Trade shows are one of the best opportunities to showcase and demonstrate your business’s latest products and services in front of a large audience, as well as getting exposure for your company in general and examining recent market trends and industry opportunities.
Planning Your Trade Show Appearance
If you want to have a significant presence at a strategic or influential trade show, planning your booth presentation in advance will allow you to design a set-up that will complement your business and message. As a general rule, booth space is usually limited and must be reserved in advance. There is most likely a fee for the space which may include factors such as the square footage or location on the exhibition floor in the pricing structure, but may or may not include additional materials such as tables, chairs or dividers.
Developing a good design and clear message for your booth are both key to the success of your presence at a trade show. Your area should be inviting, easy to access, attract positive attention, and your logo should be big enough to see from a distance. You should also employ a dress code for your staff at the show so they will be easily identifiable. This can be a full uniform, or even something as simple as the same color shirt or hat with your logo visibly printed on all apparel items. Your staff should also know what is expected of them, and they should be standing out in front of your booth to greet visitors as opposed to sitting behind it. It is essential that everyone is on the same page; briefing your trade show representatives on your goals, the message you are trying to convey, and which aspects should be emphasized as well as providing the knowledge of how to run any demos or presentations will ensure that everything runs smoothly. Furthermore, nothing looks more unprofessional than demos that don’t work or an uncoordinated staff.
Promoting your presence at a trade show well in advance is an essential part of directing attendees to your booth. It is easy to get distracted at these events with so much going on, so in creating interest and setting yourself apart, guests will likely make it a point to specifically seek your business out among all of the others. Mailers, social media, and word of mouth are all very powerful–promote, promote, promote! Attracting attention with unique aspects of your booth and presentation, offering drawings and giveaways, or promoting special discounts are all tools that can be utilized to get the most out of the trade show experience.
“Trade show planners will find their local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource for finding recommendations on preferred vendors with a track record of providing excellent customer service,” says Jaime Henning of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. “Booth design and marketing are key to the success of a company’s booth at a trade show. So much can be done whether you have a small or large budget in marketing your company’s advantages. Encouraging attendees to visit your booth by utilizing social media or mailers ahead of time is a must! Avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, graphics, apps, Instagram, websites and blog posts all help grab attendees’ attention and contests drive more likes and followers with more engagement.”
A majority of our business today is done online, but there is an incredible benefit to actually meeting new people face-to-face and interacting with them in person. A trade show creates this atmosphere and gives both attendees and exhibitors unique opportunities they may not have otherwise. In addition to meeting new people, trade shows provide a chance to reconnect with people you already know and strengthen existing relationships as well.
When designing your overall marketing strategy and booth design, it is fun to try and create a unique experience that will grab the attention of the attendee and stand out in the crowd. Be very thoughtful in planning out how you will engage your prospects and in determining the best strategy for execution, and then be consistent throughout your messaging. It is best to define your goals and the purpose of your involvement so that your expectations are clear and tangible, followed by a strong strategy in place of how you will reach those goals that is clearly communicated with the staff who is working your booth.
Utilizing Promotional Products
Utilizing promotional products and wearables at a trade show allows you to show appreciation and gratitude to those interested in what you have to offer while simultaneously reinforcing brand awareness. Studies have shown that the use of promotional products in a pre-show mailing can triple the trade show booth traffic and that 39% of people who received a promotional product could recall the name of the advertiser as long as six months after they received it.
Rick Poore of Shirts 101 provided some helpful tips for those who will be planning to participate in a trade show:
• Get organized early, and get everything you need ordered as soon as you possibly can! Flyers, cards, giveaways, banners, tablecloths, and company t-shirts with logos or a customized design for your employees to wear when they are at your booth representing your company. Shirts 101 is your source for all of those needs!
• Plan to make your booth exciting and inviting. Nothing is worse than a 6 ft. table with a pop up behind it and some pens on the table with a staff member sitting behind it like at a desk…YAWN!
• Think of fun ways to interact with clients. Making your booth fun will attract visitors! Giveaways, games and/or raffles are all great ways to make your booth fun and exciting with the added bonus of allowing you to gather contact information.
• Booth giveaway items should be easy to carry and pack, and useful items are the best. Logo’d bags are great for extra exposure as they remain visible at the trade show when attendees use them to carry around everyone else’s giveaways. Food and bottled water are usual ‘fan favorites’ and continue to be very popular among trade show attendees. Feel free to ask us what’s on trend for giveaways this year!
• Wear comfortable shoes! This is so simple, and SO important.
Poore adds, “Among the most important benefits of a trade show, you will get to take advantage of the opportunity to reinforce brand recognition and the exposure to a broad audience of targeted potential clients. Shirts101 can assist your business when preparing for a trade show by making promotional items easy to order. Let one of our sales representatives guide you towards the perfect gear, while our fully staffed art department makes it unique to YOUR needs! Shirts101 offers screen printing, embroidery, and a full range of promotional products to assist you in making your trade show booth memorable. “
There are many ways for businesses to get noticed at trade shows, but the best ways require plenty of planning well ahead of time. Utilizing local resources is the key to a competitive edge!