In today’s social networking age, some think investing in a trade show isn’t necessary. We think those people are mistaken! Not much beats the enormous value of meeting clients and prospects face-to-face. However, just buying a booth and showing up doesn’t making the most of your investment. Here are our Top 5 Tips for making an impact on your trade show experience – fear not, some are completely free!

#1 – Invite Attendees

Studies show that a majority of people attend events for one reason: they’re invited! Do not rely solely on show producers to market/advertise, take the time, yourself, to do client and prospect outreach. Thousands of people may go to the show, but you need to make them want to come to YOUR booth!

#2 – Preshow Exhibitor Portal

Speaking of invitations…your show’s exhibitor portal may help! While the show website is crucial to attendees, successful exhibitors take advantage of this captive audience and utilize tools provided to make an impact and stand out. How? Easy. Edit your information to be correct and compelling. If available, add a company logo (visible on some show floor plans), press releases, pictures and videos. From this area, it may even be possible to invite clients/prospects too. The profile that attendees see on this website is driven by YOU; regular updates make a difference.

#3 – Booth Refresh

When was the last time your booth was changed? Take a second look at it and evaluate items like the messaging (is it still on point?), what do your graphics look like (are they old, irrelevant or stock photos?), do your colors pop (are they outdated or faded?). You don’t necessarily have to spend money on a whole new booth when simple updates to graphic panels and furniture may work. Keep your booth fresh and up-to-date.

#4 – Booth Personnel

Who works in your booth is just as important as what the booth looks like. Staff your booth with the right people so you don’t waste money. Focus on these three aspects:

  • Number. How many people are you putting in your booth in comparison to the space you have.  Subtle messages are sent when there are both too few or too many staffers.
  • Knowledge. Booth models are acceptable in certain situations, but if you don’t have knowledgeable people who know your product, your investment will fall flat.
  • Personality. Conversely, it’s concerning to use staff that isn’t engaging or personable, regardless of their knowledge level. You want visitors leaving conversations excited and intrigued…but not for the wrong reasons.

#5 – Post Show

The show’s over but the work isn’t. A major complaint of show attendees is no follow-up. We get it; you’re busy after a show and playing catch-up on things you put off while at the show. However, make lead follow-up a priority. Assign this task to one or more people and require that the first communication is within one week of the show’s conclusion. You have the attention of the prospect…do not lose it!