trade show

How to keep the momentum going during a trade show

By Robert Lyons

Our previous article in this series on how to ensure a successful trade show experience discusses tips on how to create pre-show buzz. If you’ve read the article, you may remember that we shed light on the importance of keeping attendees’ needs top-of-mind and provide three very important questions for you to ask yourself. If you missed the article, you can read it here.

Today we’d like to keep the conversation going with tips on ways for keeping the momentum going during the show for post-show success. What does “post-show success” mean?

Whether your trade show objectives are to generate leads, create brand awareness, connect with industry colleagues and clients, or a combination of all of these, the desired end result is the same for everyone: to increase sales. After all, we’re all in business to make money and while the saying “you need to spend money to make money” has some clout behind it, the following four tips will help to ensure the best return on your trade show investment.

Tip #1: People connect with people

Your booth is your piece of trade show real estate – your “home” at the show – and nothing says, “Welcome! Come on in!” like a friendly smile. Sure your sales force and show reps should know everything there is to know about your company and products. But their main job during the event is to use their charm and dazzling personalities to entice attendees to step into your booth space for a conversation that will help them remember your brand and company.

Here’s a quick story to demonstrate what we mean …

Several years ago we were at a tradeshow and while walking around the floor we came across a company that had hired an entertainer as bait to encourage attendees to visit their booth. This entertainer was great. He was funny. He was engaging. He even inspired a few “ooohs” and “aaahs” from his audience. But thinking back on it now, we don’t remember whose booth it was. All we remember is the entertainer. Yet every other booth that we visited where we got to speak with company reps are the brands that we connected with and remember.

Takeaway: Make sure that your reps are connecting directly with show attendees and visitors to your booth.

Tip #2: Energy is contagious

In the same spirit as our previous tip, your sales force and show reps really have an important job to do while at the show. In fact, we like to think of show reps as superheroes.

Think about it. Trade shows are exhausting. There are a lot of people. There’s a lot of action. And even before the event dates, there’s a lot of planning and preparation.

At the same time, there’s a lot of action and energy that goes into the attendee side of a trade show. To leverage this energy, our super hero reps need to gain traction from that energy and drive the traffic towards the booth since so many other booths are vying for their attention as well.

Which would you rather visit: a booth where reps are standing around looking bored and tired or a booth hosted by smiling, energetic superheroes?

Not that we’re psychic, but we’re pretty sure your answer is the booth with traction. Precisely the reason why we call trade show reps “superheroes.”

Takeaway: A booth hosted by motivated reps will inspire visitors and make your company more memorable.

Tip #3: Clear, powerful messaging

Trade shows are like social media on steroids. Everybody is trying to get everybody’s attention but in real time. Your ears hear the screams for attention. Your eyes see the neon colours and signage. Your brain computes it all and nothing at the same time.

Unfortunately, unless if your messaging is clear and resonates with attendees’ needs and objectives, it blends right in with everyone else’s messaging.

So how do we make sure that your brand stands out? We call this “the 3 Cs of being”:

  1. Be Clear
  2. Be Concise
  3. Be Captivating

This includes everything from your booth reps’ language, to your printed material, to your signage.

Remember our story earlier about the company that had hired an entertainer for their booth? Well, the reason we couldn’t remember what company it was is because the entertainer had nothing to do with the brand or its products. The entertainer was just a “gimmick.”

Takeaway: Be clear. Be concise. Be captivating. And a fourth C: Be Congruent. Everything you say and do needs to point towards the same messaging. In other words, don’t confuse your visitors. (That fifth C-word – confuse – is a coincidence… or is it?)

Tip #4: Leverage the force that drives

In our previous article for this series we hinted at the significance of taking photos with attendees and promoting them on social media with @name. This is a great tool for leveraging the power of social media. Regardless of how busy and – dare we say, chaotic – trade shows can be, people are still connected, walking around with their smart phones, checking their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn streams.

Add to that the fact that people love to see themselves tagged in a post and you’ve got a recipe for success when it comes to liking and sharing, which should already be a part of your event marketing strategy.

Momentum is the name of the game, and social media has made it easier than ever before to trend an event through the strategic use of hash tags.

Takeaway: No matter what’s going on, we know that individuals are still connected. Use social media to your advantage.

Not only are these tips common sense, they are also easy to implement. Plus, they’re helping to maintain momentum that you can later leverage in your post-show campaign.

In our next article in this series, we will share post-show marketing tips. Stay tuned!

About the author:

As a client-recognized industry leader, veteran and Media Mixologist, Robert Lyons has spent the last 25 years creatively and strategically planning and executing his customer’s marketing endeavors.  From trade shows to rebranding companies, he continues to devote his time and skill set to go above and beyond both client and team expectations.

Some of Robert’s most lengthy professional relationships are with clients from the restaurant industry, most specifically, trade shows.  With a vested interest and extensive experience in the trade show industry, he not only seeks to improve his client’s experience at the show, but enhance the overall experience that exhibiting at a trade show can have for a company and the trade show itself.

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