There’s a lot of value in attending a trade show, both as a regular attendee and as an exhibitor. They can help you to solidify your branding, expose your business to new people who are likely to have an interest, and help you to get some new ideas for where you can take your business in the future. However, if you’re planning on having a stand at a trade show, then it’s important to remember that success isn’t guaranteed just because you’re turning up. It’s up to you to make the show a success. Below, we look at a few essential tips that’ll push you in the right direction.
These takeaways emphasise the importance of early planning, effective representation, engaging branding, and diligent follow-up for a successful trade show.
Having a stand at a trade show isn’t something that you can put together last minute. If you’ve spotted a trade show in the near future, then look at attending that way as just a guest; do your research, take a look at the different tradeshow displays, and make plans to exhibit at the one that follows further on down the line. It might not seem like it, but there are a lot of tasks that have to go into trade shows, and you can’t dedicate all your time to it -- you do have a company to run, after all. Starting well ahead of time will also allow you to bounce ideas around for a while, rather than just going with the first one that comes to mind.
You’re showing off your company at this trade show, and that includes your employees, not just your products and services. If this is going to be as successful as possible, then it’s important that you’re selecting your most outgoing and enthusiastic employees to man the stand. The people you select will be the ones interacting with the public and ultimately deciding whether they’re interested or not, so confident and engaging speakers is a must.
One of the most important aspects of any trade show is the free swag! This helps to draw people’s interest to your stand, and also ensures that they’ll remember your name long after the trade show is over. So be sure to put together a selection of goodies for the show. This could involve buying a badge making machine and handing out badges that have your name and logo printed on the front. Or you could hand out pens, USB sticks, or even branded snacks and drinks. It doesn’t really matter what it is, providing your name is on it: people love free stuff!
Giving away practical items that people will use in their everyday lives is one of the most effective ways to leave a lasting impression at a trade show. Consider offering items like printed branded mugs that not only draw attention to your stand but also serve as a daily reminder of your brand long after the event. These mugs can be customised with your logo and message, making them a perfect tool for reinforcing your brand identity in the minds of potential clients and partners. Items such as custom-printed magnets can also significantly increase your brand recall. Even if stuck on a fridge and just left there, it's still a very effective advertisement within people's homes and businesses. Consider partnering with a magnet printing service to create bespoke magnets that feature your company logo and contact information. These can serve as a practical and durable reminder of your brand, ensuring that your business stays top of mind long after the trade show ends.
You’ll also need to put together a stand that best showcases your company. Exhibits NW is a tradeshow management company that's been around for over 25 years and has made a variety of trade stands that you may wish to draw inspiration from for this purpose. A well-designed stand can be a real attention-grabber and can give visitors an idea of what your business is all about even before they have a chance to speak to you.
Finally, be sure to follow up with the connections you’ve made after the trade show is over. Indeed, in many ways, the real work of the trade show begins once the event is over, so hit the ground running when you’re back in the office.