Trade events sometimes feel like a fest of copy-paste. Every stand looks alike and is an exact copy of the previous event. Sure, people will vary in colors, shapes, and even the promotional items that they give away, but it’s essentially still the same. And sure, it’s a trade event, how different must it be and is differentiation even possible, without hiring Cirque du Soleil to provide entertainment at your stand? And before you give up and consider that probably thousands upon thousands of people have tried to figure this one out, why not give it a go? Worst case scenario is that you spent some time coming up with the same ideas. That sounds like a safe investment to me with potentially some decent returns. To help you on your way, here are some ideas to help you start thinking about your next event.
Let’s start safe. Have you considered upping your display stand game? If you are like most, you have a backdrop and a little desk, which is completely branded. It’s precisely this one that 90% of your competitors have as well.
In some cases, you can probably even share each other’s constructions might cause disaster to strike. In that scenario, you might even have some stock photos on your material, running you the risk of showing up with a very similar backdrop. Go a bit further with your event display stands and check out all the new options that are in the market. iPad displays offer great interactivity and can be a good crowd attraction. A good stand is not defined by its displays, but excellent displays do contribute a great deal.
The safe option out the way, it’s time to get adventurous. Who says you need a stand? The name of the game is really getting you to mingle with people who might want to be in business with you. Why not do exactly that and create your own mingling moments. Strap on a mobile coffee dispenser and go onto the trade show floor. Offer coffee to people, and while they are watching the coffee poured, strike up a meaningful conversation. At least 1 in 5 will prove interesting in furthering business relations with. If coffee is not your thing, you can try different items such as sweets, ice cream, or maybe even wet warm towels for refreshment. It’s a bold move, but at least you’ll stand out.
Another good way to promote conversation is turning your stand into a place where people can just relax for a while. Why not turn it into a large seating area with complimentary massages? You can get some professionals or set down some massage chairs to provide your visitors with a bit of bliss amidst the hustle and bustle of a trade event. When people are getting relaxed, they will be more open to listening to a good story. Just don’t make it too sales pitchy. It’s always good to have a screen around that tells the people resting at your stop what your business is all about. Sometimes delivering a subconscious message works significantly better than a direct one.
One of the key ways to boost the success of your trade event stand starts even before you set foot at the event. The key to success is all about using social media well. Think of it this way, a trade event is a perfect excuse to meet lots of people under non-committal conditions. This opposed to both you and your client making time in the diaries for something could end up being quite explorative. So a trade show is the best way to look up slightly unusual business connections, and social media is the perfect way to prepare that. In the run-up to the event, start tweeting and inviting people to your stand. Make a list of whoever says they might be dropping by and mentally prepare yourself. Being able to recognize someone and remember why they wanted to speak to you is the perfect first impression that you want people to have of you.
So, a trade show can be so much more than just rocking up with your case of backdrops and your case of a desk, a bunch of flyers and a stack of business cards. If you spend some time thinking about how you want to make connections, you might find that you want to go back to the drawing board and come up with something truly unique. My advice is: do it, you are sorely needed!