Six tips for standing out at a trade show

Trade shows represent an amazing marketing opportunity for any type of business. The networking possibilities are endless, making them a favourite activity for many business professionals including marketers. Below are six great tips that will help you stand out and maximize your brand’s exposure at your next trade show!

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1. Pre-planning

Once everything has been confirmed, plan to arrive well before the event starts to get a good feel for the space and make sure that everything is in place. Arriving at the last minute can make it difficult to make any desired changes.

Before heading to the show, ensure that you have all of your materials ready such as handouts, boards, brochures, business cards, and other items. Consider using a compartment-style device to store them for easy access. Also bring along desk items that you may need, such as a stapler, writing instruments, paper, and clips.

When pre-planning goes well, it’s likely that everything else will be a success!

2. Building buzz

Reach out to existing and potential customers to let them know about the event. Even regular customers could find out something new about your company. Their attendance at the event could strengthen your existing business relationship. Create valid reasons for their attendance with incentives such as contest entries, free consultations and giveaways.

The more buzz there is around your booth, table or presentation, the better it is for your company. People are often attracted to crowds, so capitalize on this by planning ahead and inviting as many visitors to your location as possible.

3. Let’s get visual

Effective signage is a key part of any booth. Use visual marketing tools such as stands, roll-up banners, brochures and flyers. Dress appropriately based on the target market of the event. You only get one chance at a first impression!

Find ways to tell the story of your business and what it offers in visual ways. If possible, arrange for video displays to attract the attention of attendees. Banners, graphics, posters and neon signs can really stand out at a trade show when designed effectively. Consider asking a professional printer for advice and recommendations on how to make your booth stand out at the event.

4. Dare to be different

Rather than do what is “tried and true,” do something unique that sets your exhibit apart from the rest. For example, consider using a table instead of a booth. Not only does this provide more access, but the walls of a booth can be confining and restrictive. Make every effort to offer an experience that will be memorable and worthwhile to visitors. The more creative your ideas are, the more excitement and interest you will generate at the event.

5. Make offers

Provide refreshments, gadgets or samples of your products. Offering refreshments such as bottled water, candy and/or snacks can attract attention to your exhibit. Create a contest or other opportunity that requires further engagement.

There is always something that any business professional or company can offer the public that costs them no money. From free consultations to contests and games, this type of activity is a great way to attract interest.

6. Encourage participation

Make it easy for people to drop off their business cards so that they may be contacted in the future. With each visitor, ensure that you find a way to engage them in conversation and gather information if it is appropriate.

For example, use a list for people to sign up for a newsletter. Try asking visitors about themselves before telling them about your company. Use that information to find a connection between them and your business.

Planning for and engaging an audience at trade shows can be a challenging undertaking. The purpose of the trade show is to network and get to know and grow the target audience. If you need some help in preparing your marketing materials for your next trade show, contact your local TPH® professionals.

What business events are you looking forward to?

Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.

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