Trade shows offer an excellent way to get your name out there with industry professionals and consumers who are already searching for the types of products and services you offer. With that said, they also mean you’re in a space where there is lots of competition, and you’re vying for the attention of the same people as your competitors.
How can your company stand out in the crowd? Take a look at these tips, which can apply to a wide range of industries (manufacturing, software, retail — you name it) and roles within a company.
1. Be Strategic About Your Booth’s Placement
The earlier you opt into a trade show, the better your booth positioning can be. The high-traffic spots typically go quickly. Seasoned trade show-goers understand the importance of choosing the booths that are right by the entrances or within the main walkways. While these are often the most expensive booth locations, they’re also the areas that receive the most attention.
It’s also important to see where your competitors’ booths are located. You probably don’t want to have a booth directly next to the largest brand in your industry. Instead, look for booths next to complementary companies with which you can network and bolster visitors’ experiences.
2. Have a Contest
People love winning, and they love great prizes. At a trade show, this is the ultimate win-win for vendors and visitors. Your contest can be something as low key as a fishbowl drawing or a ballot box in which attendees provide their information to enter your drawing. This is a great way to generate leads. However, remember that not all leads will be qualified for your particular business.
It’s important to give away items people want. Yo-yos and flying discs won’t bring droves of crowds to your booth. Objects such as Bluetooth speakers, noise-canceling headphones, and high-quality travel coolers, however, might deliver excited visitors directly to your virtual front door. Invest in solid promos that boast of your branding to ignite excitement among visitors.
3. Get Social — in Advance
You want people to know you’re going to be at a particular trade show, so start amping your advertisement early. Head to the social sphere to tout about which booth they can find you, and encourage them to schedule meetings if you’re looking for one-on-one time with audience members. Send emails in advance and create a banner on your company’s homepage so people have all the information they need at their fingertips.
Take time to write blogs about who will be presenting at the show, how long they’ve been with your company, and why they’re excited to showcase the products and services they’ll be offering. This is also a great time to boost SEO potential while you’re promoting upcoming trade shows.
Have you considered creating a unique hashtag that brings attention to your brand’s attendance at this year’s shows? Advertise it early and often on social media so people know where to go to find updates as the show gets underway. You can also integrate the hashtag into your giveaway competition by randomly choosing one person who uses your hashtag to win a prize.
4. Invest in Digital Signage
Perhaps you manage and oversee visual content on multiple digital screens for your business; this area is where you can really help your company’s booth gain an edge. Ignore bland, boring black curtains. Why not enliven the space with digital signage that will draw passersby directly to your booth? Demo products, showcase your office, or simply light up the booth with a crystal-clear image of your logo that will stick in people’s minds long after the show ends.
With a little planning, you could yield great ROI when attending trade shows. The key comes with a little strategic forethought. Trade shows might even become your go-to marketing tool!
Author bio: Jessica Ellspermann is Marketing Manager at Enplug, a digital signage software company. After launching her career in the luxury hospitality space, Ellspermann knows the power of content-to-business value, and she uses that expertise to help companies grow engaged client communities.