KNOWLEDGE

3 Tips for Building a Better Trade Show Experience

Category: Strategy

The trade show experience you create has the potential to skyrocket your company’s brand—unless you make the wrong impression. You already have the knowledge and the passion, but when it comes to building a positive overall trade show experience, are you doing everything you could be?

Here are some easy ways to boost your company’s visibility, attract new customers, and stay on top of your game at your next trade show exhibit.

 

Building a Better Trade Show Experience: For Your Business

Get a Head Start by Scoping Out Your Options
Let’s start big picture. Not all trade shows are created equal, so it’s important to come prepared. Some might cater to a specific demographic, while others may attract hordes of competitors.

In order to create an optimal trade show experience, you’re going to have to call ahead. Don’t be afraid to reach out to show management in order to ask questions like:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What types of businesses will be in attendance?
  • Where will my exhibit be relative to the others?
  • Where do people enter, mingle, and leave? Is it in a corner, or in the middle of the action?
  • How will the lighting impact me? and so on …

Take these factors into consideration and adjust your exhibit accordingly.

 

Market Your Exhibit, Not Just Your Product
Trade shows are an excellent way to create buzz for your product, but don’t forget to get the word out about the the exhibit itself. It doesn’t matter how amazing your entire trade show experience is if nobody is there to see it. Market and advertise!

Message your business partners, customers, suppliers, distributors, and other people in your network. Put the word out on your website, blog, and social media. Ask for an attendee list from the company or association hosting the show in order to send out personalized invitations. Be creative and persistent. You’ll see the difference on the day of the exhibit.

 

Building a Better Trade Show Experience: For You

You are an Important Asset, Take Care of Yourself
While the trade show experience can be fun and exciting, it can also be grueling. Think of the long day as a big game. Pack healthy foods, stay hydrated, don’t overindulge at happy hour the night before, and avoid sugary snacks and soft drinks that make your blood sugar spike and crash.

Try to get in a little morning workout to get your blood flowing, improve your mood, and keep your energy level high throughout the day. If you’re feeling lethargic, take a break. Ask a knowledgeable associate to staff your exhibit while you sneak out for a quick walk in the fresh air. Taking care of yourself improves your mood and makes you better at your job.

 

Loosen Up and Be Sociable
When you’re working hard to connect with potential new clients, it can be easy to ignore the other exhibitors around you. But who knows what you’re missing out on.

Introduce yourself to everyone you can. You’d be hard pressed to find a better place to grow your professional network, plus having friends makes the day way more enjoyable.Treat the entire trade show experience as a meet-and-greet. Find out what you have in common and go from there. Pay attention to your body language and present yourself in an open, friendly manner. You never know who you’ll meet and what will come of it.

 

Building a Better Trade Show Experience: For Your Visitors

Give Them Something to Remember You By
Sometimes a business card is not enough. Go further. Connect on LinkedIn on the spot so you can establish a relationship instantly. Once you hook them in, you can pepper them with digital marketing materials and thought leadership.

As soon as the show ends, send a thank-you email or inmail to everyone you met and remind them of the benefits of your product or service. Be brief, friendly, and ready to help. A digital channel of communication is sometimes even more valuable than a business card.

 

Cater Your Exhibit to Your Audience
It sounds obvious, but let’s dive a little deeper. Considering the customer’s overall trade show experience can help you build something that stands out.

The customer’s journey can be overwhelming, tiresome, and repetitive. Make your exhibit a refreshing oasis by considering the demographics of your target audience and structuring your exhibit accordingly. No matter how cool your new product or technology is, the customer benefit should always come first.

Be sure to consider who your product was designed to help. Busy parents? Small business owners? Executives of multinational corporations? If you market to multiple audiences, be sure to identify the needs of each group and demonstrate how your product solves their specific problems. Just like you, your audience is there to work. If you make their job easy, they’ll be sure to remember you.

If you need some help designing a trade show exhibit that speaks to your audience and stands out from the crowd, send us an email today. In the meantime, check out some of our case studies for inspiration.

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Caroline Meyers
Director MC² Corporate Communications