Trade Show 101 :  How to Intergrate Opportunities and Elevate Your Brand

Posted by Mindy Tulsi-Ingram on 15th Jan 2024

Trade Show 101 : How to Intergrate Opportunities and Elevate Your Brand

Participating in a trade show is your opportunity to present your company’s services or products and profile your brand to a large group of people who may or may not be aware of what you do or what you offer. It is also a great way to meet and mingle with other industry representatives, gaining competitive insight and making important contacts for referrals.

As the saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. It is so true, as it only takes a few seconds for someone to size us up and form an opinion. Bad first impressions are difficult (or sometimes impossible) to overcome. First impressions matter.

Before the Trade Show

  • Use social media, email, and your website to promote your participation and booth location at the show (if known)
    • Build anticipation and awareness to attract people to your booth.
    • You may connect and establish meetings with key people prior to the event.
      • Be better prepared and focused on their specific needs.

Have Clear Objectives

  • What do you want to accomplish?
    • Do you want to showcase products, generate leads, create partnerships, or educate attendees? Or all of the above?
  • Have a budget and use your dollars wisely.
    • Know your target audience.
    • Focus on your key desired outcomes.
  • Booth location
    • If possible, choose a booth with maximum visibility and foot traffic.
    • Ensure easy accessibility for all attendees.

Your Booth is your First Impression

  • Your design should stand out from the other booths.
    • Use your company logo and colours to make it recognizable.
    • Communicate your message and brand at a glance.
  • Use appealing graphics, signage and lighting to draw people to your booth.
    • Avoid clutter and create open spaces
  • Encourage movement and interaction with an open and inviting layout
    • Make it easy for visitors to enter and exit your booth
  • Encourage attendees to stop at your booth
    • Have samples, giveaways, or promotional items to encourage visitors to stop by
    • Have technology available to access social media or your website
      • Have a designated hashtag to encourage feedback on social media
    • Use interactive demos (if applicable) to involve visitors, but remember to position them in a location that doesn’t discourage others from stopping by
  • If the show organizer has a designated area to interact with attendees, be sure to use it.
    • If not, have seating preferably away from the high traffic area, where you can meet with potential customers for detailed discussions or networking.
  • Ensure your booth staff is enthusiastic and approachable, knowledgeable about your products and services and dressed comfortably and appropriately for the long hours.
    • Provide water and healthy snacks to sustain them throughout their shift
    • Ensure snacks and food items are not in the booth; have a separate area

Focus on your Presentation

  • KYC – Know your customer – ask questions first
    • Determine their needs before launching into what your product does
    • Make them feel important and part of the conversation
  • Focus on value to customer instead of just outlining the features and benefits
  • Remember to make a good first (and lasting) impression.
  • Differentiate yourself – why should they buy from you?
    • Your competitors could also have a booth at the show. You want to stand out.

Have a Goal or Strategy

  • Clearly define what you will do next – send information, arrange a follow up meeting or presentation, contact different individuals within a company, etc.
  • Gain contact information either from a business card drop / prize offering or through social media
  • After the show - Promptly follow up with leads and contacts to keep up the momentum
    • Have a well-defined action plan, record this information, and follow up.
  • The ultimate goal is to acquire or retain business, expand your brand, and make new contacts for future opportunities.

It takes a lot of time, effort and expense to participate in a trade show, and it is important to be prepared and professional.

Stay tuned on our next post on how to stand out from the competition, maximize the opportunity to profile your brand and create a lasting first impression, resulting in increased business.