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5 Tips to Win Customers at Your Next Trade Show

Expo Hall

Industry trade shows can be an effective way to network and promote your products and services to highly targeted audiences. These events are ripe with potential clients and collaborators and offer the opportunities for face-to-face interaction, genuine connections and future sales.

To maximize your trade show display, it’s important to stay on-brand and clearly convey your company’s capabilities and specialties. Keep in mind that today’s consumers are much more interested in an overall experience that authentically resonate with them and their interests, rather than a traditional product-driven transaction.

Here are five tips to help you nail your next trade show event, and return home new customers:

1. Strut your stuff! Put your brand front and center

Create clear, consistent branding at your booth. Your company’s name and contact information should be prominently displayed, and all product giveaways and marketing materials should be branded to ensure interested attendees know how to get in touch with you. But don’t be afraid to explore a booth theme, especially if it aligns with the theme of the event or your target audience. It will definitely help your space stand out.

2. Create lasting impressions! Focus on creativity, not cash

You don’t need to shell out more budget to create a booth that stands out. Be savvy with your spending and get creative with your branding and visual storytelling to drive booth traffic and engagement. Examples of fun and engaging experiences include: Interactive games, life-size art, virtual reality experiences, photo booths and crowd-drawing demonstrations.

3. Make things POP! Try a pop-up shop or activation

Your prospects likely go to a lot of events; and if they’re attending an expo, they have a specific goal they need to accomplish. If you want to stand out from your competitors, consider hosting events (like coffee breaks or happy hours), pop-up shops or activations in your booth space. On the surface, these experiences may not tie directly to sales, but creating an experience for attendees will definitely make an impact. 

4. Tap into technology! Tie in turnkey resources

Offer attendees an experience so fun they want to share it with everyone they know on social media. Provide a hashtag they can add to their posts, and set up an eye-catching branded area where they can pose for pictures. After all, happy customers are your most influential brand ambassadors!

5. Be clever with giveaways

Offer useful items such as gift certificates for your services, food, drinks and quality wearables. Remember, giveaways must be small and travel-friendly, as many people fly or drive long distances to attend shows. Consider hosting a drawing for a grand prize that attendees need to register or leave their business card for a chance to win. You can deliver the prize to a winner once they’ve returned home. The biggest benefit? You will get a nice little boost to your database.

Above all else, position yourself as a subject matter expert with credibility and knowledge. Get your “pitch” right and be ready to fluidly communicate why your services fill a need in the industry you serve. Regardless of how fancy your booth is, your main goal should be for attendees to walk away knowing exactly what you do and how to get in touch if they need your services.

This article is based on a piece initially published on Impressions, written by Ed Levy. Levy has more than 25 years of apparel-decorating experience and is an in-demand speaker at trade shows and regular contributor to industry magazines.

5 Tips to Win Customers at Your Next Trade Show

by | Dec 5, 2023

Expo Hall

Industry trade shows can be an effective way to network and promote your products and services to highly targeted audiences. These events are ripe with potential clients and collaborators and offer the opportunities for face-to-face interaction, genuine connections and future sales.

To maximize your trade show display, it’s important to stay on-brand and clearly convey your company’s capabilities and specialties. Keep in mind that today’s consumers are much more interested in an overall experience that authentically resonate with them and their interests, rather than a traditional product-driven transaction.

Here are five tips to help you nail your next trade show event, and return home new customers:

1. Strut your stuff! Put your brand front and center

Create clear, consistent branding at your booth. Your company’s name and contact information should be prominently displayed, and all product giveaways and marketing materials should be branded to ensure interested attendees know how to get in touch with you. But don’t be afraid to explore a booth theme, especially if it aligns with the theme of the event or your target audience. It will definitely help your space stand out.

2. Create lasting impressions! Focus on creativity, not cash

You don’t need to shell out more budget to create a booth that stands out. Be savvy with your spending and get creative with your branding and visual storytelling to drive booth traffic and engagement. Examples of fun and engaging experiences include: Interactive games, life-size art, virtual reality experiences, photo booths and crowd-drawing demonstrations.

3. Make things POP! Try a pop-up shop or activation

Your prospects likely go to a lot of events; and if they’re attending an expo, they have a specific goal they need to accomplish. If you want to stand out from your competitors, consider hosting events (like coffee breaks or happy hours), pop-up shops or activations in your booth space. On the surface, these experiences may not tie directly to sales, but creating an experience for attendees will definitely make an impact. 

4. Tap into technology! Tie in turnkey resources

Offer attendees an experience so fun they want to share it with everyone they know on social media. Provide a hashtag they can add to their posts, and set up an eye-catching branded area where they can pose for pictures. After all, happy customers are your most influential brand ambassadors!

5. Be clever with giveaways

Offer useful items such as gift certificates for your services, food, drinks and quality wearables. Remember, giveaways must be small and travel-friendly, as many people fly or drive long distances to attend shows. Consider hosting a drawing for a grand prize that attendees need to register or leave their business card for a chance to win. You can deliver the prize to a winner once they’ve returned home. The biggest benefit? You will get a nice little boost to your database.

Above all else, position yourself as a subject matter expert with credibility and knowledge. Get your “pitch” right and be ready to fluidly communicate why your services fill a need in the industry you serve. Regardless of how fancy your booth is, your main goal should be for attendees to walk away knowing exactly what you do and how to get in touch if they need your services.

This article is based on a piece initially published on Impressions, written by Ed Levy. Levy has more than 25 years of apparel-decorating experience and is an in-demand speaker at trade shows and regular contributor to industry magazines.