By Laura Fitch
Whether you’ve been to many trade shows before or this is your first time, they can be daunting. A ton of people, a ton of noise and lights, and every booth there is trying to grab potential customers’ attention, just like you are.
While standing out from the pack at a trade show does take hard work, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some tried and true tips to make your trade show experience a success:
Focus on the visuals
Your booth is the first impression potential customers have of your brand – so make it look awesome. Put the same kind of care into your booth as you do into your handcrafted products.
You want to tailor the look of your booth to your target audience, so take the time to hone in on who you’re hoping to sell to at this trade show. What are their interests? What are their concerns? What’s their age range? Answering these kinds of questions will help you design displays and present your booth in a way that’s tailored to your audience.
Make sure your displays are visible from all directions, and that the branding is consistent and easy to read and understand. Then, think about extra ways to use visuals to pull attendees in.
One way that’s too often overlooked is good lighting. Even if you’ve put a ton of energy into your displays, if you don’t have proper lighting, no one will see it. Bright, colorful lights are one way to draw attention to your booth – but depending on your product, warm white lights are often the most tasteful and least distracting.
Another great way to draw people in is floor decals. You can have a great floor decal of your brand’s logo, or footsteps leading through the show towards your booth. Imagination is key here.
Whether your company is a one-person operation or you have a number of employees, you’re going to need several people at your booth chatting up attendees. These are your brand ambassadors, the public face of all the hard work you’ve put into your product. Too often you’ll see booth staff who are just sitting down waiting for potential customers to come to them, and not engaging with passersby. This is a huge missed opportunity.
Some businesses may not have a number of great salespeople on their staff; if so, you may want to consider hiring professionals for the show. Choose people who are friendly and outgoing, and give them proper training on how to engage with trade show attendees about your product. Give your them sharp-looking clothing with your logo on it. Once you’ve put all the effort in to do a trade show, you want to invest in making sure you’ve got the right people to get your message out there.
Show interest in others who come to your booth. Many of them may have come to the trade show for the same reason as you. Ask them questions about themselves, and form a relationship that’s not just about selling your product. This will leave a lasting impression and help you expand your own professional network, which can last for years to come.
Up your giveaway game
Just like everywhere else, people at trade shows love free stuff, and you want them walking around with yours! This is a strategy that is incredibly effective for spreading your logo and message far and wide. Stickers, branded swag, discount codes, and contests are all great ways to get your name out there. Use something interactive (like a form to fill out for a contest) so that people have to stop and take a moment to engage with your booth. This also gives your brand ambassadors a chance to start chatting with them.
Food and drink
People at trade shows are hungry, thirsty, and usually needing a little recharge. If your booth is stacked with free snacks, candy or drinks, people will flock to it – and they’ll have a positive association with your brand.
Get out on that floor
Get your brand ambassadors out from the booth, mingling at other booths and asking people all around the trade show about their products. This will get those branded uniforms of yours seen more widely, and it will give other booths a positive impression of your product.
Use social media to amplify your physical presence at the show. Invite people to your booth through your social channels, and consider having special promotions and giveaways for your followers. Use the trade show’s hashtags, and geotag your posts on platforms like Instagram. Engage with other attendees’ posts by liking and commenting, and follow them at the show; many are likely to follow you back.
You made it to the end of the trade show in one piece. You mingled, your booth stood out and you’re feeling great about how it went. Congrats! We know you’re exhausted – but it’s not the time to rest just yet.
Keep potential clients engaged with your brand by sending follow up emails. If you have the time to personalize them, that can go a long way. Thank them for coming to your both, and remind them of your product. If you have an e-mail newsletter, invite them to join. Let them know about any upcoming deals, and consider dropping a promo code for your products in there to keep them engaged.