7 Essential Trade Show Marketing Tips

Big Hit Creative Group

*  [Updated January 2020]

Trade shows provide you with a great opportunity to promote your business! From scoping out new customers to increased brand awareness to networking. The problem here is not getting to the trade show, it’s standing out amongst everyone else.

Below are the 7 essential trade show marketing tips that we’ll share with you to make your next show your best show!

1. Make Yourself Accessible

Sure you are on the showroom ready to engage people, but that doesn’t mean your accessible. There are many little habits people do, both consciously and subconsciously, that makes them slightly more difficult to approach. Here are some of those bad habits and what we suggest to do to counteract them.

  • Standing Behind Your Booth

    • This is the most common habit that people do that they shouldn’t. Standing behind your booth creates a barrier between you and the person you are engaging with. Psychologically speaking, this is a defense mechanism that helps one feel comfortable in an otherwise uncomfortable situation. Stand in front of your booth and make sure you don’t have objects between you and the person you are talking to.
    • Yes, this includes your arm. Crossing your arms is often a subconscious barrier people don’t do on purpose, but out of a subconscious habit. Make a conscious effort to change these habits. It can be difficult,  but awareness is the best defense against them. Do this and you will radiate with confidence. You’ll, both literally and metaphorically, stand out from the crowd.
  • Lack Of Eye Contact  

    • Keeping eye contact is a strong way to establish trust between you and another person. It can be difficult to keep eye contact especially if you’re nervous. But if you do maintain eye contact they will be none the wiser to any uneasiness you may feel. Just be sure not to stare them down.
  • Poor Posture And Body Language  

    • Maintain a stance with your back straight and shoulders back to show your confidence. Keep yourself facing towards the person you are talking to. Turning away with your feet or torso implies you are not interested in the person you are talking to and when they pick up on that they too will lose interest.
    • Also, keep this in mind when talking with someone. Are they turning away? Are their feet pointing in the opposite direction? If so they are probably uninterested and it’s most likely best to just let them go.

2. Make Your Presence Known

Tell people you are here and what you are doing. Sure you’re on a list of attendees at the trade show, but you deserve more than that. Making people aware of your presence is easier than you may think. Such as with word of mouth. It’s the best way to let people know about you as it is free, it travels fast, and people are more likely to trust the information they hear from someone they know.  

It doesn’t stop there because we have the magic of social media. You can reach hundreds to thousands of people in a matter of minutes with information spreading faster than ever before. Post on Facebook! Tweet events as they happen! Send photo updates with Instagram! You can even try Livestreaming! Don’t stop there though. Send out an email campaign to your current customer list leading up to the day of the show and don’t be afraid to hang up a poster… or two… or more!

3. Get Out There And Have Fun With It!

As Mary Poppins says “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap. The job’s a game.”. People are going to be walking around all day listening to business pitches and practices. It gets dull after a while. Mix it up by offering a game to play to entertain your guests. Let them do more than just visit or view your booth; have them experience it.   

Playing a game also helps people, and more importantly, potential clients, feel more relaxed. It lets them take a break from all the business talks and just have a few minutes to enjoy their time. Not only that, but they will be more drawn to your booth whether they play the game or not. Be sure you have a prize for them. Everyone loves to win prizes and it’s a great opportunity to give them something to remember you buy.

4. Offer A Gift To Visitors

You should be investing in gifts and promotional products to hand out to your visitors. Giving a person something tangible to hold, with your business name, logo, ect., is one of the best ways to promote your business. Here’s why. 

“Of an audience consisting of the average American a little less than half (44% or 1,005 people) reported receiving a promotional product in the last 24 months. What’s more, 90.4% reported either currently owning or possessing a promotional product received within the last 24 months. 83% of respondents liked receiving a promotional product with an advertising message. 69% generally keep the promotional product if they have a use for it.” (A Lasting Impression A Study Of American Consumers Reveals Promotional Products As An Effective Advertising Medium)

Now when you are choosing what to hand out you need to keep somethings in mind.

  • Keep It Useful  

    • Gifts that are useful to the person or potential customer are far more likely to be kept. Don’t waste your money on something people will just throw away or forget about.
  • Keep It Relevant  

    • Make sure the gift you give is related to your business.  If you are a construction company, for example, why not give out a tape measure? It’s cheap, useful, and relevant to your business.
  • Try Something Different 

    • Give a gift that’s different that one may not see every day. Something that makes your gift stand out amongst all the other that a person may receive that day. Like a webcam cover. It’s easy to produce, it’s easy to carry around, and it will be potentially placed in the view of the receiver daily.   
  • There’s Nothing Wrong With The Classics 

    • Pencil, magnets, and koozies. There’s nothing wrong with going with what works. These gifts are popular for a reason. It’s better to give out something common that people will keep, then to hand out something “unique” that people don’t want.

Here are a few suggestions we offer here that can be imprinted with your business name, logo, website, QR code, etc.

5. Have A Strong Brochure Design

You are definitely going to be wanting a brochure to hand out to people too. Work to keep a good balance between picture, text, and space. Remember your brochure is meant to highlight what the business does and it’s specialties. Don’t overload the reader with information. Keep it to bullet points and short paragraphs paired with images to tell your story.  

The design of the brochure will be just as important as the information. So unless you have an in house marketing team it would be best to partner with the reputable agency to get a professionally designed brochure with the right balance of text, image, and design.

Keep in mind your business aesthetic so the brochure will match the rest of your business and trade show set up. You may have created an amazing brochure but it doesn’t match anything else, then it looks less appealing like it doesn’t belong. Use colors that harmonize with your logo and design elements that help reflect what your business does. 

6. Invest In Prominent Signage

People need to be able to find you so don’t skimp your signs. Poster, banners, whatever it takes to bring the customer to you. There is a good chance this will be your first impression and you only have one chance and a few seconds to make it good. In that short amount of time, you need to be able to tell them…

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • That you can be trusted
  • Where you are

Always keep in mind less is more, especially when it comes to your sign’s designs. Here are some rules to keep in mind when getting your signs and posters.

  • Don’t make them too text heavy.
    • Whoever is viewing them could easily be overwhelmed and/or intimidated by the amount of text and pass you up.
  • Keep it short, sweet, simple, and to the point.
  • Make sure it’s readable from a distance.
    • The most important information needs to be easy to read and able to draw people in to read it.
  • You need a call to action!

Banners both do and don’t follow the same rules as above. It’s good to keep in mind the function and purpose of the air-service-center-banner-design-big-hit-creative-groupbanner. For instance, an overhead banner would work best with even less information than described above. Use your overhead banner to tell who you are, images to show what you do, and to grab people’s attention so they can pick you out of a crowd.  

Now say you are wanting a side or vertical banner. It would be best to put more quick important information; almost like a pseudo brochure. You can’t always speak with everyone at once and some people have a specific question that a general audience wouldn’t have. So a more text-heavy side banner might be just what you need to give information and answer questions when you can’t.

7. Network Anyone And Everyone

Talk to everyone you can and learn all you can. There’s isn’t going to be a single conversation you have at your next show that’s worthless. It is in these conversations you can make your greatest impact by forging a relationship with a person and potential customer. You may just be the person they needed to talk to for what they need or perhaps they know someone who has been looking for a business who can do exactly what yours does.     

I’m not just talking about the attendees either. You will be surrounded by other business professionals just like you. Some may have an idea that hasn’t even crossed your mind or offer tips that only come from experience. You may find your next customer amongst the other business that is there. It may be a little nerve-wracking at first but if you power through it will pay off.     

We Are Here To Help You!

Hopefully, these tips and tricks help you succeed at your next show. If you find that your workload is too heavy or just want an extra hand, the team here at Big Hit Creative stand ready to help you with all your marketing needs. From promotional products to banners and everything in between. We have the experience and expertise to make your next show not only your best show but most profitable as well.

Big Hit Creative-Dallas Advertising Agency Logo-01     

“A Lasting Impression A Study Of American Consumers Reveals Promotional Products As An Effective

  Advertising Medium.” PDF file, 2009. https://www.awards123.com/prod/asi/study.pdf

Mary Poppins. Performance by Julie Andrews, Disney, 1964.

 What are you waiting for?

Stand out from the crowd and let Big Hit Creative inject some meaning into your future campaigns. A marketing agency that’s certified and understands every step of the process. Big Hit Creative Group can create and deliver rewarding content that will give your business a competitive edge.

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