Are You Standing Out At Trade Shows, Really?

A trade show can be a wonderful event where your company has a chance showcase itself.  No matter what type of company you have, there is one thing all trade show exhibitors have in common: they want to stand out to the trade show attendees.

If you exhibit trade shows or plan on exhibiting a few this year, do you know if you’re standing out, really?  If you’re not sure (or know you are not), here are some tips that will help you stand out at your next trade show.

1.Focus on attracting attendees to your booth

When you focus your engagement strategy, we are talking about how you plan to attract attendees to your booth. Instead of relying on the products and services you offer to bring people into your space, create an exciting promotion or contest attendees will be attracted to.

Whatever you decide to do, have fun with it! The more fun you are having at your booth, the more people will notice and will want to stop by to see what’s going on.

2. Think about how you will engage with attendees once they are in your space.

Your goal at a trade show should be to get everyone that walks into your booth to the next step in the transaction.

In order to do that, you need to qualify each person you talk to to find out what that “next step” looks like. You should talk to them so you can collect their information, get to know more about their company, learn about their needs, etc.

Think: what is the one thing I want them to take action on to open up the doors to the start of a relationship?

3. Engagement: Part 2

After you qualify attendees, now the fun begins.  This is the part where you put on your “show” (it’s how they will remember you, of course!).

The way you engage attendees doubles as a way of attracting them to your space (see number one) as well as engaging with them in a way to make your company memorable.

Things like hosting contests and games to offer prizes can go a long way in how much attendees remember your company when it comes time for you to follow up!

One of my favorites is a game where attendees can rack up “points”.  The idea here is to have a leader board with attendees who have the highest score.  You will find that attendees will circle back to see if they are still in the lead.

4. Promotional Items

What’s a trade show without “freebies”? Right? Sure.  However, since I am an advocate for having a strategy for your promotional items, I do not recommend you purchase items for your trade show without a strategy.

All you need to remember is the golden rule of trade shows: No Giveaways Until Qualified!

Here’s what to do:

1. Have a conversation with an attendee.

2. Qualify the person you are talking to.

3. Give them an opportunity to participate in your contest (where you collect their information).

4. Surprise them with a free gift as a thank you for stopping by.

 5. FOLLOWUP!

“Whew! The show is over! That was a lot of work, let’s pack up and [fill in the blank]”.

I hope you said: “plan our followup”!

Why? Because the followup is key to determining whether or not you had a successful trade show.  If you followup after a trade show, I would like to congratulate you! You are one of the few who actually follow through with it.

Trade shows are a lot of work.  If you have ever experienced the amount of time and effort and commitment it takes to plan, promote and execute your trade show presence.  You don’t want to throw all of that away by not following up,

At the very least, send a “thank you for stopping by” email. Even though it’s not the most effective way to follow up, at least you are not throwing away all that hard work, time and money you spent on exhibiting at one of these things.

If you follow these five tips, you will be well on your way to standing out at your next trade show! Happy engaging!

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