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Are You Sending the Right Message at the Trade Show?

22 Aug 2019

If you have followed our instructions for the past several months, you’ll know how to approach all situations presented at a trade show or any other exhibition you might have signed up for. There’s nothing better than to be completely prepared and have a battle plan, but we don’t want to miss on a huge blind spot for many. What is it? It’s about whether you’re sending the right message at the trade show you’ve targeted. As an exhibitor, the messages you want to convey are not that many – you’re professional, you’re at the top of your sector, you’ve a lot to offer and you’re ready to do business.

In theory, everyone has these goals in the first place, but that’s not often the case in practice when you sit down to review their booth, non-verbal communication, publicity, PR or online marketing. What you discover once you dig deeper into all these areas, you see that you’re sending signals to everyone passing by your booth or encountering you online during the trade show. Sometimes, the signals you send do not align with your strategy on paper. This is where we come in to assist you.

Review Your Exhibition Booth’s Elements

The message your booth should convey is ‘notice me and come visit’. These are the elements you should keep your eye on.

COLOURS: This is the first visual cue you send passersby. They might not see your logo first or recognize the shape of your booth, or see your staff, but the colours stand out immediately. The way you design your booth is with the purpose to be inviting and mismanaging your colour scheme is easily achieved. If you’re thinking about mistakes here, you obviously think about using muted colours that render you invisible, but there’s also the opposite problem – employing so many bright colours that passersby avert their eyes. Always consult with a designer on the right palette to use, and produce samples to see how the colour appears in real life.

SHAPES: Think of an exhibition booth right now. What do you picture? A simple rectangle with a lot of other rectangle shapes for the promotional materials. Depending on the branding you have, how can you take advantage of the shape of your booth to stand out. For high-tech brands, one way is to lean further in with interesting geometric shapes. Brands that are softer should lean in the other direction with organic shapes.

SIZE: Bigger might appear to be better, but there are factors to determine how much bigger you’d make your booth to be. In a sprawling hall with lots of competitors, you don’t want to appear as a mere blip on the radar and should be eager to take up some space to break up the uniformity of the immediate landscape. If you’re exhibiting at a specialist or local event, where you don’t have the same numbers in both visitors and exhibitors, there’s no realistic need for a bigger booth. Ration your budget in other areas.

Maintain Open Body Language at Your Booth

Another mistake that is easy to make, but hard to catch yourself is how the staff conducts itself at the booth when they think they’re not being watched. Though this can very well happen even in the presence of visitors. Non-verbal communication is very clear and leaves no confusion. What you want to showcase is a cheery, inviting disposition. Not just in the way you greet a visitor, but also when you’re on your own. Staff should always maintain a straight posture, smile and use open body language. Frowning, hunching over, slouching, being slow or resting on your booth is to be avoided at all costs. Visitors who see listless, unmotivated staff at a booth are less likely to stop – and there’s the negative opinion they’ll form on your brand.

Send out a Message in the First Place

It’s not enough to simply buy a booth at the trade show and expect for qualified leads to materialize out of thin air to supplement your buyers’ list. Discovery on the show floor is not to be undervalued and that’s why we’ve spent a good deal of this text on how you should appear, but your success at the trade show fully depends on how well you make yourself known. Are you signaling that you’re there in the first place?

SOCIAL MEDIA: It’s a social-media world and you have to tap into all your channels to drum up the right attention. Social media is perfect to insert yourself into the feeds of prospect buyers with the use of stories, videos and hashtags to insert yourself into the show narrative. Be active through the entire run and take opportunities to tag your booth along with high profile speakers and other big names in your industry.

MANAGE LEADS: Ideally, you’d have a good idea about who’s attending the trade show well in advance and this information should enter your plans. Invite your loyal customers to attend and to your booth – that’s how you reconnect and maintain strong partnerships. Low-quality leads should be incentivized to make an appearance at your booth. High-quality leads, on the other hand, need special handling. Get in touch, make an appointment to meet privately and take the initiative so that they don’t fall prey to competitors.

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