Tools of the Trade Show: 5 Ways to Network Like A Boss

After the pandemic prompted a year-long hiatus from live events, trade shows are now gearing up to be back in session. This is the perfect time for businesses to shake off the dust and revamp their trade show strategies ahead of upcoming exhibitions. Many states have given convention centers the go-ahead to reopen, so do not delay preparations for your own  B2B marketing initiatives. A successful trade show experience is contingent upon drawing a crowd and generating new business leads. Simple techniques are readily available that you can implement to maximize your trade show outreach and network like a boss.

Generate Pre-Show Buzz

Trade shows are the perfect places to generate new business leads, network with existing customers, and boost your company’s sales potential. The key to a successful trade show experience is getting the right customers to engage with your booth. Showing off your spectacular set up is the best way to create pre-show buzz for your brand. 

Get Proactive, Get Social

Many businesses take to social media to showcase their trade show exhibits and drum up excitement ahead of the big event. In fact, 61% of businesses use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote their attendance at upcoming trade shows. Create social media content that highlights cool giveaways and build suspense with clips of product demonstrations. 

These pre-show promotions will compel guests to visit your booth when the big day arrives. Showcase your booth number and surrounding landmarks to help your attendees orient themselves and easily locate your company on the show floor. 

This strategy is a great way to attract new business leads to your booth before customers get distracted by other vendors in the exhibit hall. Invest in marketing materials that position your brand as the first choice for trade show attendees and draw their attention directly to your brand. Customers love visually appealing content, so get creative with your set up. Well-designed banners, signs, step and repeats, and giveaways will make your brand rise above other vendors on the show floor. 

Boost Brand Awareness

You have to be very intentional about your branding to grow your business. It takes 5 to 7 interactions to make a lasting impression on customers and only 90 seconds for them to make an initial judgement about your company. Trade shows are a great opportunity to create those much needed touchpoints and amplify your brand. Actually, 88% of companies host trade show exhibits for this very reason.

Effective branding relies on consistent presentation. Therefore, your logo, font, color, and copy decisions need to appear unified across your website, social media channels, and marketing materials. Over 50% of all trade show attendees are attending an event for the first time, so the majority of booth visitors will engage with your brand for the first time at the show. It is important to make your company easily recognizable across all marketing platforms if you want to cut down on confusion, generate new business leads, and engage your existing customers. 

Set the Stage for Increased Sales

Trade shows create a unique B2B marketing opportunity where in-person networking can foster lasting customer relationships and generate positive sales results. Over 90% of trade show attendees are searching for new products, so priming your booth for an optimum sales environment could yield big returns. 

Trade shows are the second largest source of B2B revenue in the United States, so you need to invest in marketing materials to maximize these opportunities. High quality, well-designed signage, business cards, brochures and staff will support your on-site and post-show sales goals. Use signs and banners to advertise the products or services you are selling. Print brochures with QR codes so customers have the opportunity to look up online inventory and order in real time. These convenient options make it easy for attendees to share information with their companies’ decision makers, research your brand, and purchase products or services. 

Stand Out With Swag 

Giveaways are a great way to attract customers to your booth. Over half of trade show attendees are more likely to enter an exhibit if a giveaway is offered. Items like branded mugs, pens, notebooks, or t-shirts are cost-effective marketing investments thanks to their ability to attract new business leads. 

Find fun ways to authentically brand your giveaways or your business cards. The items function as walking billboards for your company at these events, so make sure they stand out from the competition. If you’re having trouble thinking of ways to make your marketing materials stand out, hire a designer to develop something truly unique. 

A Virtual Vision

Life is slowly returning to normal but virtual elements will likely remain a key component for live events moving forward. Offering a virtual touchpoint for trade shows allows you to connect with a broader range of customers. Take advantage of these tech-based opportunities by hosting webinars, virtual product demonstrations, and learning opportunities for in-person and online attendees. 

Promote your virtual options ahead of the trade show and during the event. Online options allow you to expand your network beyond in-person event guests and connect with other decision makers within their organizations. Event promotion and design execution will dictate the success of your virtual vision. If your event space is visually appealing, customers will be more willing to tune in and watch. 

After the Show

Nearly 40% of trade show attendees visit a company’s website after stopping by their event booth. Make it easy for customers to connect with your brand after the event is over. Any changes made to your brand identity need to be reflected in your banners, backdrops, and your digital channels ahead of the trade show. All marketing materials need to feature the same aesthetic. Make sure any new product offerings or inventory changes are properly reflected in your brochures and flyers too. A streamlined image with up to date information is the best strategy to get attendees’ attention and generate interactions that convert.

 

References

Trade Shows Will Regain Importance After The Covid-19 Pandemic

Forbes

https://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2021/03/01/trade-shows-will-regain-importance-after-the-covid-pandemic/?sh=3e4e1a9b792e

15 Event Planning Industry Statistics and Trends

Brandon Gaille

https://brandongaille.com/14-event-planning-industry-statistics-and-trends/

50+ Eye-Opening Branding Statistics – 2021 Edition

Small Biz Genius

https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/branding-statistics/#gref

20 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows and Expos

Spin Go

https://www.spingo.com/blog/post/20-powerful-stats-on-the-value-of-trade-shows-and-expos

RESEARCH: CITI CMO OFFERS FOUR INSIGHTS ON THE LINK BETWEEN EVENTS AND BRAND LOYALTY

Event Marketer

https://www.eventmarketer.com/article/research-citi-cmo-insights-link-events-brand-loyalty/

22 Important Trade Show Statistics

Jobs In Marketing

https://jobsinmarketing.io/blog/trade-show-statistics/

U.S. and global trade show marketing – Statistics & Facts

Statista

https://www.statista.com/topics/1498/trade-show-marketing

How Much Brand-Building Power Does Promotional Swag Carry?

Princeton Marketing

http://princetonmarketing.net/princetonmarketingblog/marketing/how-much-brand%E2%80%93building-power-does-promotional-swag-carry

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