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How to increase trade show impact

Trade shows are back – now is the time to reassess your approach

Thinking Trade Show Hero

There are three key aspects to consider when planning your next tradeshow event:

1. Stand Design: Keep it Simple

Keep the concept, design and messaging simple. Be bold and pare it back. Everything must earn its place. Our design team explain the power of simplicity and share some best practice examples below.

2. Visitor Experience: Engage People

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. Read on to find guidance from our communications & brand development team.

3. Marketing and Promotion: Work Your Position

Don’t wait for people to randomly find you. Promote your presence. Below, you will find 18 tips to drive impact before, during and after the event.


Tradeshow Stand Design

Create impact by grounding your approach through design fundamentals.

Your trade show stand doesn’t need to convince prospective customers to buy what you’re selling – that’s your sales team’s job. Instead, it needs to be a powerful and irresistible message that gets prospects to step into your stand and ask questions. Keep it simple, stay on brand and use scale, position and colour to direct visitors.


Keep it Simple

Keep the concept, design and messaging simple. Be bold and pare it back. Every image, word and object must earn its place. Trade show visitors are bombarded, provide them with a beacon of clarity, confidence, and professionalism. Less is more. Keep information on your stand and brand materials to a minimum. You want to encourage visitors to engage in conversation and experience your products and solutions. Your stand should create an atmosphere, and act as a backdrop – it’s NOT a brochure.

Thinking Trade Show Keep It Simple

Pared back messaging, imagery and colour palette for a bold effect by Zanussi. Image source: zanussi.com

Your stand should create an atmosphere, and act as a backdrop – it’s NOT a brochure

Think Hierarchy

Use scale, position and colour to direct visitors to key information. Creating a discernible hierarchy will ensure a layout is clear, unambiguous, and easy to digest. An obvious focal point and the considered placement of supporting information allows for in-depth analysis, interpretation and understanding. 


: LSM successfully uses hierarchy to create a clear visual journey from left to right for the visitor.


LSM successfully uses hierarchy to create a clear visual journey from left to right for the visitor.

Smart Colour

Use colour to evoke emotion, express personality and stimulate brand association. Colour provides a powerful impact even when used in a very simple way. A colourful piece will grab attention, especially in a crowded environment. Coding with colour can quickly help the visitor find the information they need. When consistency is maintained colour accelerates differentiation of information more than words alone.

Thinking Trade Show Stand Caterpillar

Caterpillar uses their recognisable yellow brand colour with purpose to draw attention to key information. Image source: hott.co.za/

Loud and Clear

Tailor your tone of voice and speak directly to your audience. A well-defined and appropriately implemented brand tone of voice is important in all communications. Consider your audience and who you are speaking to. Encourage them to interact with you through your tone of voice. You can’t be everything to everyone – speak to your target.   


Thinking Trade Show Lud And Clear

A friendly, clear and inviting tone of voice is employed by Modular Automation, concisely stating what they do and letting their audience know they are ready to answer their questions.

A well-defined and appropriately implemented brand tone of voice is important in all communications

Engage with Imagery

Choose powerful and emotive imagery. Imagery should be high quality, genuine, appropriate, engaging, consistent and add credibility to your message. It’s better to choose one powerful, high-quality image rather than several weaker ones. Consider how this image speaks to your overall objectives and what will evoke a reaction from visitors. 


Thinking Trade Show Engage With Imagery

Catapult’s imagery clearly shows what they do, is consistent in style and quality, and creates an impressive atmosphere. Image source: citycreative.co.uk

Always On-Brand

Every last detail of your stand needs to be on-brand. Stay on-brand with no deviation in colours, fonts, imagery or tone. Your brand’s personality should be evident through your stand’s design, images, messaging, atmosphere, and experience. If you are a strong, robust brand, ensure that’s what people experience. Also consider branded clothing for your team. 


Thinking Trade Show Always On Brand

Vitalograph creates an impactful, consistent, and impressive atmosphere through clearly displaying their brand logo and colours, supported through lighting and complementary visual elements.

Precision Product Placement

Make sure any products are integral to the design. Consider how you might present your product within your stands design. Ensure product placement is an integral element of your stand design, not dropped in later. Discuss product placement, demonstration and interaction ideas with your stand designer. Work appropriate messaging around your product placements. 


Thinking Trade Show Precision Product Placement

ABB’s stand is focused on demonstrating their products, each product is supported with video messaging and displayed in a manner that allows the machine to take centre stage. Image source: nimlok.co.uk

Discuss product placement, demonstration and interaction ideas with your stand designer

Visitor Experience

Engage people by giving your visitors a hands-on, memorable experience.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. If possible, provide some aspects of interactivity. Conveying the value of your offering and making for a more memorable experience

Thinking Trade Show Visitor Experience

Image source: bachdolder.de 

Touch Screens and Video Walls

Create interactive experiences with touch screens and tablets. A video wall can add a lot of energy to your stand. Again, keep the design and messaging pared back. Use exciting visuals and ensure any text is very easy to read. Back lighting can add another dimension to an exhibit and provide that wow factor.  


Hands-on Product Experience

A brochure can only tell potential customers so much about what your company offers. It is better to let them experience your products and services in person, they are much more likely to become customers if they enjoy using your products. Models and machines are eye-catching and will entice attendees to enter and engage with your exhibit. If you have software to demonstrate allow visitors to try it out and be available for any questions they might have. QR codes placed within easy reach can guide visitors to your website or any other specific information you wish to promote. 


Take to the Stage

Use presentations, workshops, and seminars to highlight your brand and expertise. If you can offer fresh insights to your industry, you will contribute significantly to attendee’s experience and will help to increase trade show booth traffic with qualified prospects.


Run a Competition

Create a fun and easy competition for visitors. Ask a question that requires visitors to ask you questions directly or encourage them to visit your website.  


Product Takeaways

Consider giving something away for free and distribute valuable marketing and promotional materials. The perfect free giveaway will not only make your brand stay top-of-mind after the event but will also attract other attendees to your booth. Consider giveaways that are useful, memorable, and relevant to your industry. If you are giving away tangible products, make it convenient for visitors to take away, a branded bag will also serve to promote your presence.

Thinking Trade Show Promote Presence
Promote Presence

Work your position before, during and after the event. Don’t wait for people to randomly visit. Actively promote your presence for weeks beforehand, pre-arrange dozens of meetings if you can. Work your social media channels while you’re there and afterwards. Effective marketing can double the value of your trade show investment.   


Before the Trade Show


Send ‘save the date’ invitations

A save the date invitation that includes some intriguing details on what your audience can expect to experience at your stand. Make sure to include your stand location. 


Promote on your email signature

Including information about the exhibit on your email signature is an easy and inexpensive way to advertise your next trade show appearance. It acts as a ‘by the way’ rather than a hard sell.


Offer appointment cards to existing customers

Use appointment cards to arrange specific meetings with existing customers during the show to nourish relationships. 


Create a trade show specific landing page on your website

Utilise your website by adding a specific landing page to promote your appearance and what you will provide for your visitors. Add banners to your homepage so that your audience can easily locate this information.  


Include in your email newsletter or send a one-off trade show email

Use marketing emails to inform your subscribers of your trade show plans and announcements. Let them know why visiting your stand will benefit them.

Work Mwp Tradeshow
Pick up the phone to high-value clients

Let them know that you will be there in person and have something new to share with them.  


Utilise your social media channels

Plan specific campaigns to highlight your participation at the event. Use hashtags created by event organisers, and/or establish your own. Tag the event on your social channels once the event is underway. Set up a marker for visitors to “check in” at your display via your social media page and consider some type of small prize or incentive for those who do. It will increase your reach online and offline at the same time.


Speak to the organisers about potential promotional opportunities

Let organisers know what you plan to deliver at the event, some organisers offer marketing as part of your stand booking or provide a list of registered attendees or attending companies that you can make contact with in advance. 


Develop and distribute relevant case studies

Impress your audience by creating a case study that directly impacts them and addresses their needs.  


Alert the media with a press release

Write an intriguing press release and distribute it to relevant media, remember to include information that sets you apart from the competition.

Thinking Trade Show Live

During the Trade Show


Live tweet the event

Highlighting interesting stats, mentioning people you have met and commenting on what is happening in general. Ask people to Tweet about your stand or company on Twitter, using a special #hashtag of your choice in every message.  


Have exclusive offers for attendees

Promoting your exclusive trade show deal in all these communications will help encourage attendance. 


Collect customer information through surveys

Be proactive in getting feedback from all who visit your stand by implementing surveys.  


Consider non-attenders

Consider the large section of your audience that is not there in person. Post photos and videos of the event on your Facebook page and YouTube channel. Stream a live video feed from your stand. 


Create valuable content for the future

A tradeshow is an excellent opportunity to take photographs and record video content that can be utilised post event. A well captured demonstration is valuable when it comes to promoting and selling your products and solutions.

Thinking Trade Show Post

After the Trade Show


Update your databases and follow-up

Add prospects to your lead database and prioritise them. Place a phone call to high potential leads and send a follow-up email within a couple of days with an invite to a 15-minute call.  


Connect on LinkedIn

Connect with leads via LinkedIn, reminding them where you met.


Conclusion

It’s as easy as 1,2,3. 


Stand Design: Keep it Simple 

Keep the concept, design and messaging simple. Be bold and pare it back. Every image, word and object must earn its place. Trade show visitors are bombarded, provide them with a beacon of clarity, confidence, and professionalism.   


Visitor Experience: Engage People  

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. If possible, provide some aspect of interactivity. Conveying the value of your offering and making for a more memorable experience.   


Marketing and Promotion: Work Your Position  

Don’t wait for people to randomly visit. Actively promote your presence for weeks beforehand, pre-arrange dozens of meetings if you can. Work your social media channels while you’re there, and afterwards. Effective marketing can double the value of your trade show investment.   

Our brand execution lead Cat Maher can support you in making the most out of your next trade show experience.  





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