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How to Brand Your Business at a Trade Show

September 25th, 2018 Comments off

Branding Your Business at a Trade Show

There are many reasons to attend a trade show in your industry. Not only does it get your brand name “out there” and in front of potential clients, but you’ll also learn from the other vendors. There is a sort of camaraderie at trade shows that you won’t find elsewhere. While your competition might also have a presence, it doesn’t mean you won’t also make valuable connections and learn how to present your business even better.

If you’re just getting your trade show marketing rolling and trying to convince your boss or client of the value of trade shows, point out that while it costs only $142 for a face-to-face meeting with a prospective client, it costs $259 for a meeting in that lead’s office. Not only do you have the opportunity to meet new potential clients at trade shows, but the cost of gaining a new client is also lower.

Once you’ve decided to leap into the trade show arena, you’ll want to ensure your booth is the absolute best it can be. There are eight distinct things you can do to brand your business at a trade show and beyond.

 

1. Grab Their Attention

The number of booths at a trade show varies. Some of the largest events may have hundreds of exhibitors, but some of the smaller ones may have under 50. No matter how many other booths there are, you have to grab attendees’ attention if you want them to stop by your booth. Bright colors, an excellent location and beautiful signage are all keys to success.

What can you do? Start by thinking about how your signs look from a distance as well as up close. You should reach people from a variety of positions.

 

2. Train Your Staff

Studies show that about 85 percent of the success of an exhibitor directly ties back to the way the staff performs. Take the time to train anyone staffing your booth thoroughly. They should be as passionate about your business as you are and able to answer any questions prospective clients have. The way you approach attendees may vary depending on the personality of your brand, but everyone on the staff should have a similar approach to customers stopping by the booth.

Conduct many training sessions before the event arrives. While it isn’t good just to have a memorized spiel — it’s potentially off-putting to people if it sounds rehearsed — it is good to have staff learn the full facts about your products, your services and your company. Ideally, booth staff should also wear the same uniforms so they are easy to identify. A uniform might be as simple as a company shirt and black slacks.

 

3. Stay in the Consumer’s Mind

One key to gaining traction from a trade show is finding ways to make your brand memorable. It’s good to stay in the consumer’s mind, but you don’t want it to be because you’re overly pushy. Hand out promotional items. About 85 percent of those who receive a free promotional item view the brand in a positive light. If you give them a product they’ll use frequently, they’re likely to think of your brand each time they use the product.

 

4. Make Your Booth Interactive

If you want to pull attendees into your booth, find a way to make it fun and interactive. They are also more likely to remember your brand if they had a great time visiting your booth. Make sure what you put in place matches your brand. For example, if you sell golf clubs, setting up a putting green and letting people try out your putters is an excellent idea. If you sell website services to businesses, the putting green doesn’t make sense for your booth.

Find something that puts your product or service in the hands of event attendees and shows them why you’re the best in your industry.

 

5. Integrate With Technology

We live in a mobile technology world. About 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone and 77 percent own smartphones. As people pass by your booth, they are likely to have a mobile device in their hands or pockets. You can use this to your advantage and reach them on a technological level.

Use signage to tell them about an app they can download. Create a hashtag for your event and encourage photo ops in your booth. When you think of unique ways to integrate with their smartphones, you’ll reach them “in person” now, reach their online social media followers and feeds later, and generally remind them who you are and what you do.

 

6. Run a Contest

A contest allows you to give one of your cool products away to a potential customer. It also gives you an opportunity to collect contact information from people who are interested in what you have to offer.

The smartest tactic is to offer one of your products or a service package as the contest prize. If you just offer something generic like a vacation, and you aren’t a vacation planner, then you’ll get entries from everyone. Instead, you want entries from your target demographic. Make sure the prize is something people in your chosen audience would want.

 

7. Don’t Be Afraid of the Competition

Don’t be afraid of the competition at a trade show. See the event as an opportunity to scope out what your competition is doing well and what they might be missing. There may be gaps you can fill that your competition hasn’t thought of. You also have an opportunity to set yourself apart with anyone who stops by your booth.

Around 91 percent of event attendees state that trade shows influence their buying decisions by letting them comparison shop between similar companies.

 

8. Follow Up Right Away

Once the event is over, demonstrate your excellent customer outreach skills by contacting the leads you’ve connected with. A simple email, a postcard or even a phone call goes a long way toward securing your brand in the mind of the consumer and showing that you care about gaining their business. A little extra effort here results in additional customers you otherwise might not reach.

 

Trade Shows Are Worth Your Time

Trade shows are worth the time and cost if you approach them strategically. Train your staff, create an eye-catching booth and understand that the goal isn’t always to land a customer at that moment. Instead, the result you’re aiming for is to make connections that lead to lifelong customers down the line.

 

About the Author:

Lexie Lu - Author

Lexie Lu is a web designer and UX strategist. Her work is featured on Marketo, Manta, Creative Bloq and Design Roast. Follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.  

 

 

 

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