addresses and phone numbers
#4 Maximise Your Reach
Promotional Giveaways are often frowned upon and can often be seen as an unnecessary expense. The truth is, they work. Giving someone something useful to take away with them means your message has the potential to travel much further after the catalogues and brochures have hit the recycling centres. The key to promotional products however lies in their function. When we help clients choose the types of giveaways to use we focus on the function and often advise against the keyrings and like that will not get used or used for long. Instead, never underestimate the printed pen, after all, they never go into the bin, no matter how many you have you always throw an extra one in the car or on the corner of your desk, and fact is, they travel far and they get used. And the type of giveaway you choose does not have to be expensive to be effective. The likes of printed balloons travelling around the trade show, or printed bags are quite cheap and can turn every attendee into an advertiser of your brand…
#5 Maximise Your ROI
Trade shows start and then they are over in a few short days, so what can you do to maximise the Return-On-Investment (ROI) made to attend? Simple, you need to make as many contacts as you can that you can potentially add to a mailing list and reach out to again in the future. But, getting all these new potential contacts to give you their personal emails and phone numbers can be laborious even if it can have long-reaching implications. The answer? You make them want to give you their contact details.
Sounds difficult? It isn’t. Hold a competition to win one of your products, a holiday, or something of high perceived value and they will flock to your stand to give you their contact information to enter. Make sure to add a tick-box asking them to opt in to your mailing list – but word it so that they will want to opt in – ie. say something like “tick this box for the chance to enter more free competitions like this and to be kept up-to-date with our news and events”. It’s all how you word it…
#6 Be Approachable
This may sound too obvious to state, but I cannot understate it.
Firstly, mobile phones are now banned from your stand. Too often I have approached a stand I have found interesting, but the people there were looking at their phones. I didn’t want to interrupt so I quickly moved on, potentially losing them a lead.
Secondly, smile. A smile is an amazing tool that can welcome, disarm, invite and open a conversation. No matter how hard it is to smile, even after 5 or 6 hours of standing on your feet, a smile can lead to a sale.
And thirdly, welcome them to your stand. Having a few sweets, some tea & coffee, or some fresh baked cookies will not only engage with them but can create enticing aromas that can draw people in from other stands around you.
#7 Make a crowd
Nothing draws people over to your stand like seeing a crowd, it draws attention. Suddenly you are popular and people will want to know why, what are you selling, what do you do. If you have extra staff, have them dress like attendees and frequent your stand and pretty soon you will have more people coming your way. Engage with people when they do come over so they cannot quickly move on, and this will draw in more people who will also want to talk with you.
#8 Look & Learn
It is important to remember also that you do not know everything and you can learn from the other exhibitors around you. Others might have thought of things that you did not, others might have done something different that may have drawn more people to their exhibit than to yours. It is important to look and learn from these people so that the next trade show you do will be even better for you and your business than the last.
#9 Be Quick to Follow Up
Follow up with any potential leads you made at the show as soon after as possible. The longer you wait to get in touch with them the less likely they will remember you, and you do not want this. Attendees will have made lots of interactions at the trade show, some of whom could even possibly be competitors of yours. Staying fresh in their minds will help you to stand out from all the others they met on the day, and it shows you have a real interest in doing business with them. This could have a real impact on lead conversions, and is well worth doing despite how tired and sore your feet are the day after!
Trade shows can be tough, but done right they can be hugely rewarding. Try to maximise what they can do for your business and you will ultimately reap the rewards.
Should you like any help or advice on what to do for your trade show – talk to us for free advice. We also provide a multi award winning design and print service which can provide everything you need from business cards, to pull up banners, and we have a huge selection of promotional products for you to choose from – we can also advise on these and what may work best for your own unique business. Feel free to drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries you have, (and yes, we do deliver).