4 Secrets for Success at Your First Trade Show

4 Secrets for Success at Your First Trade Show

For many businesses, presenting your product or service at a trade show can produce invaluable marketing results. It can give a business owner unanticipated opportunities to collect new, hot leads and extend brand awareness.

If you’re thinking about giving a trade show a spin, it’s wise to plan ahead. You may have attended them in the past, but the experience is a whole lot different when you’re on the other side. Prepare your booth for success with the hot tips below.

1. Design an Amazing Booth

If you design your trade show booth with powerful visuals and intriguing details, they can make such a difference. Picture a simple, plain booth that houses a folding table, no tablecloth, and no backdrop.

The booth workers only have a sign and the logos on their shirt to distinguish them from the rest of the promoters in the arena. This is hardly likely to incite interest.

Even worse is a booth that has roughly the same visuals and design as all the surrounding booths. The lackluster booth described in the previous paragraph is boring, but at least it has a chance of standing out from the crowd. A booth that looks exactly like all the others will disappear into the patchwork.

“If properly designed and placed, [trade show booth visuals] will help you show off the most important features of your brand and make your booth more attractive to prospective visitors even if they’re on the other end of the convention center,” according to an article from the trade show specialists, PosterGarden.com.

They specifically recommend incorporating unique features such as a large backlit display or a double-sided banner stand. Any of these can capture attention and direct traffic to your booth because they’re easy to see and create interest.

2. Know Your Audience

In both the design and marketing of your booth, you should have a firm grasp of your audience. Often, trade shows are presented with a particular theme, such as travel or home goods.

This may significantly narrow your audience that’s likely to show up, but you can use that information to your advantage. Narrow your audience even further by identifying their likes, dislikes, highest values, goals, income, occupations, reasons for attending the show, and other relevant criteria.

When you have such information, you can design an amazing booth with the swag that’s most likely to draw attention, as well as informational packets to hand out to collect further leads.

In addition, a thorough understanding of your audience will help you sell your products or services. You can use language and offers that will appeal most to buyers, generate leads, and close sales while you’re there.

3. Bring Your Best Team Members

Trade-show success hinges heavily on the salespeople you bring. You want people who are not only good at sales but also invested in what you do.

Choose the team members who will work hard to draw in a crowd and pitch your company’s value proposition. They’ll be even more effective if you offer them a special commission or other incentives for being present. You’ll also want an incentive to prevent them from taking your leads and using them for their own purposes.

You may also require additional trade-show staff to achieve your goals. For example, if you’re asking visitors to take a survey in exchange for a prize, your booth may attract a great deal of traffic, in which case you could need more than three people to handle it.

Prepare your staff ahead of time so they’re experts on your content and what you’re selling. Create a list of frequently asked questions, or comments they’re likely to hear, and help them formulate solid responses.

Help your team to recognize when it’s time to move on from an uninterested party as well.

4. Have a Way to Generate and Track Leads

Unless you sell a physical item, it can be a challenge to close actual sales at a trade show. The answer is a pop-up booth designed to increase brand awareness and generate hot leads you can track and contact later.

You need a solid lead generation and tracking strategy to make this work. One of the simplest ways is through a contest, giveaway, or swag gift. Ask potential customers to write down their contact information and enter it for a prize drawing or contest.

You could also have them record their information in exchange for a useful gift, something they’ll really want and use. Have them check a box that gives consent for you to use their email address or contact them later about your services.

There are dozens of ways to prepare for your first trade show. The above are four priorities, but you may want to research more to ensure you’re entirely ready for the excellent marketing opportunity on the horizon.