Trade Show Tips For 2017: Part One of Three

You’ve decided to go to a trade show- the date is marked on the office calendar, you bought badges for yourself or your staff. Now what do you do?

A trade show is a unique opportunity to generate highly targeted leads- take full advantage of that! Taking a few extra steps to thoroughly prepare for the show will help you make better connections and effectively market your brand while you’re attending.

We’ve rounded up our best trade show tips into one comprehensive guide. In part one we’ll help you lay out your game plan for the event.

Trade Show Tips: Preparation Is Half The Battle

Great preparation will set you up to use your time efficiently and get the most out of the trade show you attend. You can use this post like a checklist to make sure you’ve done everything you can to prepare for your upcoming show.

Establish goals: Ask yourself: What do you want to get out of the trade show? Do you want new sales leads? Is your main goal to strengthen your brand? To brush up on industry information? Set SMART goals ahead of time and tailor your trade show marketing strategy to those goals.

Do your research: Trade shows give you the valuable opportunity to do some old school face-to-face networking, whether it be with potential leads or other members of your industry. Know who will be at your show and who you absolutely have to talk to before you go home.

You can start by picking up a vendor list to find out who will be there. Start tracking any relevant social media conversations ahead of the show. Let people know you’re attending and create your own social media buzz. For example, the Winter Fancy Foods Show is using the hashtag #WFFS17 this year!

Make appointments in advance: Once you’ve scoped out your networking opportunities, we highly recommend making appointments in advance. Your schedule will get busy once you’re at the show. To avoid missing out on a great business opportunity, give your potential network connections a call and set a time to sit down and talk or go for a beer. Everybody needs to eat at some point when they’re on a business trip, so why not volunteer to be their lunch buddy?

Create an elevator pitch: Did you rent space for a booth or are you going to the show as an attendee? Either way, you’re there with a mission: to draw attention to your product, your brand, and/or your service. Create a great elevator pitch in advance. That way, if you find yourself shaking hands with a great connection or qualified lead, you’re not floundering to explain your business before they walk off to grab a free sample at someone else’s booth.

Volunteer to speak: If you have expertise to share, sign up ahead of time to be a speaker at the show. This helps you get your name out there and build your reputation as an expert.

Plan an engaging booth: Investing in a booth? If you are, make it awesome. A table with a laptop or a poster on it won’t cut it. You want to grab people’s attention and draw them in. Try putting your table towards the back instead of right up front so people can come mingle instead of just walking by. Have a demo or samples ready so attendees get a tangible feel for what you’re promoting.

Assemble your kit: Gather all the supplies you’ll need at the show, digital and otherwise. Make sure you have:

  • A map.
  • A list of vendors or attendees.
  • A list of events happening during the show that you may want to attend.
  • Plenty of business cards.
  • Any materials you need for an engaging booth.

Ready for the show? Be sure to check out part two of our trade show tips blog series. We’ll share our best advice on networking while you’re at the event. See you there!