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5 Tips to Ace Your Trade Show Marketing

An aerial view of a crowd at a trade show or convention.

Marketing your business at a convention is a great way to generate potential customers for your business. You have the opportunity to grow your customer base, meet them face-to-face and showcase your products. Trade shows are also extremely competitive since you’re vying for customers’ attention with dozens or hundreds of other vendors. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to have a marketing plan before attending the trade show! 

Trade show marketing is a delicate balance between getting the most out of the event and not handing over all your secrets. This guide will walk you through the most important aspects of convention marketing to make sure your business will see a high ROI.

Create Traffic Flow with Smart Booth Designs

Trade shows are the perfect place to get in front of your target audience and make a lasting impression. One way to do this is by having an attractive space with an intentional traffic flow. This lets you guide them through your marketing journey.

For example, having an eye-catching info desk at the front of your display works great for drawing in new clients. Then have the info desk flow into an entrance for your custom trade booth. Perhaps with banners or displays highlighting the challenges that your business is here to resolve. Have that introductory section then flow into a product showcase. You can use display tables with products on the top for users to explore, touch, and interact with (interactions are a great way to ensure clients remember you!). Then have clients move into an area with chairs and tables so they can meet with a representative and ask questions, get more information, or sign up for your services. 

This planned traffic flow helps ensure that you can maximize every second you have with clients. Not only by offering very exciting interactions but also by ensuring they are receiving information about your product in a way that you are in control of. 

Now the question is “What type of booth should I pick”? There are tons of different trade show displays that you can use to create an attractive space. For example, you could use a kiosk display. a backdrop, or modular displays.

An image showcasing the various sizes available for retractable banner stands.

A kiosk display is an enclosed booth with a window on the front where you can put a product and promotional materials on display. You can draw more attention to your kiosk display by utilizing custom rolling banner stands, custom floor mats, and brochures to draw attention.

A backdrop is a large banner that hangs behind your booth so passersby can read what you have to offer even if they don’t enter the booth itself. To provide a personal touch to these displays, you can utilize custom table throws or tablecloths, rolling banners, custom floor mats, credential badges and brochures to draw attention to your space.

Modular displays offer limitless customizations. You can have custom flooring for your display area, desks and chairs for one-on-one chats, TV displays to draw attention to potential clients passing by, and more. 
Various trade show displays from tablecloths to modular displays.

Kiosks are more compact, but backdrops are more eye-catching and allow for more creativity with design elements like graphics, images, and videos. Ultimately, modular displays are the way to go if you want to offer a condensed client experience that gives you complete control over how you portray your business.

Thinking of a kiosk or display for your next trade show? AlphaGraphics of Buckhead can help you out!

An image of a phone showing various social media sites

Build Publicity Beforehand to Help Increase Foot Traffic Before the Show

When you’re at a trade show, getting caught up in the excitement of meeting new people and making new connections is easy. But before you make the rounds, it’s important to prepare for the event by building publicity for your business.

Using your social media accounts, you can start generating interest in the trade show, or seeing which of your followers may be attending. You can include #TradeShowName to make your brand visible to attendees, this can help build trust as they’ve already seen your business before they meet you in person. 

You can begin running digital or print ads in the area surrounding the trade show 1-2 weeks before you arrive. This will allow you to showcase your business to potential customers days in advance of your competitors

Give Away Some Swag/Promotional Items & Provide Content Offerings

You want to make sure you keep your visitors attention even after they leave the convention. Hosting a giveaway or providing branded company swag or a content offering is the perfect way to do so. It allows potential customers to remember your brand anytime they use a notebook you gave them. 

For a giveaway to be successful, it needs to be relevant and appealing to the target audience. This means that you need to ensure that what you are giving away will appeal to your target audience. It also needs to be relevant in the sense that it should tie into the theme of the convention or trade show. 

So for example, giving out pens at a trade show all about the newest technology may not be a great fit. However, branded flash drives or phone cases would better fit the target audience. 

It’s also smart to provide these products as part of a content offer. Asking a potential customer to fill out a quick contact form, or provide their name, phone number and email before receiving a product is perfectly acceptable. This ensures that you are both receiving something, and helps you to market your business effectively after the event. 

Looking for a quick one-stop-shop solution for your trade show display? AlphaGraphics of Buckhead offers a trade show bundle that includes t-shirts, catalogs, buttons, magnets, and more!

Focus on the Person in Front of You

While it may be easier to have a presentation about your business or a QR code to get more information, it could be detrimental to building a relationship with potential customers. When showcasing your business at a trade show, it’s all about building relationships. 

A customer can’t build a relationship with your business through a computer screen. Having the opportunity to chat with you, ask you questions, and learn more about the minor details builds that relationship. It helps them to understand not just your business but you as a person. 

Potential customers want to feel your passion for your business. Share your business’s story with them, the changes you’ve made as you’ve grown, and the successes you’ve seen as well. This lets the customers know that you’re always bettering your business and that you truly strive for the best.

Following Up is One of the Most Important Elements

This is one of the most important tips when it comes to trade show marketing. You need to ensure that your business stays in contact with those who may want to do business with you.

The first step is to send an email within 24 hours of the event. This will help keep your company on visitors' minds and show that you are a professional and attentive business person. Include links to any social media accounts or websites where they can find more information about your company.

Next, send a follow-up email every three days for two weeks following the event. The goal here is not just to sell something but also to give them useful information about what they can expect from doing business with your company. 

Include information like:

  1. What makes your company different?
  2. How does it work?
  3. What benefits does your business offer?

There you have it, 6 dos and don’ts about marketing your business at trade show events. These tips will help you to attract potential customers, win them with your knowledge and experience, and maintain that relationship with them weeks afterward when other vendors have forgotten all about them. 

Remember, marketing isn’t something that can be done once. Commitment and consistency win when it comes to marketing your business. If you don’t have any luck at your first convention, reevaluate your approach and try again at the next convention. You need to bring enticing offers to draw attention, wow potential customers with your industry insight and experience, and have a rock-solid follow-up plan.

AlphaGraphics of Buckhead can help you prepare for any trade show or convention event. From the kiosks, displays, banners, marketing materials, promotional materials, and more. Learn more about our services and how we can help you take your business to the next level.

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