This fall, planning for your next trade show is likely in full swing. From developing budgets and strategies to messaging and layout, there’s a lot to do. But how can you maximize your overall trade show experience? Here are three driving factors for a successful trade show exhibit.

Create a Memorable Exhibit

Trade shows provide the ultimate experience to share thought leadership, build relationships, and influence current and potential customers. And at the end of the day, your exhibit is the key to making connections beyond the trade show floor. Develop a memorable experience that leaves attendees with a long-lasting impression and an understanding of your brand values, messaging and product:

  • The presentation of your booth has the most impact. Design the exhibit to be creative and engaging. Ensure messaging is strong and cohesive.
  • Create an immersive environment. Include interactive displays, such as: product demonstration areas; high-impact graphics and videos; simulators; virtual reality; and projection mapping.
  • Employee training is a must. Conduct training prior to the event to ensure employees are knowledgeable of: new products or services on display; booth messaging and activities; roles and responsibilities; and how to properly greet and assist attendees.
  • Give something away. Set up a game for attendees to play and win clever promotional items that tie into the in-booth experience.
  • Capture leads of qualified prospects and follow up with a post-show nurturing campaign.

multiple picture of tradeshow booths

Build a Social Media Strategy

Social media is an essential part of your trade show marketing plan. Expand your presence beyond the trade show walls and develop a strong social strategy that builds buzz and further drives traffic to your booth:

  • Follow the trade show’s official social media accounts.
  • Use event hashtags and join in the conversation surrounding the show.
  • Promote your booth before, during and after the event.
  • Post teasers and give attendees a reason to want to stop by your exhibit.
  • Will there be giveaways or contests held at your booth? Tie them into your social strategy.
  • Share updates live from the show floor.
  • Post photos and videos – feature the booth action, product demonstrations, customer testimonials, contest winners, attendee interaction, and more. Don’t forget to have fun!

Leverage Media Relations

Finally, if you are exhibiting at a trade show and have a new product or service, you have a story to tell! How can you maximize media relations to gain coverage and deliver your news to the industry? Implement an aggressive PR plan that includes the following tactics:

  • Organize a press conference to convey your latest company news and unveil new products.
  • Schedule one-on-one interviews with key editors in advance.
  • Distribute news releases before and after the event and participate in editorial opportunities surrounding the show.
  • Prepare and deliver media kits while at the show. Include material such as relevant news releases, product information, photos and videos.
  • Build long-term relationships. Send personal messages to thank the media afterwards. Offer follow-up interviews and ensure contacts are added to your media list for future PR.

Don’t have a new product or service? That’s okay. Trade shows are prime relationship-building opportunities. Take this time to grab coffee or lunch with your media contacts, during which you can fill them in on what your client is working on and also get the scoop on the stories they’re working on. The journalist might be interested in what your client is doing and decide to write a story. Conversely, your client might be able to provide some insight for an upcoming story.

If your company is planning its next trade show and needs some help, contact us.

Erica Lopresti

Author Erica Lopresti

Erica is an Account Executive at InQuest Marketing. She leads key marketing discussions with clients and works closely with internal teams to ensure projects are completed on time, on budget, and to client standards. Her favorite agency memory came when her client was recognized as a Top 10 exhibitor out of 2,800 at a major industry tradeshow. Erica's hobbies include drawing (her go-to mediums are charcoal or pencil) and traveling (Thailand is next on her list).

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