5 Tips to Make Your Next Trade Show a Success

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted across the country, large events like trade shows are quickly filling up businesses’ schedules. Trade shows offer you the opportunity to get the word out about your business and connect with prospective customers who are already interested in your industry.

Of course, trade shows are also a significant investment, and you want to see results to make the effort worthwhile. Part of what makes an exhibitor successful is their ability to stand out from the crowd and make a great impression on attendees. This means creating powerful marketing materials to deploy before, during and after the show.

Follow these five tips to make the most of your business’s next trade show.

1. Prepare in advance

Advance preparation is one of the key things that can make or break a trade show exhibitor’s success. Take the time to think through all of the details, from how you’ll promote your booth to getting your materials in order.

Use the trade show’s focus and target audience to inform what you’ll feature at your booth. Determine which products or services are most relevant to showcase and build your marketing messages off of those.

Within a few weeks of the show, get the attendee list from the trade show hosts and send out an email blast or a printed mailer advertising your business’s attendance. Entice attendees to visit your booth by teasing a special offer or exclusive show deal they won’t want to miss.

Capitalize on any trade show marketing campaigns, such as show-specific social media hashtags or contests leading up to the event. You might be able to participate by sponsoring a gift or simply sharing the contest info. Offer attendees a free gift or discount if they follow your social media profiles and continue to drum up excitement for the show in the days leading up to the event.

2. Draw attention to your booth

Once the trade show starts, competition will be stiff. You’ll want your booth to stand out so you don’t get lost in a sea of your competitors.

Make your booth eye-catching by utilizing a creative combination of graphics and signage. Retractable banners, backdrops, signs and table displays are a must, but consider adding some more unique elements like floor graphics, branded tablecloths and kiosks to catch attention from all angles.

Every element of your booth should leverage design to capture attendees’ attention. Use vivid colors and imagery that are consistent with your branding, and make sure your logo and business name are front and center. Prominently incorporate short, easy to read text explaining your product or service, focusing on key differentiators. Most importantly, use your booth space efficiently. Avoid clutter and highlight only your best-selling products so that you don’t overwhelm your visitors.

3. Provide an interactive experience

Interactive experiences encourage attendees to not only stop by your booth, but also to stick around and learn more. Consider setting up a carnival-type game with the chance to win branded promotional products, or hold an exciting giveaway to get people to engage.

Demonstrating your top products and services is another great way to get people to stop, watch and ask questions. If attendees can interact with or try out the product themselves, use clear signage to encourage them and explain how.

For a positive experience, make sure you’re designing your booth with interactivity in mind. Ensure you have the space for attendees to navigate easily and watch or participate in demonstrations.

4. Make a lasting impression

When the trade show is over, you want your business to remain at the top of prospective clients’ minds. Help them remember you by giving them something to take away.

Branded promotional items are a fun and useful way to keep your company name front and center when attendees return to the office. Informative collateral like brochures, look books, pamphlets and sale sheets allow customers to ponder their decision to buy and discuss with their team. Providing exclusive offers for trade show attendees can sweeten the deal.

You also want to make sure that it’s easy for attendees to find you again. Well-designed business cards ensure that they’ll have the information they need to get in touch when they’re ready to place an order. You can simplify the process even more by including QR codes on giveaway items to connect with you online, and by adding simple and direct calls to action on your printed materials.

5. Follow up after the show

It’s easy for trade show attendees to be overwhelmed by information and new contacts after the event is over. Make sure they remember your business by reaching out to them after the show.

Use mailing addresses or emails from the show’s attendee list to send a follow-up via email or direct mail. Because some members of this audience may not have interacted with your booth, make sure your messages are broader and provide a more general overview or introduction to your brand.

For those who visited your booth, you should take an even stronger approach. Plan a multi-step marketing effort like an email drip campaign to more closely target people who demonstrated an interest in your products. As part of this campaign, earn trust by sharing valuable content like an eBook, how-to guide or case study. Make sure to reiterate the main points you included on your display to remind them of your product’s value.

Start preparing your trade show materials today

Businesses experience the most success with trade shows when they plan their materials early on — from their booth displays down to their business cards. If you have an event on the schedule, don’t delay in designing and printing your collateral.

Working with a print and marketing partner like AlphaGraphics Middleton can ensure that your trade show signage, print collateral, and marketing materials send a consistent message about your brand. Reach out to AlphaGraphics Middleton to get started.

The Most Effective Promotional Products to Take to Trade Shows

Promo-Product-Trade-Show

 

Trade show season is a big time of the year for many businesses. If you operate within an industry that has product launches, noteworthy industry news, or massive exhibitions, chances are you’ll find yourself attending one or more trade shows throughout the latter part (Q4) of the year. And while you might be learning a lot about your industry happenings and competition, you should also be using these opportunities to market your business.

Invest in Custom Promotional Products

More than business cards or tri-fold brochures about your company, it’s important to consider the power of custom promotional products as a chief marketing tool for use at trade shows. Promotional products are far and away the best products to bring to any trade show for a wide variety of reasons:

  • Promo items are intriguing and often useful, making them less likely to be discarded
  • They’re a clever way to provide value, while also marketing your brand or company
  • They can instantly set you apart from competitors and make your booth a destination
  • Promo products can be repurposed across shows for a low-cost marketing solution

The list of benefits goes on. The chief idea to remember here is that promotional products give you the most bang for your marketing buck in a space that’s going to be convoluted with marketing collateral from a wide range of competitors and industry rivals.

The Best Possible Promo Products

There are two schools of thought when it comes to picking the best possible promo products. The first is simple: choose promo items that are relevant within your industry. For example, if your attending a convention for therapists or massage professionals, a simple branded stress ball might be an excellent investment in marketing collateral.

The second school of thought is to provide the most general value by generating promotional products that are universally applicable. This means providing promo products people are likely to see as valuable—shirts, water bottles, USB flash drives, earbuds and so on. The more “usable” your promo item is, the more it’s going to appeal to people. And, the more appeal you offer, the more exposure you’re going to generate at your trade shows.

Promo Product Ideas

Still not sure of what promo products will help you stand out at your next convention? Take a look at some of the most popular options that have proven successful at trade shows in the past:

  • T-shirts, hats, and other branded apparel items
  • Water bottles, coozies, water bottles, and other drink-inspired products
  • Desk items such as stress balls, USB flash drives, and more
  • General promo items like tote bags, keychains, pens, and golf balls
  • Edibles like branded candy, bottled water, or gourmet chocolates

The important thing to remember is balancing the appeal of a free promo item with the potential for grassroots advertising. Do people want what you have to offer? Will they relate the value they’re getting with your brand? Will these promo items make them further consider your brand, beyond the free item they’re getting?

If you need help understanding how to leverage promo items at your next trade show or industry convention, consult with the experts at AlphaGraphics Middleton today. We’ll help you narrow down what items may help you generate buzz for your company and help you make an appeal that stands out from the crowd!

How to Stand Out at Your Next Trade Show

Trade shows are a critical venue for your business to increase its visibility. Whether you’re new to the scene, pitching a new product, or simply keeping up with industry trends, it’s crucial to create an alluring, memorable trade show presence. And it all starts with your booth.

Your booth is your base of operations at any trade show. It’s also your home turf when you’re surrounded by competitors. And, most importantly, it’s a central destination for visitors who want to learn more about who you are and what you have to offer.

Preparing Your Trade Show Booth

Because your custom trade show booth plays such an integral role in your success at a trade show, it should be your first and foremost focus when planning. Think carefully about how you can optimize your limited space for maximum visibility:

  • Banners and table runners are a ground-level way to brand your booth. These iconic trade show staples need to boldly display your company name, brand concept, and contact information. Make sure banners and runners are free of any convoluting imagery—their sole purpose is to identify your booth to passersby.
  • Flags and pole signs are an optimal way to utilize the vertical space of a convention center. Vertical signage enables your booth to draw attention even when it’s not directly visible. These signs can also add to the branding of your booth and establish it as a landmark in a crowded convention space, continually drawing people back.
  • Backer signage within your book is a great way to complete the aesthetic and allure of your booth. It’s large enough to include powerful imagery, bold branding and captivating visuals that speak to passersby and attract them to your booth.

Gathering Tabletop Materials

Standing out at your next trade show means going beyond just putting together a cohesive booth presentation—it’s also about stocking it with takeaways and accessible information. Standing out means nothing if attendees don’t remember you after they walk away! Printed tabletop materials will ensure they have a tangible reminder of your booth and everything it had to offer:

  • Business cards are a must! Never attend a trade show without your business cards. This is going to be the easiest way for you to get into someone’s contact list and likewise for you to generate leads.
  • Brochures are the easiest, most organized, most cost-effective way to encapsulate information about your brand or product. Having brochures instantly available on your tabletop gives you a talking point and a takeaway, all in one.
  • Postcards are a great way to promote products, information, deals, contact information, etc. They’re simple, straightforward and easy to give out.
  • Nothing draws a crowd at a trade show like custom promotional products! Give people a reason to visit your booth and make sure they leave with something branded. From stickers and stress balls to pens, canvas bags, buttons and beyond, swag is easy to print and a cost-effective way to get your brand noticed.

Don’t Skimp on Trade Show Prep!

Trade shows are your chance to shine alongside other companies you might be competing with or at odds with. Taking the time to prep your booth and print up the right materials means giving yourself an edge and giving people a reason to choose your booth instead of someone else’s.

If you’re gearing up for a trade show in the near future, consult with your local trade show team at AlphaGraphics Middleton! We’ve helped businesses like yours win trade shows with exceptional print and promotional products, no matter the industry.