A Quick Guide to Trade Shows

A Quick Guide to Trade Shows

Industry trade shows are a great way to get some brand lift for your company. Before you sign the contract, make sure it’s the right one! The first thing I like to do is go to the conference website and look around. Usually, the website has all the important information you need to make the decision such as conference date, location, costs, exhibitor availability and layout of exhibitor halls.

Committing to exhibit can be expensive, due diligence is key when it comes to choosing the right conference for your company. Take a look at all the sponsors, attendees and what the competition is doing, that usually helps in the decision making process.

Sign the contract and pick the best location to showcase your brand. Remember, the size of your booth is an important factor, make sure you have enough space and are not crowded in with other exhibitors. Pick a space that gets a lot of organic traffic, across the doors from general sessions, close to the food stations and the bars are always great locations. You will be provided with a 6 foot table and electricity for your booth space, you can always request other items that may be needed for an additional cost. You may also get additional advertising with your contract, make sure to check for deadlines and flag your calendar, use the ad space for a clever call to action and don’t forget to include your website.

Themes are becoming more and more popular these days, we always try to tie into the theme of the conference. Whether you create a new panel for your booth, or theme your swag (Stuff We All Get), incorporating the theme of the show is usually a great idea and the conference hosts love it! Having a theme is also a great way to incorporate team building while brainstorming. It’s a win, win!

Get creative and give attendees a reason to stop by and learn about your company. Every exhibitor will have pens, paper and a drawing – to collect business cards for lead generation after the show. But let’s face it, the conference will provide you a list of all attendees for pre-show and post-show marketing. Don’t be afraid to stand out, being different will leave a lasting impression. From tarot card readers to shoe shines, from lemonade stands to virtual reality, the sky is the limit for making your exhibit the one that will be remembered. You may even have someone on your team that has a hidden talent to contribute to the interactive activity at your booth. I like to call that the “UBO” (ultimate branding opportunity).

A few tips for setting up a great booth:

• Move the table to the side of the booth space, keeping the booth open and inviting
• Branded tablecloth or runner- re-enforce branding
• Flowers, silk plants create curb appeal
• Keep table organized and bring creative items to keep SWAG organized and neat. (glass bowls or candy jars make great pen holders, trays are another great way to keep everything looking neat) Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or Home Goods have inexpensive creative containers)
• Lighting is always a great way to draw attention
• Branded balloons will make your booth look festive and fun
• Keep the booth table clean of soda cans, water bottles and coffee cups
• Booth schedules for your team- rotate the faces- this will help increase the traffic
• Read the exhibitor rules and follow them
• Post it on social media, go live at the booth or encourage attendees to take pictures and tag your company, if your booth is cool and interesting you won’t need to encourage much

Most of all, make it fun and creative and they will come!