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This Is How To Successfully Market Your Business At A Trade Show

Trade Show

Trade shows would be a vital part of any business’s marketing strategy. However, because they require a significant outlay of time and money, you must do all you can to maximize the return on your investment and ensure success. Happily, you can find ten of the most useful tips on this subject in our comprehensive guide below. Read on to find out what they are.

Do your homework

One of the most important aspects of trade show success is going in armed with as much information as possible. That means doing your homework on the event beforehand. The good news is that any trade show worth its salt will provide a detailed breakdown of attendance demographics. You can then use this information to devise a trade show marketing strategy identifying who you will be targeting and the best way to get their attention and engagement.

Decide on specific and measurable goals

Many people get the wrong idea about trade shows and think that they are only about raising general brand awareness. However, this does not have to be the case. Instead, your trade show attendance will be most effective if you have specific and measurable goals to judge success by.

Yes, one of the goals may be to increase brand awareness. Yet, an amorphous sense of a few more people knowing about your brand is not enough, instead, you need to devise a way to measure how effectively you achieved this such as a specific increase in the number of social media followers for your business account, or a certain number of newsletter signups.

Similarly, it is entirely possible to sell products and close deals at trade shows if you go about it in the right way. Understanding your customer personas and providing stock and limited-time special offers specifically for them is the best way to close as many deals as possible during an event.

Invest in a professional display

The key focal point for any business at a trade show is its company display. What that means is amateur efforts, with picnic tables and sugar paper being a big no-no. Instead, you will need to carefully consider the type of display you use, and make sure that it looks as professional as possible, as it will be representing your business for the entirety of the event.

Happily, there are now professional event display experts that can help you create a stall that stands out from all the rest while conveying a positive image for your brand. Event display experts can offer a wide range of products for trade stalls including marquess, pop-up tents, star tents, and even inflatable tents. All of which can make an excellent foundation for your stall.

Once you have your foundation sorted, you will want to enhance it with additional marketing displays including things like inflatable archways, feather banners, branded table covers, and banners.

Those businesses looking to make even more of a positive impression on their customers may also choose to invest in digital displays. The main advantages of these types of trade show displays are that they can be programmed to add extra visuals, and movement to your stand, and so attract additional attention, even in a sea of competitors.

Prep your audience beforehand

For many trade shows can seem like discreet events, but in truth, they are not. Instead, you can maximize the success of your trade show attendance by preparing and enticing your audience before the big day.

Of course, the perfect way to do this is by using social media, as you can reach a wide range of people for a small cost. The trick to doing this kind of social media marketing right is to tease the things and value you will be offering to your audience during the trade show, rather than giving them the full details.

Social Media

Source: Unsplash

For example, if you have an interactive digital game like a simulator, then taking a photo of a small part of it, and adding that to your online account is better than showing what it is outright. Then you can drum up interest and engagement with people guessing. Also hinting at what kind of things you have on offer before the show means you can help attendees prioritize their visit, making sure as many get to your stand as possible.

Provide value to your target market

Just like you do in content marketing, providing value to your target audience at trade shows is crucial for success. However, the type of value you can offer may differ quite a significant amount. Indeed, considering the things that people most want at large, and busy trade shows, and then offering these to your audience is a great tactic.


Source: Unsplash

One example of this is to create a chillout area with seating, and then brand for your company. Users will then associate the positive experience of sitting down and resting after a long full day of being on their feet with your business, which can be very valuable indeed.

Similarly, providing fun and interactive experiences like games (digital or manual) can be a great way of offering value to your audience that they cannot get elsewhere. Again this is most effective when you consider your target demographic / personas and offer something that will most appeal to them.

Never underestimate the power of SWAG

Everyone likes free stuff, and this is never more true than at a trade show. Indeed, for many, the amount of SWAG they can collect without having to pay a penny becomes like a challenge or a game. The great thing about this is that offering SWAG to stall visits affords you many critical marketing opportunities.

The first of these is that by giving away products with your brand name, logo, and contact details you will be taking up space in potential customers’ homes and workplaces. This provides you with an unrivaled opportunity to increase impressions for your branding.

Additionally, providing free branding merch to trade show attendees offers another valuable marketing opportunity on the day of the event. When others see all the great stuff, in the great bag you have provided for free to stall visitors they will want to come and visit to get their own. Thereby increasing brand awareness as well as the opportunity for you to collect their contact details before you hand over the swag!

There are plenty of SWAG products you can offer too. Although the best ones tend to have practical applications, as these ensure they are kept beyond the day of the trade show and used long term. With that in mind, great choices may include bottle openers, corkscrews, caps, body warmers, socks, pens, and sticky note holders. Remember that the bag you offer these items in can also be counted as a reusable item, so where possible splash out and go for canvas or fabric.

Give a talk

Another great way to make the most of a trade show opportunity is to give a talk, master class, or host a panel. One of the biggest advantages of doing this is that it immediately establishes your company as an expert authority in your field, with knowledge and experience that others can benefit from.

These types of talks and presentations are also more interactive than simply having a stall or both, and you can leverage technology to make even more of a positive impact, on both pentail customers, and your peers.

Follow up post event

Last, of all, the work isn’t over once the event is finished. You could argue that it’s only just begun, because now is the time that you can begin to leverage all the effort in raising brand awareness and making relationships and connections to achieve your business goals.

With that in mind, it’s a very good idea to follow up and touch base with every contact you make during a trade show event. However, the type of follow-up you do should depend on the whereabouts they are in your sales funnel. For instance, for those at the interest stage, a newsletter or email blast acknowledging meeting them at the event, and outlining the key sales pitch for your business will be enough.

However, for those that showed genuine interest in your product or services with the intent to buy, a more personalized follow-up by a member of your sales team, possibly with an extension of any special offers related to the event will be more effective.

Final thoughts

Trade show attendance can be a large expense if you do not do all you can to maximize the return on your investment. Fortunately, there is a wide range of tactics you can use to make your business’s trade event attendance as successful as possible.

These tactics include making sure that your stall stands out from all the rest, that you provide free SWAG for visitors, and that you engage with a wider audience by doing a talk or panel. Prepping your audience for your trade show offering before the big day, and following up with any new leads after the event is also crucial if you want to get the most out of the experience.

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