how to plan for a trade show blog

How to plan a trade show or conference

Trade show conferences are a great way to build contacts and to generate buzz about your company. But too many businesses are not able to stand out at trade shows. They tend to just get the biggest trade show booth they can, slap their brand name on pens or coffee mugs, and wait for prospects to stop by. This can cost a significant amount of marketing materials and for minimal returns. To get the maximum amount of returns for the least amount of money, you need to know how to plan for a trade show. Here are some ways you can use trade shows more effectively.
1) Go for the speaking event, not the booth
Instead of allocating resources to get the biggest booth, use those resources to great high quality content, a book, or something else that will get you the ability to speak at trade show conferences. You will immediately stand out from everyone else who has a booth and you will generate more buzz because more people will come to you.2) Focus on your follow-up process
It is important to know how to plan for a trade show, and that includes after the event. Unless you follow up with your prospects, they will forget about you when the trade show ends. Giving a personalized gift with a handwritten note is a great way to tell them that you appreciate them talking to you and you look forward to working with them in the future.

3) Off-the-Wall Giveaways
Do not be the ninth booth in a row that gives away pens or mugs. Instead do something cool! Do laptop skins, backpacks, bumper stickers, or sunglasses. The options are endless and if your giveaway is different than everyone else’s, more people will pick them up. Baked goods, coffee, and tea are also a great idea to get people to stop, if these are allowed at the trade show. If not, you could give out small packages of ground coffee, or tea bags for specialty tea. These are different enough to be able to attract attention and they are a lot cheaper than buying a bigger trade show booth.

4) Pull Off Crazy Stunts
Do not just stick to the same presentations that everyone else is doing. Get attention by being different. Find something relevant to your business that people will not expect. For instance, if you are a plastic recycling company, partner with a local zoo to bring a couple of small sea turtles to help explain why recycling is so important.

5) Set Up a Game
Set up a game or something else people can interact in. You could do handwriting analysis or set up a roulette wheel. You could even do darts or something else. You would be surprised what you can tie into your brand. People will stick around longer if they are having fun, which will generate a crowd, which generates an even bigger crowd. They will also remember your booth more the longer they stick around.

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