How to Stand Out at Your Next Trade Expo
You must have had your fair share of standing around in trade expos this year.
Expos are a great way for brands to connect with existing clients directly. It adds the human element to the brand when people are able to meet in-person the faces behind the brand.
More than half of respondents from our 2015 Content Marketing Survey believe that events are the most effective form of marketing in Asia.
However, these events can be challenging, given the sea of competitors vying for your prospect’s attention.
Follow these tips to draw trade visitors to your booth at your next expo.
Say You’ll Be There
Preparations for the expo should begin weeks before the actual event. Announce your expo participation to clients and prospects in advance via email and social media in a fresh and attention-grabbing way. This puts you on their radar ahead of the event.
A great example of this is by Joel Klettke of Business Casual Copywriting. In the days leading up to Mozcon 2014, he introduced “Mozcontest”, where attendees could stand a chance to win US$100. All they had to do was share a photo with his brand’s sticker. As a result, 31 attendees at Mozcon tweeted, grammed, and shared the sticker with the #mozcon and #kickasscopy. He achieved what most brands fail, to be noticed—before even stepping foot in Mozcon.
Planning for your booth, your physical presence, at the expo must be carefully considered. Expos typically take up more than a third of a marketer’s budget. What sets you apart from the big-spenders and the industry titans?
Think about what would attract prospects to your booth, and what will make them stay on to learn more instead of passing by.
People should be able to gauge your brand from your setting, and it must tastefully stand out from the crowd. Think of ways to merge your products and your display.
A brilliant example of this is when Confluence Coffee, a craft nitro cold brew coffee brand, used empty glass bottles to create a sign for their booth.
Booth location is also important, because you want to ensure high visibility and footfall so expo goers can easily find you. Be near where the food/coffee is or wherever there will be high foot traffic.
Find an engaging and interactive presentation to promote your brand, as it will encourage people to learn more. PowerPoints and videos are always effective, but be open to try other mediums too.
Charity:Water, a NPO that provides clean and safe drinking water for developing nations, invited people to carry two 18kg jugs across 45 meters. It was a clever way to deliver their message and tap into people’s empathy towards their cause, while also creating a lasting impression.
Freebies are as important as content when generating initial interest. People will go through lengths in order to get some interesting goodies. Ditch the boring pins and pens, and invest in swag even you would want to keep. Good swag keeps brands memorable, long after the expo has ended.
Aim to gel with prospective clients, not sell to them. Tone down the aggressive sales pitches because people don’t like to feel harassed when they approach your booth. Engage in meaningful conversation, build a genuine relationship, and slowly ease into introducing your product.
After the expo, follow up a few days later with an email based on the conversation you started then. With a little extra effort and personal touch, it shows a genuine interest about your prospect, and that you are keen to collaborate further.
Be Ready (for next time)
Think ahead when it comes to preparing for your next trade expo. Take advantage of the opportunities around you. Exchange leads and contact information with brands that sell different products and services but shares the same target audience as you. Take note of the displays that were well-received at the event, and use those as inspiration for future expos.
Remember Joel Klettke? At Mozcon 2014, he partnered with Unbounce, a tech company with a significantly larger presence than him. Unbounce was also holding an interactive contest with the attendees. The two brands co-promoted, and as a result, grew their brand awareness.
You don’t have to be the richest, or the biggest company to stand out. Ultimately, it all boils down to whether your booth is worth the visitor’s valuable time. Diverge from the dull, beat-down path—think different. With a little preparation and dedication to detail, your booth is bound to be a success.
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