Don’t get spooked by trade shows

Don’t get spooked by trade shows

While kids all over the country are thinking about trick or treating, in the business world, fall is traditionally a time for a different sort of face-to-face – trade shows!  Attending an exhibition is a great way to boost your brand’s profile but it’s also hard work and for some, a scary prospect.

So if the prospect of this fall’s trade show events has you feeling a little spooked, fear not!  We’ve got lots of insider tips to make sure your event is freakishly successful, and not a horror show!

1. Plan ahead

Advance planning is one of the most important keys to trade show success.  Most businesses can relate to the stress of realizing you’ve left it too late to order displays, printed collateral and other sales tools you need to make your trade stand look professional and get your message out to customers.  So as soon as you confirm attendance, it’s a good idea to sit down and map out what you’ll be using this show for, and what you’ll need to make that happen.  Will you be launching a new product at the event? Do you have big news to share during the show? Do you need to print product sheets and order giveaways? 

Start preparing marketing material for the trade show at least four to six weeks before the event. You will want to inform your audience of your presence at the trade show, using email and social media to announce any important news, teasers and opportunities to meet the team.

2. Prepare your team

Expecting a successful trade show to ‘just happen’ is a great way to make sure it doesn’t.  It’s important to get your team behind your vision for the event – brainstorming ideas, taking responsibility for tasks and making sure everyone knows who is dealing with what.  That way, you’ll avoid last minute oversights that will leave everyone panicky and stressed.  Don’t forget to prep your team on housekeeping for the show itself too – who needs to be where, when and wearing what plus an overview of any scheduled seminars or meetings.

3. Schedule booth meetings

Pre-scheduling meetings with prospects, customers and partners is one of the easiest ways to reduce the stress associated with attending a show.  If you know these meetings are locked in, you don’t need to worry so much about attracting ad-hoc visitors to your stand, or not having time to speak with key stakeholders who turn up unannounced. 

 4. Be social

Social media is a powerful way to boost awareness of your attendance at a trade show event and this can go a long way towards allaying those ‘what if nobody turns up’ anxieties.  Starting 4-6 weeks out from the event, plan a campaign of posts to outline where you’ll be, what you’ll be offering, who will be attending and what people can expect to gain from visiting your trade stand.  You should continue posting right throughout the show and afterwards as well, to maximise exposure – don’t forget to include any relevant event hashtags to help your content get seen.

5. Give something away

Giving something away for free is a fantastic way to attract more footfall to your stand and it’s also a good way to break the ice – perfect if face-to-face makes you a little nervous. Branded merchandise or food and drink are classic giveaways but you can be as creative as you like with this – interactive activities such as a game or challenge, or even some massage chairs, can be a real head turner!

6. Debrief

Schedule a debrief call with your team after the trade show. Take notes on what worked well and opportunities for improvement. Did you have a good booth location and enough traffic? Did your messaging resonate with attendees? These notes will be helpful when determining what to change as you begin planning for the next trade show, so that next time you feel more confident.

At Frontline, we can help with all your display needs for trade shows and beyond.  Browse our product range today or get in touch for more information.