Tips · Work Experience

Steps to a Successful Trade Show

Trade shows have become just as popular as exhibitions and conferences when marketing a business. Whether to gain new customers or to advertise a new product or service, your overall main objective is to gain larger recognition. However, with competitive stalls and technology around every corner, simply showing up with brochures and banners will not do. These are marketing opportunities and like every marketing opportunity, you need a strategy to impact attendees. We’ve all seen rows of tables covered in plain cloth with boring backgrounds, deserted by all fun people. But not to worry. We’ve come up with a few tips to help crown your stall the bell of the ball.

You don’t need a red carpet

Your attendees are celebrities for the day and each stall is a photographer attempting to grab their attention, or in this case, a conversation. Think of your location and who you’re surrounded by. If the neighbours have the latest virtual reality headsets and motorcycles, you may want to consider a new position. It’s going to be difficult to stand out next to huge set-ups but not impossible. Cheap booths will look low-quality and only last a couple of weeks. Think of a professional, visually appealing booth as a long term investment. Other simple things generally overlooked are the colour scheme, lights and décor. These can make a large impact on your visitors. Keep your stall bright and attractive and be on stand-by with complimentary chocolates.

Goodie bags are a thing

With companies handing out free trials, new gadgets and flashy prizes, your cheap pens and snap bracelets may be dismissed. You need promotional items to create a buzz around your stall. Free things are great. Tradeshows are great. Free things at tradeshows are the best. Every attendee will participate in the race for the best swag haul but you’re not Oprah, and probably can’t afford to give an iPad to everyone in the audience. So get a mixture of fun prizes at different price ranges. To enter, get attendees to sign up to your mailing list. Not only will you have new contacts and possible clients but you’ll also be able to gather feedback from your overall effectiveness.

Paper isn’t fun

Most attendees arrive empty handed but leave with a bag full of brochures. Every stall will have leaflets explaining every feature that makes it better than the last. You need to engage and attract the attendees, so you can’t blend in with every other stall’s strategy. Paper covers rock, but games crush paper during an exhausting day.  Give attendees a break from constant information, statistics and features. Pick the theme of the game based on your target market. You want something they will find amusing but still relevant. Attendees are going to talk more about what they enjoyed during the day rather than a novel of information they have no interest in. Companies that know and deliver on their consumers’ wants are generally the most successful. Get them raving about your stall with QR-code scavenger hunts or customised apps. If you manage to lift their spirits, you could have a potential buyer. 

 Props on standby

If you’re there to gain recognition of a certain product or service, make sure to visually show them. You’re either trying to convince them to start using this or to switch from what they’re currently used to, which isn’t going to be easy. Change is a scary thought for most, so instead of listing off all the amazing features and specifications they won’t be able to comprehend, focus on the benefits of what they can gain from it. You need to prove the value it will be to them in the hopes of awarding you with their business. If it’s a software, an app or some kind of technology, let them play around with it while you deliver the information and the reasons why it will make their lives better. This way, no one gets bored and they still get all the relevant facts.

Grab the touch screens

Technology will always give an exhibitioner the upper hand in the sea of faces, tables and chairs. The tech craze has taken the world by storm. Everyone wants the latest phone, tablet and smartwatch but not everyone can have them. So, why not incorporate technology into your stall? It could be something as simple as digital sign ups, interactive touch screen or live twitter streams. You get to engage attendees while showing how technologically advanced the company is. Take the advantage to educate consumers on the business, their goals and the technology that is used. You want attendees to enjoy your stall and what you’re promoting. Get them to talk about it online under a specific hashtag or tell them about your live video blog they might make an appearance on. You want to impress attendees and to do so in the field of technology will definitely do the trick!

Stay Active (without exercise)

We all know that trade shows work so well because you meet with attendees face to face and manage to make a personal connection. But what about everyone else who couldn’t make it? You can’t hold possible clients forever guilty for not attending the event. You need to continually share the success with everyone possible. Not only will you gain a much wider audience, but you also have a chance to convince the viewer that your idea is worth both their time and money. Use your event hashtag to create a group chat under live blogs where attendees can give their feedback and opinions.

Keep on smiling

It may be the last tip mentioned, but it is by far the most important. You may have the biggest, flashiest set-up with the most recent and up to date technology and the best prizes money could buy. But if your attitude stinks, so will your whole stall. You must use tradeshows as an opportunity to inform people of who you are and what you do, therefore expanding the recognition, market and overall success of the company. So make sure to stay customer focused over everything else. If you give off a positive energy to attendees, they’re going to give you more of their time and effort. So get them chatting, ask them about their interests and try to relate back to them. So what if they have no interest in your product? Your great customer service might be enough to convince them to try out the next one!



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