As we all know, face-to-face meetings are vastly more affective for building lasting relationships between businesses than any other marketing strategy. Trade shows and other B2B events are extremely valuable, and are therefore worth splashing a bit of cash on! At a large trade show there can be hundreds of stands for potential clients to choose from, so make sure you stand out! Below are a few tips for promoting and decorating your stand to generate maximum ROI and build strong, valuable business relationships.
1. Quality Over Quantity
There are hundreds of trade shows out there, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is for you. Attending every event that seems relevant to you is not the way to go- some may not have enough attendees, or perhaps not the right kind of attendees. Either way, you do not need to waste your time and blow your marketing budget by attending a trade show every week!
Do your research- contact trade show exhibitors, look through directories, see where your competitors are going. This should give you an indication of which trade show is good for you. Aim to be getting out and about at least once a month, but obviously this depends on the busy season and budget.
2. Choosing Your Booth Space
It’s not always necessary to have the biggest stand out there, particularly for smaller and start-up companies. In fact, larger stands can look awfully empty at quieter points in the event and are therefore sometimes unnecessary. A smaller booth does mean that attendees might have to wait around to have a chat, but that just means you’re in high demand!
Opting for a smaller space could be a better option, there are so many ways to use it to the max! A smaller booth means more room in the budget to spend on design, it’s no secret that a visually appealing booth will attract more interest! Changing up your stand design from year to year is also an effective trade show strategy. Over time you will build a rapport with attendees and trade show organisers, an interesting booth will always be welcome back!
3. Digital Strategies and the Event App
Tech never fails to generate interest and excitement; I know that at any trade show I’ve been to, the booth with the next exciting piece of tech is always the talk of the event.
Virtual and Augmented Reality can be used to engage and (literally) immerse potential buyers with your product or service. Perhaps if you’re promoting a venue for events you could use an interactive ‘street view’ experience, attendees could literally walk around your venue! Of course, this would be very expensive, but it’s fun to think about how VR could be used at trade shows in the future.
If your trade show uses an event app then make sure to get involved with the gamification side of the app. Scavenger hunt style games could be used to get attendees to your stand, perhaps your stand could hold a code that earns the attendees with points. An event app could be a great way to promote your stand, perhaps you could consider sponsoring the event to get your logo on the home screen of the event app.
4. Social Media
Provide teasers and updates of your stand in the lead up to the trade show, be sure to use the show’s hashtag to become a part of the conversation. Incorporate the hashtag into all communications whilst you are at the event too. Most trade shows will use a social media wall, any of your tweets and other activities will be displayed to all attendees. Share real time images and video snippets to show how well you’re stand is doing. As well as this any speaker sessions you attend would be good to shout out, they are often retweeted by the event’s twitter page.
A Snapchat Geofilter can also be a fun way to promote your stand. At recent trade shows I have used them to promote our stand, I included our stand number and the fact that we were offering a free trial event app for any prospective clients.
Be sure to briefly recap your event experience across your social media channels and blog.