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Smart Ways to Maximize Your Tradeshow Investment

By Holly Barker
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Let’s face the facts – going to tradeshows every year can cost you several hundreds of thousands of dollars, and without a return on investment you have nothing to prove or show the event was a success for you and your team.

So how can you ensure you’re doing everything in your power to get the best ROI from one event to the next? One way is to be creative when attracting visitors to your trade show booth. Think outside of the box, and look for fun and fresh ideas from event to event that are drawing people into trade show booths. Below are a few ways you can start making sure your exhibition stand attracts the right visitors at your next event!

EMB_image_Smart Ways to Maximize Your Tradeshow Investment

Test Drive Before Going Green

Before attending any event and getting completely set up, make sure you do a complete walk through of your booth plan. This should include talking through the booth look and feel, giveaways, collateral, attendees, and most importantly reviewing all presentations and/or demos that may take place in your booth (if your company has a product they demo these are important to run through prior to attending any event).

Taking a good look over all of the work and planning that has been taking place for months before you take off for the event is key to ensuring all areas look and sound the same. You may be facing big issues if you are not well prepared in all of these areas, and will most likely not have time hours before the show floor opens to redo a presentation or hunt down a good printer to get copies of materials you forgot to print out before you arrived.

Take Everything Seriously

There’s nothing worse than walking through a trade show floor and seeing empty booths, or booths with way too many staff members lurking around and not enough prospects engaging. Be sure you’re sending the RIGHT amount of team members to each event you exhibit at, and that they are the most capable to work a booth for extensive hours at a time.

Trade shows can seem like all fun and games when the planning is taking place, but once you hit the show floor, everyone on the team needs to remember you are there for work, and not play. (Well, maybe some play..) Having the right people in your booth can make or break the quick impression people get when stopping by your booth.

A few other turn-offs at trade shows are seeing companies being too abrasive when people walk past their booths. If you’re launching a new product, or just simply there to sell a service, make sure you have the right messaging being used by your team to engage with people as they enter the booth. Don’t yell at or walk up to people if they are in the middle of a conversation.

Remember to Showcase your Brand

One thing to keep in mind when attending trade shows is quality. It’s easy to get side tracked with so much going on at once, but it’s important to remind your team members that you’re there to talk with quality prospects.  If trade shows are based on a cost-per-contact, you’ll want to make sure you’re engaging with and drawing in people who are most likely to interact with your brand, or buy your service.

Find out by asking in a non-intrusive way if those stopping by your booth are interested in your brand or have heard of it. If not, ease into a conversation about who you are and what you do, but also asking them what they do in order to discover if they may be a potential future customer or perhaps even a partner.

Be Exciting – In Every Way

Besides being well prepared for the event, and having the right team members there to work the booth, you need to be sure the booth itself looks and has everything it needs to be a show stopper. So many booths today are walked past because they have lame giveaways, or the booth itself is not attractive. One way to top all other booths is to have an un-booth.

Everyone usually goes for the standard tables, chairs, and demo pods look for booths, but take a creative stand and make your booth look engaging and tell a story.

Having an overall theme for your booth is also a great idea to get people talking and entice media buzz. Just remember to incorporate your booth theme with your brand! Be visible to all attendees – have a clear logo in all entrance points of your booth or hanging above your booth so people can notice who you are right away.

The brand is crucial to not mess with at trade shows. It’s your way to showcase who you are in front of thousands of people who may not have heard of you before. From the clothes you wear in the booth to the giveaways you have for booth traffic, every last touch should have your brand look and feel associated to it.

In Conclusion

It’s easy to start with these small steps in order to draw in the right people to your trade show booth. Be specific – if you’re only at a show for one reason such as showcasing one of your products or an area of your company, then make sure you let people know that in your booth and marketing branding.

Use language in your booth that makes sense and is easy to understand so people who are interested in what you are offering will recognize that and make sure they stop by. Of course, the last thing to keep in mind when pulling together all of your trade show plans is to market, market, market before you get there and on the show floor!

All of these details should be in your trade show plan, and your team should know exactly what you’re focusing on from the very beginning in order to have a successful event!

about the author

Holly Barker
Holly Barker is a Digital Native with a passion to help shape events and brands through storytelling, creativity and digital magic. She has over 10 years of experience consisting of social media marketing, events and promotional management, digital marketing, and brand development. Follow Holly at @holsk.
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