4 Tips for Trade Show Marketing Success

Industry events and trade shows remain a great way to enhance their marketing and sales. Unfortunately, many businesses squander the opportunity while wasting personnel time, travel costs and direct event fees. We’ve outlined four tips proven to add value to your trade show or event programming.

1. Leverage speaking opportunities.Most trade shows put out a call for speakers before each year’s event. With a bit of research and planning, you can find events that fit your expertise and submit to present on a topic you know well.

This is not a time to sell. It’s an opportunity to present business insights that attendees will value. You’ll be the center of attention and that visibility will lend credibility and trust to your business, service or product. Speakers are often recorded, providing content you can use for other marketing initiatives.

2. Make your booth memorable.Sales are rarely closed at a trade show so, if you’re a trade show exhibitor, focus on making your booth unforgettable and connecting with new prospects for future follow-up.

Memorable booths are simple, colorful and well branded. Don’t plaster your backdrop with text. Instead, place your logo on a strong color background with a bold statement tied to your primary benefit. And, if you have the resources, the sky’s the limit on attractors and design.

3. Have fun.Consider incorporating entertaining gimmicks and games to engage visitors. You’d be surprised at the lines that form to play corn hole, spin the wheel or grab samples from a branded candy bar loaded with tasty treats.

Simple games with small prizes work best. Participants provide their contact info and answer a survey question in exchange for a chance to play. Winners enter a raffle for a larger prize, such as a travel voucher, prepaid credit card or the latest technology gadget. Engage with booth visitors while they wait in line and play the game.

4. Ditch the table and chairsIt drives me crazy when exhibitors sit behind a table and talk to each other or stare at their phones. That behavior, plus the table (typically loaded with collateral), turns off attendees. My advice: Lose the furniture (unless that’s what you’re selling). Stand and welcome everyone with a smile and a “Hello.”

Prep yourself with industry issues or current event topics that you can use as icebreakers to engage people who walk by. Striking up a conversation about products or specific needs is a bonus, but don’t let that monopolize your time and keep you from meeting other people. Set a time to continue the conversation over coffee or lunch.What other things have you tried to build engagement at industry or trade show events?