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Tradeshows are an important part of doing business, and it can help you generate more interest and rally your customer base. However, when you attend a tradeshow, you need to be sure you stand out among the hundreds or thousands of other booths and exhibits. This is your chance to pick up new leads, generate some buzz, even find new talent and partnerships. Keep these tips in mind to make the most of it.

 

Plan ahead.

Before you start to plan your booth or your activities, be sure to do your research. Find out where your booth will be located as well as what comes with the space and what you’ll need to provide yourself. Make sure you plan for the labor to get it set up and the right people to engage anyone who passes by. Get to know the event — don’t just sign up because it’s focused on the right keyword, find out what the culture and demographics of the event are and pick the appropriate representatives and talking points. Then plan to build out the rest of your space out to funnel passers-by in so your team can turn them into warm leads or signups, whatever your goal might be. The more you know, the easier it is.

 

Promote your attendance.

Don’t simply rely on the event’s promotions, spread the word yourself. Thanks to email and social media, it’s easy for you to let people know that you’re attending a tradeshow and where you’ll be. Besides letting people know where you will be, tease them about what they can find at your booth. Consider a raffle or promotional swag to generate a little extra foot traffic.

 

Think of innovative swag.

You won’t be the only booth with swag, so you’ve got to stand out here as well. For instance, most people will pass out koozies, flashlights, candy, and stress balls. While these are fine, you will find them all over the tradeshow. Don’t follow the herd, think outside the box. People at trade shows are going to be on their feet a lot — you could go so far as to get fuzzy, but branded, slippers. Ultra-practical swag like quick chargers for phones or other devices might not generate the same kind of curiousity, but they’re also more likely to be held on to and appreciated.

 

Flair up your space.

If you just have a stack full of brochures and a table, people are going to walk right past your booth. Instead, be sure that you draw attention to your booth. This can be done using flags, signage, TV monitors playing videos, carpet, lights, and an array of other materials that will capture attention. When you do this, you will make your booth more attractive, and people who attend the event will want to know what your booth has to offer. You’ve only got so much space, but you want to make sure that you own it, and make sure that your flags and signs are arranged to funnel interest towards your reps.

 

Be prepared to talk.

People are going to have questions about your company, so be prepared to provide them with all the info they need. For instance, do you want to have brochures, an app, or some other element that will give them info? If you do, you’ll need them to be thought out and prepared in advance. If not, you’ll be relying even more heavily on the team that will be manning the booth. Regardless, you’ll want your best people on deck for the event — folks who can speak passionately and from experience. While less experienced team members might find they have something to learn, they should be doing it in support of your more seasoned players.

 

Follow up.

You are going to come in contact with plenty of people at the tradeshow and give out plenty of stuff. You should also keep plenty of notes and plan to follow up with them. This is your last opportunity to stand out. Let the people you met know that you were paying attention to them, and you’ll be giving them one more reason to pay attention to you.

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