To say that the vast majority of businesses take no prisoners when it comes to trade shows will be something of an understatement. When it comes to ruthlessness and the desire to succeed at all costs, there are very few scenarios imaginable that are more competitive or generally ferocious than trade shows and expos. Which of course it stands to reason as when there are vast numbers of businesses all looking to gain the interest of the same captive audience, chances are things are going to get messy.
All of the above leads to the obvious question regarding how exactly any business can hope to stand out when every other business is indeed looking to stand out just the same. As for the answer, the solution can be found in a combination of proactivity and the heeding of a few pearls of wisdom courtesy of those who know trade shows and display stands better than anyone else.
Keep the following in mind and chances are you will not go far wrong:
Make Your Booth Unique
First of all, it’s a good idea to take a good look at the status quo when it comes to trade show booth design in order to get an impression of what everybody else is doing. And once you have a good idea of what everyone else is doing, you can then go ahead and do the exact opposite. Perhaps not literally, but you do at least need to ensure that your booth is unique. From your banners to your sign holders and everything else from top to bottom, the worst thing you can do is blend in.
Kill Them with Kindness
One of the sneakiest and indeed most effective tricks to use when it comes to trade show success is that of killing your target audience with kindness. Not literally of course, but rather making it impossible for them not to like you by lavishing them with generosity. Free gifts work wonders across the board as there is barely a person alive that can resist something free of charge. And in terms of what works best, never forget that everyone in attendance will at some time during the day become at least a little hungry and thirsty.
Run a Contest or Prize Draw
Another tactic considered sneaky by some is that of essentially forcing your target audience members to leave their details and to make their way over to your stand by putting on some kind of competition. The easiest way of doing this is to advertise some kind of prize and allow entry in the form of business card drops or e-mail signups. There is really no better way of raking in hundreds or even thousands of new contacts without having to put in any effort at all and for an incredibly low cost.
Technology can work wonders at trade shows as there’s nothing more eye-catching than a stand brought to life by video screens, tablet computers or really anything else that breaks the monotony. Of course it can cost more to invest in banners and equipment in general designed to house technology, but the fact that you will capture the attention of the lion’s share of those in attendance makes it an investment that is more than worthwhile.
Make it Easy to Find Out More
Whether it’s having thousands of business cards all over the place or simply making sure your contact details are printed on every single poster and banner, you need to make it quite ridiculously easy for them to find out more should they choose to. Never forget that not everybody at the trade show will have the time to speak to you in person there and then, so show them where to go and how to get there if they want to find out more.
A Reason to Return
Another great tactic is that of giving them a good reason to pay you another visit either in-person or online. The most obvious and effective way of doing this is of course to give out special offer coupons or vouchers that can only be used after the event itself.
A Follow Up for Every Lead
And finally, perhaps the single most important golden rule of all when it comes to success at trade shows is that of following up every single lead without exception. It is impossible to tell ahead of time which leads will lead to pure gold further down the line as even what appears to be a lukewarm lead could be of outstanding value going forward. Never simply assume that red hot leads are the only leads you need to follow, as it often turns out that the contrary is in fact the case.