How exhibitors can get the most value out of a trade show

Trade show events are great for your business if you exhibit intelligently. In this post we'll show you how to make the most of this opportunity.
4 minute read
Zohaab Ishrat @zohaab85
Technical Co-pilot
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Give your business maximum impact at your next trade show

Trade shows are fantastic opportunities for small businesses and startups. But you need to make the most of this opportunity with a beautiful crafted, and strategically planned booth.

Your booth needs to be efficient and effective in serving its purpose. It must attract an ample amount of visitors and convertible leads

To learn how to maximize your business' impact at your next tradeshow, read on.

Trade show objective

A trade show is essentially a giant competition for attention; booths are speckled all over the place and the people in these booths are begging visitors to consider their products or services.

With all the flashing lights, blasting music and messages being broadcasted by the organizers, you have a very small window of opportunity to make an impact. Having a clear trade show objective, and sticking to it, will give your booth the greatest chances of success.

An advertising business has 3 primary objectives at a trade show:

1) To grab the attention of as many attendees as possible. 

2) Performing a successful demonstration of your product or services.

3) To generate as many convertible leads as possible.

How to make your trade show a success

Listed below are a number of useful tips to help you leverage as much potential from your trade show presence.

Understand Your Market:

Before setting foot into a trade show, you need to have a crystal clear understanding of the type of people that will be attending the trade show, this will allow you to adjust your sales techniques accordingly.

Usually trade show organizers are great at keeping exhibitors informed about the marketing prospects of attendees, but if you want to go the extra mile, try this sneaky investigation tactic.

All trade show events have social media accounts, and you can get access to their followers by noting who has commented on their social posts and who has liked their social posts.

Click on their profiles you take note of their interests and groups, this will give you great insight into the areas they resonate most with. If you do this early enough you can specifically design your exhibition booth to appeal to the majority of attendees.

Another sneaky trick is to coerce the attendees into investigating your business before the trade show even occurs. To do this, simply comment on the social posts of each of the trade show followers you find. If your comments are sincere, they will surely click onto your profile to learn more about you.

To amplify your efforts, make sure you comment on their posts with a question to maximize the chances of them engaging with you.

Set measurable goals

It may not sound in line with creating a great display for a trade show but it is. You see, setting goals and objectives (achievable and measurable) can be a great difference-maker when it comes to participating in or throwing a trade show. 

Setting measurable goals allows you to quantify the success of all trade shows. It's a great feeling to walk away from a trade show knowing whether or not your presence was worthwhile.

Here are some examples of measurable goals:

  • Capturing 100 new leads

  • Generating 50 convertible leads

  • Engage with at least 500 people

  • Sell at least 50 products in a single display.

It’s your playfield and you get to make the rules. Just keep them realistic, purposeful, and beneficial to the cause of your trade show. Just make sure your goals are specific. Set numbered targets and don't be vague.

Stand Apart from the Competition:

There is a 1/135 chance of bumping into somebody's lookalike at any time, so imagine the odds of a product being similar in functionality and purpose to yours, 

How do you make your product stand out in an already saturated market? 

The competition is only going to rise as new players keep entering the playfield. Identify your USPs (Unique Selling Points) and use them instead of long winded sales pitches. Keep the spotlight on the product, not your brand or organizations. Focus on making your products glow and your brand will be naturally illuminated.

Keep it Brief

Let’s imagine you have a technical product to showcase in your trade show. Do you absolutely need to explain all the intricacies involved in the manufacturing of that product? Does the audience need to know all the technical details surrounding that product that a general consumer doesn’t have anything to do with? 

If the answer is a resounding no, keep the presentation of your products brief and entertaining.

The biggest mistake an exhibitionist can make is to say too much and test the patience of visitors. 

Use quick, high impact imagery alongside simple and catchy messages that relay just enough information to spark curiosity. This will attract masses and prompt them to engage. Something that no amount of hard work or un-purposeful efforts could pull off.

Show-Off

Never let your presence in a trade show be a kill-joy. Make your booth, display and stall, stand out from the rest. This is a key factor when it comes to pulling off a successful exhibition. So book in advance and pay a little extra if you can to secure a prime location that will guarantee a higher number of visitors. Use a presentation board to connect with your prospective clients and show them how they can benefit from your product or services.

Utilize the wall spaces if there are any to display different important messages that you ‘need’ to relay to the audience. Make banners highlighting your product or services with USPs and attractive tactics (free giveaways, lucky draws, live demonstrations, etc.). Make sure to arrange the display table in a proper manner. Put smaller items in front and larger items on the back. 

Gamification is great at generating leads. If you can set up a game station relevant to your business to encourage visitors to engage with you. VR stations work like magic!

Final thoughts

Many businesses have gained significant traction after a trade show event. Exhibiting at a trade show is an enjoyable experience if you come prepared. If you follow the tips outlined in this post, the only thing you'll need to worry about is bringing enough business cards along.

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