Trade shows are a great way for vendors, innovators and companies to showcase their products and services, increase brand recognition and network with potential clients. With the huge number of show attendees, it is easy for your business to get lost in a sea of competitors. Instead of your standard approach – buying the biggest booth your company can afford, having your logo printed on free merchandise – you must think outside the box in a way that will draw consumers and potential clients to your offerings.
Here are five surefire ways to stand out:
1. Promote, promote, promote
This may be the most important tactic in trade show prepping. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research showed that 83 percent of exhibitors agreed that building and expanding brand awareness is a high-priority, marketing-related tactic for trade shows. If your company is participating in a show, you want people to be aware of it. Attract consumers and clients through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Offer up some deals and discounts that can be retrieved when patrons visit your company's booth.
To further increase brand awareness, consider sending out business invitations to anyone who interacts with your company – from customers to vendors to business partners and anyone in between. Include the date, time and location so recipients can mark their calendars.
Consider sending out an email blast or newsletter a couple of weeks before the show. List your company's new products or services and include a tagline that says, "Check us out at XYZ trade show." Be sure to include the date, time, location and your booth number.
2. Offer something new
The CEIR found that 92 percent of attendees say their eyes are kept wide open for new products, making this the No. 1 reason to attend trade shows for the past 25 years. This presents your business with the perfect opportunity to introduce and feature your newest product or service.
Capitalize on this opportunity by sending out a press release a week or two before the trade show. State that your company will be unveiling a new product or service and that consumers, vendors and business professionals can attend XYZ trade show to get an exclusive first look.
3. Make it a hands-on experience
Trade show attendees are more likely to remember an experience rather than a sales pitch, especially given how many booths they stopped by. Classic Exhibits recommends to go beyond sound and vision and try to appeal to all five senses equally. Allow your customers to test out your product providing them a hands-on experience. Instead of having people sign up to receive free samples or a free trial at a later date, give it to them right then and there. This also allows your employees to engage with potential customers which can help boost client relations.
4. Don't use your booth as a security blanket
Instead of sitting, waiting and wishing for consumers and potential clients to stop by, take initiative and go to them. Ditch your booth for a period of time and walk around with promotional items or your new product to lure people into visiting your booth to learn more about your company's offerings. It's OK to unshackle yourself from the booth once in a while. This shows your enthusiasm and drive, and it paints a good picture of your company because you're making an effort to engage with people. After all, a brand is built on great relationships.
5. Generate buzz
Trade shows are challenging for vendors because of all the planning involved, and draining for attendees because of the substantial amount of information they take in. Either way, everyone is exhausted, so try and have some fun with it and get patrons excited about stopping by your booth. Conduct a brainstorm with your team months before the show and think of ways to make a lasting first impression – something out of the ordinary. This could be anything from unique signage, a featured activity to get the blood flowing, food and beverages, a photo booth, or even a "Wheel of Fortune"-like spinner to win prizes. These activities and offerings will attract patrons to your booth, and they just may find something of interest along the way.