Shake It Up… At Your Next Trade Show Event!

By guest blogger - Mike Weimar, President, Iconic Displays

You’ve got your team, you’ve got all the supplies, you’ve got the plane tickets and the hotel rooms. But something just isn’t right. Your trade show preparations are missing something. But what is it?

You haven’t read this article yet! That’s what’s missing!

Putting in the work to get to a trade show is a big investment of time, money, and personnel. You owe it to yourself to make sure that you maximize your return on that investment. Today, I want to show you seven little changes that will help you do exactly that!

#1 – Up Your Display Game

If you have ever been to a trade show you know that portable trade show displays that get attention, booths that you want to go to, are the booths that catch your eye and your interest. So, do not skimp here.

Whether it is display banners or pop-up banners or any other kind of graphic, don’t be afraid to put some money into it and make sure it pops. If you’re hesitant about spending money on something like this, remember it can be reused in many different circumstances!

(Iconic Display website image)

#2 – Give Them Something to Talk About

What do most trade show tables have? Business cards, pens, magnets, some little tablets showing off the latest offering, and a bored employee sitting in a chair. Not much to write home about, right?

What can you add to your display to make it stand out?

#3 – Early Bird

Trade shows and conferences have a vested interest in making sure their attendees have a good time and get a lot of value out of the event. For this reason, many events will have an associated Facebook group page or maybe a Slack channel that is set up in advance of the event itself.

The idea here is to allow attendees to create relationships prior to arriving. This cuts down on the number of wallflowers and allows you to engage with people on a deeper level.

So, do some checking and find out if your event has a group that you can join, then get involved! Introduce yourself, start some conversations, if you’ve attended the event before, provide some value for the newcomers (great local restaurants, tips on parking, etc.).

Now when you arrive at the event, you won’t be starting out cold and many of the people coming to your booth will already be friends!

#4 – Don’t Scare People Off

Now, this may seem extremely obvious, however you would be surprised how many booths make some critical mistakes in this area. And the sad part is, they are critical mistakes that can be easily fixed.

First, make sure that you are attentive to what is going on around your booth, but do not go into “stalker eye” mode. You have probably experienced this before. It is where you can tell someone behind a booth is watching you, waiting and begging you with their eyes to come by their booth. Nothing repels people more!

Keep a friendly smile, pay attention, but don’t appear desperate for people to come to your booth. Following Tip #3 above will make sure your booth is lively and looks like a great place for people to hang out!

#5 – Contest Anyone?

Everyone likes to win prizes. It is a universal human trait. So why not use that to your advantage?

But please note, this should not be for some shoddy piece of promotional material that no one will really care about. If you want people to care about your contest, you must give them a reason to care. You don’t have to go as far as giving away a house, but if you have the budget, have several different prizes with the top one costing at least a hundred (or a couple hundred) dollars.

If you don’t have that kind of budget – remember, you can never go wrong with some high-quality candy or chocolate.

#6 – Don’t Sleep

Well, maybe not literally. However, the thing to realize is that a trade show is an event where several weeks’ worth of stuff gets crammed into a couple days. While it may be tempting to retire early and skip the after-event functions or the social events, you will be missing out big time if you do.

Since you have invested so much into getting to the trade show and all that entails, you owe it to yourself to truly make the most of the time you have there. Obviously, you should to take care of yourself and make sure you get the sleep you need, however an extra hour or two of sleep will not be worth nearly as much as putting in some more time at the after-event functions.

#7 – Give the Event Planners A Hand

The people who put on trade shows, are no doubt very connected within your industry. Go out of your way to meet them and offer (genuinely) to help in any way you can.

This can begin even before you get there by becoming the event’s number 1 promoter. Getting the word out is a big deal and they will notice if you put some effort into helping them do that.

Then at the event, be on the lookout for ways to help, whether it is setting things up, tearing down, moving things, etc. Make sure not to step on any toes, but an extra helping hand is pretty much always appreciated.

Creating a relationship with the event organizers is always a good idea and has the potential for paying off down the road.

Summary

Going to a trade show can have big benefits for your business. However, it is a big investment of time, money, and resources. With these simple tips, you will be well on your way to making sure the event is everything that it can be!


Mike Weimar is the president of Iconic Displays, a provider of portable tradeshow displays, booths, and exhibits. He has over 25 years’ experience in high-technology marketing and product development.

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