trade show customers

5 Ways to Win Customers at Your Next Trade Show

by: 

Ed Levy

Ed Levy is an industry veteran and director of software technologies at Hirsch Solutions.

Industry trade shows, like THE NBM SHOW, can be a reliable way to gain exposure for your work. Not only are these events ripe with potential clients and collaborators, but they also create an opportunity for face-to-face interaction, genuine connections, and future sales.

Make the most of your trade show display by staying on-brand and conveying your company’s capabilities and specialties. Also, keep in mind that today’s consumers are much more interested in an overall experience than a traditional product-driven transaction.

Here are five tips to help you nail your next trade show event and return home with new customers.

No. 1: Show your branding expertise

Put your knowledge to work by creating clear, consistent branding at your booth. Your company’s name and contact information should be on display. All product giveaways and marketing materials should be readily available to ensure interested attendees know how to get in touch with you.

No. 2: Focus on creativity—not cash

Creating a booth that stands out from the others doesn’t immediately translate to spending more money on your display. Think carefully about your branding, and aim to immerse visitors in your brand story and products in a creative way. Incorporate interactive games, life-size art, virtual reality experiences, photo booths, and other activities that will draw a crowd. (Here are more tips for creating a trade show space on a budget)

No. 3: Run a pop-up shop

Mobile equipment like table-top presses and printing machines give customers a firsthand look at your processes. People love to see garments decorated on the spot, especially if they can choose their design and take the finished product home with them.

No. 4: Tie in tech

If you’ve created a fun and playful experience for attendees, they’ll likely want to share it on social media. Give attendees a hashtag to use when posting, and set up an area where they can pose for pictures in front of an eye-catching branded backdrop. Happy customers are your most influential brand ambassadors.

No. 5: Be clever with giveaways

Offer useful items such as gift certificates for your services, food, drinks, and quality wearables. Remember, giveaways must be small and travel-friendly, as many people fly or drive long distances to attend shows. Consider hosting a drawing for a grand prize, asking people to sign in to an app (or leave their business card) for a chance to win. The prize can even be sent to the winner once they’ve returned home, and you now have hundreds of new contacts in your database.

Above all else, become an expert at communicating why your services fill a need in the industry. Regardless of how fancy your booth is, your main goal is for attendees to walk away knowing what you do and how to get in touch if they need your services.