11 Impactful Ways to Stand Out at Trade Shows


What is the best way to stand out at Trade shows?

Trade shows are an excellent way for your business to gain exposure and meet prospective clients. But with the expansive convention centers bustling with big, bright, and loud (literally) competitors, it’s easy for a smaller player to get overlooked.

It’s best to think strategically about how you’re going ensure your business is the one being talked about. While making sure you’re gaining maximum ROI from your time and money spent on booth space and making an appearance, it’s also important to start working on your trade show promo strategy, up to a year in advance.

1. Start engaging with attendees before you get there.

In the weeks leading up to the event, think of ways you can engage with your potential audience and get a good buzz going. A brilliant idea is to involve conference attendees to vote on swag you should be handing out – custom business chocolate, logos, pencils, T-shirts, etc. Using the event’s hashtag, put together engaging, image-rich social posts that break through the noise.

2. Make sure you’re prepared.

Start with lots of research. Check out the anchor sponsors and learn from what promotional products they’re regularly bringing to the trade show. Do they have a card scanner or box to gain customer business cards? Running contests? Customizing Candy? Where are the “super booths” located and are you going to benefit from the traffic or buzz they create? It all matters, so don’t wait! Ask yourself what the best location is at a trades how, what are the best conference and trade show tricks to generate leads for your industry?

3. Give away something unusual.ready-gift-chocolate-SHX300305X-safety-hard-hat-milk-chocolate-shape-zoom-rollover

Corporate pens and mugs are so uninspiring and can irritate passersby, rather than entice them! Instead of being bland, give away something quirkier which still has your company’s brand on it.
Among popular and unique trade show giveaways you’ll find:

The options are endless, and the chances of standing out are huge! So ask yourself, what’s the best trade show swag to give away? Look to using personalized unique promotional trade show items this year!

4. Look the part.

Don’t turn up to a trade show with a sad looking, scuffed, ripped or dirty display that has seen better days. You are only perceived as good as your branding! If you want to look bigger  (and more invest-able!) then consider this part of your marketing budget well spent. There’s no shame in re-using previous material, but ensure everything is packed away with exceptional care, then checked and repaired well in advance of your next show so that it looks the best for your next public use!

5. Boast with some name dropping.

Get curiosity and buzz going for your brand by highlighting testimonials and “shout outs” from well known brands. Accentuate these features in all your materials, with huge well known Logos in front of trade show attendees. These can be “as-seen-on” or users of your brand. They all impress!

6. Create a video about your brand.

Pictures say a thousand words. It’s true, you’ll spend hours talking to company executives about what your product or gizmo can do better than others, but why not throw in a visual asset? A stylish video about your company or one of your new products will impress your peers and will be sure to make a splash at your industry trade show. You can also use it as campaign material before and after when you do your follow ups. Here is ours!

7. Be the life of the party.

Let’s face it, most industry events and trade shows are boring and it’s difficult to network. If you want to be the brand everyone is talking about, then make your presence felt and have fun. Your competition is probably focusing on being serious, so make some engaging noise. Throw an after-party, become friends with everyone, have an interactive booth, and enjoy the few compact days immersed in your business. Nothing beats brightening up the day!

8. Create the longest line.

Sometimes the longest line is for a trade show giveaway item! Something unique or so tasty, like a chocolate logo, that people have spread the word to colleagues and passers-by. Noise creates noise, so choose wisely and make sure it has your logo front and center so once it has left your stand, people can still know where to come to get one themselves.

9. Give away bigger swag bags than your competition.

Each booth usually has a swag bag. Each swag bag inevitably ends up stacked inside another as your daily swag collection grows, so why not just have the largest swag bag than everyone at the convention? Put time and effort into making it reusable, recyclable and chic, so the bag lives on well beyond the trade show instead of in the trash like the others.

10. Do a fun trade show giveaway contest.ready-gift-chocolate-SHX302014X-conversation-hearts-rollover-2

If you’re not doing a form of giveaway, you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to build your email list. The trick with giveaways is to keep it on brand and classy, and not just give away more free stuff than all your competitors. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars, nor give away a large stock of your product to have a successful giveaway. Simply make it fun and provide some value!

Understand what your target audience really desires, and go from there. If you have a great product, then use it for a giveaway so you can get it in the hands of your customers, who will then talk about it to their friends and post it on social media. Otherwise, prize packs, discount cards, subscriptions etc. are always winners.
Try to make your conference booth fun and gamify it in some way to draw people in. Some great strategies would be:

  • Photo contest – have a branded photo wall or branded fun frame in your booth for those Instagram-worthy moments. Track any activity through a unique #hashtag
  • Guess the number of widgets in the jar – use something relatable to your brand
  • Use a prize wheel-of-fortune – make it colorful, bright and big enough to draw attention

11. Send emails in advance to attract more visitors.

The best practice is to go through a list of attendees expected to visit (organizers can also be potential clients). Send a personalized invitation email to people you want to meet; many of them will respond and stop by your booth. This will help you meet key people without wasting any precious time during the event.

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