It’s that pivotal moment when the world becomes a stage, and you are in a lead role. As hundreds of visitors pass by, it’s your chance to whisk them aside and show them just how incredible your product or service is. Yes, that’s right – the trade show is one of the most important “investments” your business can make, and with a few simple tricks, you can turn it into a long-term profit-maker that will benefit your company for years to come.
Choose Your Audience, Name Your Star
There are a few key things to take into consideration when brainstorming your exhibition design, and the first and foremost is people. Choose a tradeshow where your presence will be valued, your network with industry creatives and contacts expanded, and your relationship with clientele improved. Not only will you want to entice new customers, but you will also want to be able to bring something new and exciting as well – so pick your star performers wisely. Not only do they need to be experts in their field, but they need to have charisma, a friendly face, and the ability to explain their topic in an engaging and accessible way. For highly public events that feature prominent figures, sending executives and an assistant team will help forge a symbolic representation of your team.
Plan, Promote, Practice, Perform
Planning in advance is your immediate key to victory. When you understand your audience and take advantage of all the perks that the tradeshow has to offer such as speaking roles, branding, and other aspects, you can customise your approach and hit your target audience with precision and personality. With each tradeshow being distinct from the next, refocusing, reinventing and refreshing while maintaining the general ethos is essential.
Establish a Social Setting Ahead of Schedule
When it comes down to it, exhibition stands are really about rubbing elbows with leaders, eyeing up competitors and enticing new clients. So here is where a little social politicking comes into play – organise meetings, receptions, and gatherings where you can run a little spiel about your company but primarily focus on building relationships in a relaxed, laid-back setting.
Talk the Talk
Alongside the social aspect, making a statement and standing out is the biggest asset to your tradeshow performance. Having a member of the team speak is an indication not only of your involvement with the planning committee and PR people, but that you are a visionary leader in your field, and care about sharing something of value with the audience.
Show the Goods, and Give Them Away
Every company has their gimmick – the catchy magnet, or the sleek pen. But the best impressions which make a company memorable, as well as reflecting its values, is to hand out good quality merchandise which has an actual use (such as a sleek USB drive) or a unique feature (a thermal mug) which brings your name to the fore.
Make It About People, Not Sales
At the end of the day, you want to walk away from your experience not only having gained information but relationships as well, both personal and professional. Selling your product comes naturally once you have sold yourself, and you can do this by taking the time to get to know people and showing an interest in what they do.
Use Your Timeline Productively
As with all marketing, your presence at the tradeshow is only a part of the whole picture. Using social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even YouTube is a great way to get the word out. Videos, pictures, press and live tweeting during the event will keep your community involved while a follow-up will celebrate the success of the show and offer recognition to those who attended.
While all of these pointers may seem like common sense, working through them will actually reveal just how much dedication is required when it comes to that anticipated conference, seminar, or exhibition that will help to boost your company to the next level of success. But when you’ve sown the seeds with fervour, the benefits you reap will be well worth it.
Reno Macri is a Founder and Director of Enigma Visual Solutions, a leading exhibition design company in the UK, specialising in exhibition stand design, retail designs, graphic productions, signage systems, event design, conference set design and much more. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions. He would love to share his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. You can follow him on Twitter.