Attending a trade show is a big investment. In these hard economic times, that means you need a return on that investment. But how do you set yourself up for success, rather than being the booth at the back that nobody visits?

The good news is that everyone can learn to succeed at a trade show, and these 7 tips will get you where you want to be.

Plan for success and give yourself time to plan

The earlier you start planning, the better. That means no last-minute expensive changes to plans and peace of mind that you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all your t’s before you get there. You want to plan the actual logistics of going to the event (hotels, flights, booth, etc.) as well as the campaign you’re running there (merch, marketing material, invitations, etc.). 

Make sure the salespeople and executives are singing from the same hymn sheet

Trade shows are a good excuse to put a lot of bodies on the ground to help identify prospective client accounts and close them. But everyone needs the same information about your campaign and everything they need to be in the right place at the right time. It’s often best to brief all those attending the same meetings to ensure nobody goes “off message” on the day. 

Any meetings that can be “pre-scheduled” should be

Your sales and marketing teams will have people they know will attend and who they want to spend time with at your booth. Make sure these are diarised early, and that adequate resources are available for these meetings. Set targets for your teams for these meetings, and if you have data from previous years available – make the targets more challenging than last year’s results. This is one of your biggest opportunities to line up business that you can close during the show, don’t miss it. 

Get social

It’s 2022. Social media offers you the opportunity to showcase what you’re doing for other show attendees and get them interested in your booth. It also lets you show off what you’re doing for those who can’t attend the show, pique their interest and let them feel involved. You can also send invites for meetings on the day using social, run giveaways, offer demos, etc. And don’t forget to include vital info in each post – such as the event hashtag or your booth number. 

Everyone loves giveaways

We’ve just mentioned giveaways, so it’s worth focusing on them for a moment. A good giveaway can drive huge amounts of foot traffic to your booth on the day. It helps differentiate you from your competitors and gets people feeling involved with your work. We would note that you don’t have to give away an all-expenses paid break in Paris – little things can be good too, donuts, ice cream, coffees, bubble tea, etc. just think out of the box and be different. 

Increase your visibility at the event

Talk to the organisers, where else can you advertise your presence in the event? Are there sponsorship slots? Can you place people near the doors to hand out flyers or merch? Is there an event podcast your execs can feature in? It’s nice for people to find your booth by wandering about, it’s even better if your booth finds them and draws them in. 

Get involved in discussion panels

This is a great way to show the world that your brand includes a team of thought leaders and industry greats. Attendees love these panels, and they tend to be a fairly easy ride for those involved. You can’t lose. 

Final Thoughts On Trade Show Success

Planning and hard work are always the keys to success, but knowing what to focus your resources on for a trade show can boost your return on investment. 

So, make sure you have this list to hand before you book your next show and start driving your revenue today!