For most businesses or business owners, attending a trade show can be very worthwhile. Whether you attend as a show visitor or to exhibit, trade shows are great marketing and networking opportunities. Trade shows are worth doing, but they can be competitive.
Trade shows are busy places, with lots of businesses vying for the attention of show attendees. If you’re going to succeed at a trade show, then you need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Try some of these tips to make sure you stand out for the right reasons and get those important leads and contacts.
- Start your planning well in advance of the show you’re planning to attend. There are lots of obvious things you can do to let people know you’ll be there, like adding your stand number to your email signature but try some more unusual methods too. Post polls on Twitter to get your customers to vote on which freebies you bring with you. Post using the event hashtag and start engaging with other attendees with interesting, image-rich, well-crafted tweets.
- Give something away other than free pens. Most vendors will have some sort of freebie with their logo to give away to people who visit their stand. All trade show visitors will leave the show with a bag full of free items, usually with plenty of free pens, which then get chucked into a desk drawer and forgotten about. To stand out more, give away something useful, unusual or eye-catching. Your logo can go on anything, including headphones, socks, sunglasses or anything else relevant. Put your logo on things people will use during the show. Bags are useful for holding all the leaflets people tend to gather or offer hand fans if the show floor gets hot.
- Check out what the competition is doing. Before the show, try to find out who else will be exhibiting. Who do you think will be the big popular vendors? What are they bringing to the show? Are they already running contests to drum up interest? What can you learn from what they’re doing to improve your own trade show offer?
- Invest in your stand. A sad-looking booth is the worst thing at a trade show. A trade show is for showcasing your brand, so you need to look professional, successful and trustworthy with a stand that looks good. Invest in great displays from a company like Infinity Exhibits that will show off how great you are and why people should do business with you. You can keep using this stand for other shows in the future to recoup the cost.
- Hand out large reusable bags. The vast majority of vendors will be handing out all kinds of free stuff, from brochures to branded umbrellas. The most popular giveaway item with the visitors is often the reusable bag, as it gives them somewhere to store all these things they’re being handed while they’re walking around the show. Make yours the largest so people will choose that one, displaying your logo all around the show.