Trade shows, like any event, can feel like a daunting task to prepare for, especially if you haven’t been an exhibitor before. With conferences starting to fill up many of our calendars in the coming months, we thought we’d share some tips to ensure you have success at your next trade show appearance.
It’s the golden rule for almost everything; First impressions can make or break you. No matter the size of the tradeshow you are attending, you want to present the brand in a professional manner to your audience. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on the installation of your booth, but there are many cost effective solutions available to help you put your best foot forward. A simple backdrop, some pull up banners or branded tablecloths are just some simple additions that will convince your audience you’ve done this before.
Create an engaging environment – Every exhibitor has the same goal for attending a tradeshow; to generate leads for future business. What sets businesses with tradeshow success apart is not the business or industry they represent but rather the atmosphere they create with fellow delegates. Pop quiz! Would you rather visit:
Booth A –with two exhibitors sitting in silence, staring into space with piles and piles of handouts and information to offload on you the second you walk by
Booth B – with two exhibitors casually chatting with delegates, engaging in a fun activity or icebreaker, who appear to have a genuine connection with the current audience they are entertaining.
I think we’re all more compelled to walk over and engage with Booth B.
Don’t overthink it – Keep your messaging simple and stay in the present with your audience. Leave the finer details and contracts for after the tradeshow. Make sure you give and take business cards from everyone you connect with and try to include an interactive experience where you can. Your delegates are sitting in sessions all day, so why not give them something to get excited about that is also informative.
You came, you saw and you conquered… a nice stack of business cards. Mission accomplished, right? Not right! There is one final step; the most important step to ensure these new leads turn into future business. Follow-up! All your hard work means nothing if you don’t communicate with your new leads in a timely manner. Send out a friendly email no more than two weeks post tradeshow to keep your business top of mind. The key word is friendly. Mass emails can turn people off because they know they are just one of many names on a very long list. Now you have lost the human connection you just established. Take the time to send out tailored emails. It’s easy to choose convenience over personal, but a targeted email could mean the difference from a lead turning into a sale.
You are now armed with three simple tools to help make your next tradeshow experience a positive one. Best of luck and don’t forget to have fun, you are free from your desk for a few days!