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The 4 essential tradeshow tips to ensure success

August 9th, 2018

wine and cheese on table
Participating or speaking at a trade show can be intimidating. The goal is to educate hundreds (sometimes thousands) of people by creating and communicating a clear message. How do you intrigue your audience without blending in with the rest of the speakers?

The answer lies in your preparation. Here is what to consider before heading to the tradeshow:

  1. Choose a tradeshow that represents your business industry
  2. Focus your presentation on a unique angle
  3. Decide on a freebie to help attendees to remember you
  4. Plan to host post-network drinks – or attend networking drinks hosted by someone else

You will learn exactly how you can use these tips and tricks to help your business stick in the minds of your audience.

#1 – Choose the right tradeshow and send the appropriate employees

Attending tradeshows costs money and a valuable working day. That’s why it’s vital to choose a tradeshow suited to your industry.

Let’s say you’re presenting at a software tradeshow. You’ve spent hours coming up with an interactive presentation on the latest software developments in your niche

The big day arrives and everyone is walking right past your stall. They’re more intrigued by the team nearby who have created an interactive virtual reality display — suddenly you realise your presentation didn’t quite hit the brief.

Tradeshows are your opportunity to meet a bunch of like-minded people who share similar interests and want to hear about your products. Your business goals should drive the type of trade shows you attend.

Ask yourself the following question:
How can your business benefit from attending the tradeshow?

If the goal is to sell products and generate leads, then consider sending executives, subject matter experts or your business development team to the tradeshow. Your business leaders will be able to network with potential buyers and understand the industry lingo. Your business will also look more reputable since people tend to be more interested in information conveyed by an expert on the unique topic.

Sending the right employees to the most appropriate tradeshows means your maximising your time and money rather than wasting it on tradeshows that won’t achieve your goals.

#2 – Focus your presentation on a unique angle

Being a speaker at a tradeshow builds your reputation as a thought-leader in the industry — it’s also great PR!

Don’t only talk about your brand. Tie in products or services into your presentation but focus on providing a unique view to a crucial issue affecting your industry. Try asking yourself questions such as:

  • Is there a new angle about a key issue that hasn’t been explored yet?
  • How can I best communicate the value of my products and services?
  • Is there something interactive I can do to get the audience involved with my presentation?

Get the crowd interacting with your presentation. Interactive activities create interest and help you be more memorable. Examples of interactive activities include topic-related games on phones or tablets, prize wheels and photobooths. ‘How To Use Trade Show Contests To Drive Traffic To Your Booth’ offers a range of suggestions.

For a more visual example, watch this event marketing and tradeshow attraction video by Pan American Energy who used VR to engage with attendees.

Feeling inspired? Let’s go back to the software example, you could create a scenario and get audience members to come up and test your product to see how it can offer a solution in context and in real-time. “Creating positive word of mouth”

According to Tradeshow Advisor, speaking at Tradeshows comes with several benefits:

  • Strengthens visibility and awareness of your company and product
  • Enhances your image
  • Attracts more visitors to your booth
  • Increases your sales results

To finish off your speech, consider announcing a unique freebie you’ll be giving out to tradeshow attendees such as a PopSocket, smart wallet, wood sunglasses, webcam cover or a USB car charger key strap.

#3 Give attendees a valuable freebie

Give trade show visitors a reason to remember you and most importantly want to get in touch again.

Consider how many booths or speakers will there be at the event.

That’s who you’re competing with. The competition is going to be fierce – other speakers are battling to create the most memorable presentation. How will you stand out?

Many speakers or booths giveaway freebies such as pens, stickers and business cards. Following the herd won’t get you noticed. If you truly want to be memorable then give customers a reason to contact your business after the tradeshow. Here are some ideas to get your mind thinking:

  • A free trial of your product
  • Take photos during the event and upload the photos to your social media pages so attendees can tag themselves (with consent).

There is so much happening at tradeshows that it’s impossible to expect a guest to remember every speaker or booth. That’s why valuable freebies entice a person to connect with your business again in the future.

And that’s it. The tradeshow event is over. Better hope your freebie was enough to get your leads to remembering the name of your business. Or, is there one more thing you can try – the lucrative and delicious post-tradeshow drinks?

#4 Host post-tradeshow drinks

Here’s your opportunity to network and create valuable business relationships. You either want to network, create leads/sales or train staff. What’s the one thing each of these has in common? Everyone has a common interest in the topic (or tradeshow).

Conferences and are a glorious opportunity to become a leader in your market. Industry leaders and supporters get together, bond over common interests and develop new business relationships.

What happens after the trade show?

Some attendees might add each other on LinkedIn and never hear from each other again. Others might subscribe to a company’s email list.

What will you do?

You’re going to host or attend post-event drinks.

Contact the tradeshow or check out the event guide to see if there are post-event networking drinks. If not, look up some nearby bars that you can direct attendees to head on over to after the tradeshow. It’s a fool-proof way to ensure the networking keeps going with minimal hassle and preparation.

After all, proper relationships aren’t developed over email. There’s no better way to foster relationships than with a post-event drink.

Not only will you seem approachable and friendly by hosting the after-party, but you’ll also find it easier to network and stay in touch with your potential leads/new contacts once the event is over and everyone’s gone back to their daily business.

Create a lasting impression

Now you have all the tools you need to present a memorable tradeshow presentation.

Don’t waste valuable time, money or resources on any old tradeshow. Choose one specific to your industry.

Make your mark by speaking at the tradeshow offering a unique angle on a concept or idea and end your presentation by offering a valuable freebie that will entice your customers to contact you after the tradeshow. And finally, bring everyone together with post-network drinks since that’s where the real networking begins.

Host your next tradeshow event at Newcastle’s Hunter294.

Image: Pexels