More than 200 million people attend conferences yearly. This makes conferences and trade shows important marketing opportunities for large and small businesses alike.
To make the most out of these conference opportunities, it’s important to know how to stand out from the crowd of other exhibitors. Marketing for a conference can require some creativity to make sure attendees notice you.
There are some fun trade show tips you can use to make this marketing magic happen. If you take the time to follow these ideas before, during, and after a trade show, you can make sure attendees will remember you.
Trade Show Tips for Standing Out
Your trade show or conference marketing plans start with getting the word out that your business will attend a specific event. This involves a good email or direct mail campaign. You want to make sure people know who you are and where to find you once there.
Once you get the word out, you want to make sure you can reach as many people as possible at the event. Creative marketing proves essential to make a lasting impression.
1. Participate in Social Media Campaigns
Many events involve a hashtag or other form of social media campaign to get people interested and ready for the conference. This provides a great opportunity to make your business noticeable once you’re at the event.
You can use the event social media campaign to conduct your own marketing campaign. Make sure you understand the rules involved, but you can provide plenty of material to make sure people know who you are.
If you’ve attended before, add your own pictures or videos from the previous year. You can also tease events your booth will provide or get into discussions with other attendees.
2. Sponsor the Event
Another easy way to gain exposure includes sponsoring the event. Most events will have different sponsoring levels that allow you to get further mention for providing necessary funds or promotional items.
Sponsorship allows you to mention in event programs and other promotional materials. You can also provide items for the gift bags provided at the beginning of the conference. Both options get your name in front of attendees in more places.
Consider your sponsorship opportunities before deciding. Check out the promotional opportunities provided for each sponsorship level to decide which will work best for the money you provide.
3. Consider Geo-Marketing
The best places to contact potential attendees will include the areas surrounding the location of the event. You can use geo-targeting to contact potential attendees in the surrounding area.
You can also use this geo-marketing to target the locations of attendees if the event staff provides this information. Either way, targeting locations can work better than a blanket campaign. There are plenty of tools available to help with this strategy.
4. Provide Fun Promotional Items
Every exhibitor needs to consider promotional items to grab people’s attention. For the best results, you want to provide items that prove fun and/or creative.
These promotional items will get and keep your brand in front of your conference leads. If the items provide some fun for attendees or some value, it will keep you in front of them even longer.
These items can include items as simple as coffee mugs or water bottles. You can also go the game route with spinners or travel games. The options are endless for promotional items available.
5. Provide Free Bags
Event staff usually provide bags at the beginning of the conference, but these won’t always hold the purchases during the trade show. You can stand out by providing good-quality bags to help people with this issue.
You can provide these bags for people purchasing items from you, or as a freebie to anyone that passes your booth. This reaches that need for adding value while providing an item that can get more than one use.
Plus, you have the bonus of other attendees seeing your name throughout the conference. You might even consider providing the official event bags, allowing you to add your brand name in more prominence with the event marketing.
6. Consider the Design of Convention Booths
An appealing and stand out booth design can go a long way to grabbing attention at a conference. There are many trade show booths and ideas you can choose from to attract the desired attention.
Consider banners, podiums, table coverings, and full booth displays depending on your needs. Also, consider colors that promote your brand while standing out in a crowd. Combine a good booth with a good spot, and you’re set up for success.
7. Adopt a Mascot
You’ve seen mascots and sports events, and you know how much attention they can grab. Many exhibitors have adopted this idea to draw crowds to their booths at conferences. These mascots make your booth look more fun, especially if the mascot proves interactive.
Give people the option to take pictures or act goofy with your mascot. Use the mascot to pass out promotional items so they get more attention. Done well, a mascot can attract a crowd which will attract more people.
8. A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way
Maybe it’s not creative, but kindness makes people remember you. Even if people don’t stop at your booth, you still want to show this kindness to provide a good first impression. Possibly, these people will stop by again remembering how you treated them.
This can prove as simple as greeting each person that passes your booth, even if they don’t stop by. Just say hello without pressuring them and you will make a good impression on them and others that see your attitude.
You also want to make sure you show this kindness away from your booth. Remember your manners with every interaction as people will remember you if they pass you at your booth. Plus, you’ll likely have your name on display as you move around the exhibit hall.
9. Include a Game or Contest
The name of the game is getting people to stop by your booth. This can get done simply by providing a game or contest for people to win a giveaway item. This giveaway can involve one of your products, or it can involve a gift card or other fun item.
Make sure the giveaway proves valuable so people are excited to win it. Also, make sure the game or contest proves fun for the participants. This will draw attention to your booth both with crowds and word-of-mouth.
10. Consider Providing Food
Remember, you want people to congregate at your booth. what better way to attract them than with free food? You want to make sure the food option follows the rules of the event, but this proves an easy way to grab people’s attention.
You can make the food as simple as a bowl of candy. You can even provide sandwiches or other simple, easy to carry items. This allows for the bonus of word-of-mouth as people ask where to find the food options.
11. Use Visual Aids
People are attracted by pictures or videos more than words. To grab attention, you need to take advantage of this not-so-secret marketing strategy.
You can do this simply with pictures of people using your products in strategic places. You should also consider creating a video to show at your booth. A video will grab attention as people walk by and make them remember you.
Other Trade Show Setup Ideas
It’s important to remember that a trade show acts as a marketing strategy. This means you need to remember the content, including proof of customer satisfaction. You also want to prove the value of your products or services.
Get creative with your attention-grabbing strategies, but make sure you provide the go-to business cards, flyers, brochures, and other content materials. You want to make sure people know who you are and what you provide, not just how much attention you can garner.
You might also consider providing a presentation at the trade show. This gives you the opportunity to show your expertise in your industry while getting your brand in front of more attendees. Plus, you can use these presentation and speaking opportunities to network with others in your industry.
Do Your Research
Before you get attached to your marketing strategy, make sure you do your research on your competitors. Check out their previous trade show strategies to make sure you can meet and exceed their plans. This will help you figure out how to stand out from the competition.
It’s also important to know who’s attending outside of your competitors. You want to interact with other brands and speakers attending the conference. This will help you make more connections, plus some of these other exhibitors could prove good leads for your company.
Marketing Tips and Tricks from Conferences and Beyond
Keeping up with the best trade show tips will go a long way to making sure you get the most out of your exhibiting opportunities. This isn’t your only marketing opportunity though.
Would you like more marketing and business tips? Check out our business advice page to get the best ideas for your needs.