For many businesses, an annual appearance at a trade show will bring in a substantial portion of their annual leads – needless to say, it takes a well-planned strategy to achieve that level of success at a single event. There’s a wealth of opportunities to build new relationships and expand on your existing client base. How can you stand out from the crowd? These five secrets will distinguish your brand at your next trade show:
1. Use your booth to create a quiet sanctuary
In the past, an eye-catching booth with phenomenal banners and branding was enough. Now, it takes a little more thought to stand out. Rather than racing alongside your competitors and adding to the noise, drop out of the race. Offer visitors a comfortable sit-down lounge, free coffee, and soothing music. Basically, create a comfortable sanctuary.
Add media walls, AV displays with informative videos, talks, or demonstrations to feed visitors your information while they rest. The opportunity to build meaningful connections is tripled. People are more likely to read your pamphlet if they’re sitting down with a hot cup of joe in a perceived safe space.
2. Don’t become booth-bound
Avoid using the booth as a safe space and try something new. Try a by-invitation-only feature, rent a suite and decorate it to suit your brand. Then, invite your identified key targets.
You’ll make fewer connections, but they’ll be better quality and more likely to spend with you in the future.
3. Improve your follow-up process
Processes are the foundations of success. Fine-tune the way in which you identify your key targets, perfect the way you attract them, and most importantly, invest in the way you retain them. Your follow-up process will be the opportunity you have to build potentially life-long business relationships.
A custom follow-up branded corporate gift with a genuine message (relaying something of the conversation you shared, to personalize it) will get you a great deal further than a simple sales call. People value real connections, so take the time to record something of the conversation at the tradeshow. Use that tidbit in a handwritten invitation, card, or letter alongside a small gift once you’re back at the office, to solidify the relationship.
4. Grab a mic and get center stage
Public speaking is not for everyone, but the rewards are generous. People are naturally drawn to acquiring new knowledge that will offer tangible benefits in their day-to-day lives, so offer real advice.
Prior to the event, allocate some budget towards hiring professionals to create a mini-course that can be delivered in a speech.
If you’re not a public speaker, you can develop your public speaking skills, or hire someone to speak on your behalf. Potential buyers will naturally approach a demonstration. If you impart meaningful knowledge that is easily understood, your brand will be remembered as an authority in its field.
5. Use the givers-gain tactic for free brand awareness
There is a school of thought around a concept known as Givers Gain. It states that those who give freely, gain freely.
Spend some time building relationships with the event organizers. Try to identify ways in which you can assist them, in your professional capacity. You’ll likely be thanked and mentioned on printouts and on banners. That kind of publicity can take you far at a tradeshow event.
Incorporating tried and trusted techniques complete a portion of your trade show success strategy. Leave some room for experimentation, what works for your brand might not work for others, and vice versa. Through experimentation, you might just stumble across the ultimate success plan. It’s all about testing the boundaries!