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. While timelines for re-opening and hosting live events are shifting across the country, it’s important to be ready to take advantage of the boost to your business trade shows can provide.
Trade shows are 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 can ensure that your trade show signage, print collateral and marketing materials send a consistent message about your brand. Reach out to your local AlphaGraphics center to get started.