Five Items You Can’t Afford to Forget at Your Next Trade Show Appearance

Courtney Myers's picture
Courtney Myers
Courtney Myers wrote:

As the biting cold turns just a bit warmer and spring begins to show across the next few months, many companies are making plans to attend and even host a variety of trade show events. At their core, these types of networking opportunities present myriad chances for you to showcase your brand name, build your community, and meet industry peers and partners who can become integral to your success.

Yet, without the proper planning, they can just as easily become time-wasters, wherein you send your top staff away for the week, only to have them come back with luggage loaded down with swag bags and no real connections to show for it.

Thus, today let’s discuss five items that you can bring to your next trade show event to make sure that everyone gets the most out of the experience. The good news? These aren’t bulky or cumbersome items, but they pack a major punch when it comes to helping you stand out and encouraging people to stop by your booth to learn more.

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

1. Dynamic signage. You can’t expect someone to give your booth a second glance if you’ve simply scribbled your company name on a big piece of posterboard. While no one is hopefully going to that extreme, there are plenty of examples of signage gone wrong out there. When you’re planning your next event, it’s worth the extra time and money to work with a local designer to get your banners and posters as beautiful as possible. Spring for the bold colors and the top-quality material. This isn’t a place you want to scrimp because the difference between a prospect and a paying customer might just be a bland sign that simply didn’t catch their attention.

2. Digital media. It’s not enough anymore to expect someone to come up to your booth and engage in a conversation with one of your employees. First, your staff could be busy or tied up with other interested customers. Second, there’s a good chance that no matter how long those employees train, they’ll miss a key component of your offerings when they’re sharing them with a crowd. We get nervous, we get sidetracked, and sometimes we simply forget. Arm your booth with interesting and interactive media such as slideshows presentations, brief video clips, and filmed demonstrations to keep passersby engaged. Better yet? Upload them to tablets and let visitors in on the action by allowing them to swipe through slides and more.

3. Promotional items. This is where most companies go overboard, shelling out tons of cash and cutting into their bottom line by creating t-shirts, cozies, pins, tote bags, notepads, and more to pass out to visitors who stop by the booth. On one hand, promotional gifts are still as viable and valuable as ever before, chiefly because they get your brand name and logo directly into the hands of your audience. Yet, it’s important to be strategic here and only create items that will actually be used. One pro tip? Pens still work, mainly because they’re incredibly useful and they’re more likely to end up on the desk of a potential customer than say, a plastic cup branded with your logo. Focus on gifts that are practical, and it’s more likely that your investment will actually be put to good use, rather than end up in the airport trash can as everyone heads home.

4. Business cards. Imagine this scenario: You meet a prospect at the trade show who could be an incredible resource to you back home. You make plans to contact each other in the coming weeks and you’re excited about the potential that this person brings to your company. Then, he or she walks away and is gone amid the busy crowd, and you look down to realize you never exchanged contact information. Especially in a hectic environment like a trade show, it’s critical to keep business cards close by to distribute to anyone and everyone who appears interested. Though design innovation has skyrocketed recently and business cards are now available in a range of unconventional sizes, formats, and materials, resist the urge to go totally crazy here. While a wooden business card might look awesome, it’s not going to fit into anyone’s wallet, and that’s where you want your card to live. So stick to the basic 3.5 by 2 size and keep it thin.

5. Batteries, power cords, and other tech accessories. Nothing says unprepared like a company with a big projector set up at its booth, ready to display a fantastic PowerPoint, that conks out in the early hours of the morning. Make sure you’re as prepared as possible by packing all necessary batteries, extension cords, chargers and more so you’re not at the mercy of technology. This is especially important if you’re operating an especially tech-savvy booth that hinges on myriad systems working successfully. Even if everything works fine and you don’t end up needing all your backup gear, another executive nearby might need to borrow it, and you could make a new friend and potential partner in the process.

So there you have it! Before you hit the road or hop on the plane to attend your next trade show event, make sure these five supplies are in your arsenal. When you come home excited about the new connections you made and the growth your brand achieved, you’ll be glad you did.

Vote up!
Vote down!
0 votes