Trade shows give businesses a chance to not only show off their wares, but also to make a lasting impression that results in boosted sales. Unlike a company’s website or social media presence, trade shows give potential customers a chance to interact one-on-one with company representatives. Here are some tips to help your company make a bigger splash with its trade show marketing.
Use Standout Strategies
A company’s trade show strategy, therefore, should stand out from its other marketing efforts. If, for example, it simply hands out information readily available on its website, customers are likely to toss the company’s pricey brochures in the trash before they even leave the exhibit hall.
Make Multiple Impressions
Research shows that it takes five to seven mental impressions before a person remembers something. Find creative ways to make multiple impressions on the captive audience that walks into the doors of the exhibit hall.
- Create a standout logo: To make sure potential customers remember your logo—and your company—start out with a standout logo. A company need not overspend their marketing budget to hire a graphic designer. Often, the company you hire to create your promotional gear will have an on-staff designer that can create one for you when you order from them.
- Be consistent: Don’t use one style of label or logo on one promotional item, such as a business card, and then use another (or none at all) for the company letterhead. Brand all the promotional material with the same design.
- Stay on message: Use a consistent brand voice in all the company’s marketing material and advertising—even at a trade show. In conversations with potential customers, presentations and talks, and even at cocktail parties afterward, stay “in character” with the company message.
- Find more opportunities to contact customers: Don’t wait for potential customers to come to the company’s booth. Designate someone to mingle with attendees out on the floor, at group gatherings, and at other conference events. Aim for at least seven points of contact for each attendee who is either a target customer or a potential partner.
Interact with Potential Customers
When people come by the booth, engage them with thoughtful questions. Discover what they do and lead them into a discussion of their most vexing challenges. Next, lead them on a journey to help them see how your products or services can help them solve these challenges.
Make Yourself Available for Speaking Engagements at the Show
Most trade shows have a concurrent program that includes thought leaders in the represented fields. Develop several areas of expertise in your niche through research. Take some time to hone your speaking skills through organizations like Toastmasters.
Then, once you have the expertise and confidence you need, get to know trade show organizers. Don’t be shy—make it known you’re available to speak.
When you do get that chance, make sure you publicize your upcoming appearance to all your contacts and social media followers. Promote your appearance at your booth as well with stickers, signs, and speech outlines that allow attendees to take notes during your speech.
After a few successful speaking engagements, you’ll find yourself in the enviable position of being a thought leader in your niche—which will, in turn, lead to more customers who want to do business with your company.
Use Interactive Technology at the Company Booth
The more hands-on, the more memorable a company’s trade show marketing. Trade show attendees get bored quickly with swag bags filled with brochures that drone on about how great a company is.
Instead, give them something to do with their hands—such as clicking through product images, answering surveys that navigate them through a series of questions that identify their company’s chief challenges—and find an answer through your products.
Provide a Lounge Area with Catchy Videos, a Charging Station, and Free Refreshments
Trade show-goers can get tired and hungry flitting from booth to booth. Meet their needs for a spot where they can rest their feet, satisfy their thirst and hunger, and watch well-produced videos that show what your products and services have done for companies just like theirs.
Offer a spot to recharge their mobile devices, too, and you’ll have people flocking to your booth. Remember, meet their immediate needs, and they will think of you when it comes to meeting their corporate needs.
Don’t forget to provide them with free water bottles, labeled with the company name, logo, and contact information. Thoughtfulness is always a good bet for one-on-one marketing strategies.
Hold Activities for Attendees
Whether it’s a group tour of the host city, a cocktail party, or a breakfast, extra activities make a company a standout at any trade show. Advertise these activities well ahead of time as well as at the trade show itself for best results.
At these events, be sure to have stick-on name tags, decorated with your company logo, that attendees can write their names on. Be sure to network extensively and have plenty of business cards available.
Provide Useful Gifts
Think about what types of promotional gear your target customers would be most likely to use. Provide them with quality gifts, and they will remember the company well who gave them. Provide ones that end up in the trash, and those same people will associate the company with junk.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
All those business cards, addresses, and phone numbers you collect at the company booth? Get in touch with every one of those people after the show ends. Not only will this give you an extra point of contact, but it can also build the company’s reputation for excellent customer service after the sale.
If you follow up with them even before they become a loyal customer, they will know instinctively you’ll follow up with them even more after they buy. Build trust, and the company will build its customer base.
When a company becomes a trade show standout among its potential customers by combining creativity, problem-solving, and memorable impressions, it will pay off in increased revenue over the years.