Tradeshows and conventions are such an important thing to get right because they have the potential to grow your brand’s network– therefore; potentially increasing your revenue substantially. Interacting with people in person is the most assertive way to boost connections and it’s not everyday that you can be in such a prime location to meet the right folks. The only downside is, tradeshows are also jam-packed full of competition trying to meet the same people you are (what jerks!) You need to be able to direct the attention away from your rivals, and onto your brand.
Have a Showstopping Display
The first thing to have down for attending a trade show is to have a visually appealing booth. Color schemes, design, and fonts are super important. A gross looking stand is going to make your company appear gross, too. (And a boring booth is even worse than a gross booth.) If your company’s trade show display is about as basic as a pair of UGG Boots on a college campus, you’ve got to change something. There’s a lot of websites out there (like ExpoDesigns) that offer packages that you can add your own design to a portable booth and have it printed. You may want to call in a skilled graphic design with a great eye for typography and color schemes to put together a superb visual for your company.
Don’t skimp on expenses when it comes to having an attention-grabbing display. Go big or go home when it comes to flashy booths. You need to think of this as show-business, not basic business. The most annoyingly elaborate celebrities are the most popular so make sure you are the “Kim Kardashian” or “Miley Cyrus” of the event. In fact, if you can afford it (which you can’t), you should probably hire Kim K. or Miley to be at your booth. If you’re not going to make yourself be vibrant and special, why even bother, right?
Consider having an interactive display. When people can actually stop and play around with your booth, they’ll be more likely to remember your company. Also, it will attract a crowd more so than simply handing out pens like every other company in the world.
Plan Interactions Ahead of Time
Trade shows are so overwhelming that you need to come up with a flexible itinerary prior to the event. You want to be able to research your attending competition and be ready to tell others why you can out-do them. Also, you need to find out what companies are attending that you want to meet and find out where they are located so that you can make sure to drop by.
A good way to plan for the show is to contact people you know are attending and setup times to meet. It is a great way to prioritize major meetings so that you most efficiently use your time at the show.
Have the DOPEST Sales Literature
Having a stunning display is crucial to drawing attention… but, having amazing brochures available at the trade show is a must for keeping that attention. Expensive and well-designed literature obviously will make your brand look appealing to prospects. If two companies are bidding for the eyes of the same people, the one with the hottest handouts will ALWAYS come out on top. If you have cool media kits to hand to important people at the show, they are less likely to forget about or trash them.
Dress the Part
You want to be sure to cater your personal clothing choices to the type of event. It really depends on the nature of the brand what kind of dress code to enforce. Most likely, wearing business casual clothing is a great go-to so that prospects view your company as professional. But, sometimes, more laid back industries allow for more flexible-attire. In those instances, matching clothing featuring company logos is appropriate to add even more elements of brand-association to show-goers.
(One piece of advice though: avoid hiring scantily-clad show models for your display. Sure, it may grab attention. But, it will not gain the kind of attention you want. In fact, it may end up making your company look bad….plus, it’s kind of sexist.)
Share the Show
When you’re at the show, be sure to keep your social media pages booming with frequent live updates. Using hashtags about the show and searching those can help you connect with people and gain attention from attendees. Also, you can post pictures and videos to tag companies in. This likely will get shared by them as well. It’s a great way to gain even more exposure.
…& don’t forget followups after the show!
Even after the convention center is cleared out and the crew travels home, there’s still much to do! This is the time where you need to swiftly communicate with your new connections met.
Meet with your team and discuss the strengths and weaknesses from the convention. Perhaps you thought of an idea from something you saw there that you can implement next time. Or, maybe you didn’t have enough brochure copies made. Be sure to use the mistakes as a springboard for a more successful go-about at the next one.