Recently we’ve seen an increase in interest among our clients wanting to know how to attend, exhibit and speak at trade shows. For those not familiar with the way trade shows work, it can be a very complex process, especially if it’s your first time tackling an event like this.
My first attempt at planning and organizing a trade show was back in 2011 where I took the initiative to assist one of our clients at a show. Since then, I’ve been actively helping other clients attend, exhibit and speak at trade shows and conferences around the U.S. Through my experiences so far, I’ve learned both the best and worst practices on how to organize client participation at trade shows.
With trade shows and conferences becoming increasingly popular, I thought it would be useful to provide a list of my top five tips on getting the most out of trade shows based on both my experiences and from Brian Mahar who wrote a recent article in Renewable Energy World.com titled, “10 Tips for Maximizing Trade Show ROI.”
1. Research the Trade Show or Conference – I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this. Take the time to go over deadlines, attendees and speakers, as well as jotting down other important show information. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard and then have your boss find out that you didn’t know what was going on.
2. Speak, Sponsor, Demonstrate – Great, you’re attending and or exhibiting, but now what? Don’t let a valuable speaking, sponsoring or demonstration opportunity slip through the cracks. Keep in mind that the deadlines for these are most likely a couple months or more before the show – so don’t wait! It’s important to make your trade show experience memorable to not only your company, but also your prospective customers.
3. Have Your Press Plan Ready to Go – Trade shows and conferences are perfect places to snag the attention of a much-desired editor or reporter. Do not wait until the last minute to put together meetings with the media. Everyone is short on time and making appointments with certain editors and reporters can’t wait. That’s why it’s important that you grab their attention in advance.
4. Have Fun and Network – Trade shows attract all types of visitors, not only potential customers and executives. This is the time to take advantage of meeting people face-to-face and establishing long-lasting relationships.
5. Be Social Media Savvy – Staying active on social media during a trade show is key. Think about whom you can try and connect with before, during and after the show through LinkedIn or Facebook. Be a part of the official show’s hashtag conversation on Twitter. Brian Mahar even talks about a memorable experience at a trade show walking past an exhibitor’s booth that was handing out t-shirts having to do with their Twitter promotion they ran. Be creative!
What trade show and conference tips do you have? Feel free to share, we’d love to hear your thoughts.