For a lot of startups and smaller companies, the big question is “Are trade shows still worth it?”
According to Entrepreneur, yes, they are worth it. Trade shows, despite the costs associated with them, are still worth the money and effort if they’re a good fit for your business. If you want to get the most out of your trade show experience, you have to join the right show and define your target market.
Now, if you’ve already done your research and selected the right show, the next thing you need to work on is how to make your trade show booth stand out. Remember, you’ll be amongst a sea of vendors. You can’t just hope against hope that customers will flock to your booth.
That said, here are some tricks and tips to make sure your booth brings in potential clients or customers.
1. Work on Your Pre-Trade Show Game
Trade shows are not an “if you build it, they will come” kind of thing. You have to let clients and customers know weeks or even months in advance that they should come and check out your booth.
Another thing you have to prepare for? Other vendors. It’s no different from scoping out the competition.
But in this case, you’ll be gathering intelligence on which vendors will be in attendance, as well as the size of their booths. If you can figure out their trade show booth setup, better. This way, you can really plan how to make your own setup as different or loads better than the competition.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Collaborate
Now, that you have an idea about the exhibitors, you can use this info to tap potential partners. Yes, not all of them will be competitors.
You can collaborate with others, especially if they have complementary products or services. Take note, the keyword here is complementary, not similar.
By doing this, you can save money. Or if that’s not your goal, you can afford to be splashier with your setup because you’re able to combine resources with another exhibitor.
3. Say Yes to Brand Experiences, No to Sales Pitches
It’s tempting to turn on the “sales mode” when you’re participating in a trade show. After all, there are just so many would-be clients and customers there. You might as well use all the savvy selling tricks up your sleeve.
But you have to keep in mind that trade show attendees are not there to listen to your sales pitch. They’re after experiences. That means your best bet is an activity that will let people interact with your brand.
An example would be an interactive activity such as a game or a product demo. You just have to make it interesting and of course, it has to be something that’s on-brand.
4. Establish Credibility
If you’re a startup, you have to work harder to make your brand or product known. That means your trade show booth has to show social proof.
It can be as simple as a brochure with customer testimonials. But you can also go big and use marketing collaterals with case studies or a list of your popular clients.
You can also talk about the awards you’ve received. Or mention media publications that have spotlighted your product or service. The important thing is to use social proof that distinguishes your company from other exhibitors.
5. Identify Your Strengths
Don’t copy what others are doing. You’re there to stand out not to blend in.
Even if you’ve heard that other companies made waves by doing something gimmicky, don’t follow suit. Have tons of meetings with your marketing team or if you don’t have one, your employees to work on your trade show strategy.
You want to be as clear as possible about your branding. And yes, this applies even to non-flashy products or services.
6. Divide and Conquer
Here’s the thing. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you don’t want to be the only person in a trade show booth.
Always bring someone with you. This way, if you have to go mingle with potential business partners, you know that there’s someone manning the booth, entertaining would-be clients.
The important thing is you shouldn’t have to worry about leaving the booth. If you do go out because you have to check out a master class or visit other booths, you know that you’re leaving your booth in capable hands.
7. Invite Your Best Clients
Getting new customers is important. But making sure existing customers stay loyal should be a priority for any type of business.
Have you ever found yourself buying the same brand of toothpaste or soda or toilet paper every time you go to the grocery? That’s the power of brand loyalty. It’s easier to convince someone who has bought from you before to buy again than it is to get someone who doesn’t know your brand to try your product for the first time.
Inviting your best clients has two benefits. One, you get to wow them by getting them into an important industry event, and two, it will most likely give you an automatic ROI.
8. Make an Impact With the Right Display
In a previous post, we’ve listed the trade show graphics ideas that can help capture visitors’ attention. We talked about the importance of the right display and how it should offer a quick picture of your brand, as well as high visibility.
But don’t confuse impact with showy. The right trade show booth display is about simplicity and using space properly. That means you shouldn’t overload your display with graphics and make creative use of white space.
Need Help with Trade Show Booth Display?
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If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s talk in detail about your display needs.