Trade shows are ideal for networking with other businesses as well as showing off your own products and services. Though you should certainly choose the tradeshows you go carefully, you should also have a game plan for when you get there. Standing out is key to bringing people to your stand, but you also need to know what you are going to tell them when they arrive.
But, first things first, here are 5 ways to stand out.
Look the Part
When you arrive at a trade show, you need to make yourselves recognizable. This might mean that you have to make your own hoodie to show off your branding but it could be as simple as having a branded lanyard to wear with a suit.
The way you dress has a big impact on the way people view you and therefore view your brand. If you are a professional like a lawyer or business manager, a suit might best but there are no hard and fast rules. Millennial business owners like Mark Zuckerberg have changed the rules of office wear so as long as your clothes fit with your brand (casual or formal) you will look the part.
No matter what the size of the stand you are offered, you must make the most of your branding to make as big an impact on passersby. Even if people don’t come over, they should at least see your company name, logo and colors in order to be able to recognize you later on.
Banners are an obvious choice as they can be used over and again and are relatively cheap. But you should also put out stacks of business cards so that anyone in a rush can pick one up and chat to you later on.
Everyone loves a free pen or a free tote to carry all their free pens in but novelty can also be useful. Stationary is an obvious choice but why not giveaway USBs, mugs or even discount offers for your services or products?
The key thing is that you are offering something that people will find useful and that they will want to use and look at regularly after meeting you. It is by using these products that people recall your brand and think about what else you can offer them. But, please, whatever you choose to give out make sure you stay away from stress balls!
Though businesses tend to think of video marketing as a way to raise brand awareness and advertise online, those same videos can serve a second purpose. The hope is that while you are at a tradeshow, you and your colleagues will spend a lot of time chatting to people. If a crowd gathers, you still need to be able to send out your brand message which is where your videos come in.
As well as using the videos you have used online, you should create a couple of videos specifically for the event. All the same rules for video marketing apply whether you are catching someone’s attention in person or online. Keep your message short and to the point, limit the length of the video to a maximum of a couple of minutes and be informative rather than salesy.
Unless you are a huge extrovert with bags of confidence, it is unlikely that you would want to approach a quiet stand with a group of people hanging around aimlessly. And even then, would you go for this group when you could be doing a fun activity at the next stand?
People might hate gimmicks but they love getting stuck into a puzzle or game. In recent years, VR and AR have become great marketing tools because people are curious about the tech and want to have a go themselves. Similarly, competitive games are exciting to do and to watch and will surely bring in a crowd.
However, don’t add in an activity or technology that has nothing to do with your brand. Everything needs to interconnect so you need to think carefully about how you use these lures to get people to talk to you about your products or services.
The more you can do to stand out at a tradeshow, the more people you will get to talk to and the more impact you will have. Getting bang for your buck doesn’t stop at the location you choose, it is all about what you do with that stand to make it as inviting as possible.