Fun, Fresh Ideas to Step Up Your Trade Show Game

Trade shows might be for business, but they don’t have to be all business. It’s time to up your trade show game to make your investment worth your time, increase return and finally get people to engage in your brand.

Most people describe a trade show like this: people wandering up and down aisles glancing at booths with no rhyme or reason as to exactly why they are even there. Some of them were told by their boss to go make an appearance at the trade show, while others went there on their own free will. No matter the reason they are there, you need to remind them why they went. There are tons of ideas out there to help you embrace new business and bring new excitement to your brand. Don’t get comfortable and continue doing the same old thing. It’s time to shake things up and take your trade show experience to the next level with these fun, fresh ideas.

Up Your Marketing Game

The right marketing before a trade show event has the ability to get people talking, sharing, and engaging. You can go all in or stick with a budget. And with the addition of social media, organizations large and small are finally embracing before the show marketing.

Create some hype before you arrive on the trade show floor by utilizing a partial reveal just to get people talking. For instance, include a statement in your marketing that mentions something huge will be revealed at the show but only to those who visit your booth. What’s the big surprise? Well thats is up to you. It could be:

  • A big company announcement
  • A new sponsor or collaboration reveal
  • A prize for a contest winner

The whole point is to cause curiosity and draw attention to your booth at the show. The best thing that can happen to you at a trade show is a crowd!

Marketing Made Fun

Here’s where the fun comes in. It’s all about involving your attendees and making them want to participate in marketing your business. Here’s the trick though – it has to be easy! If it’s complicated, most people won’t engage. Try to stick to simple ideas that no one can say no to.

Humor: Create a “hidden” camera scenario where something unexpected happens and you record your attendees’ reactions to things. You could even stream their reactions in real time if you have the right type of audience.

Scrolling Message Board: Utilizing a large screen within your booth space or in the middle of the trade show floor, encourage attendees to post on social media about your company at the show, using a certain hashtag or emoji to get on the message board. You’ll be surprised how this will motivate people to do some silly things to get on that message board. All the while, they are promoting your brand or company with a simple post on Facebook or Twitter!

Interactive Walls: It could be as simple as creating one out of post-it notes, a whiteboard or chalkboard surface. Propose a question and ask people to respond or invite them to post their business card to show that they were there. When they show is over, you could post a photo to boast how successful your show was and ask if they can locate their contribution.

Mini Contests: Throughout the day, host quick contests to draw in with attendees walking by your booth. Make themes based on well known games, like would you rather or Simon says. Your prizes should be worth their time so you’ll not only draw in willing participants, but you’ll also create buzz and give people a reason to stop by your booth.

Photo Booth: Trust us, photo booths aren’t just for weddings! As each attendee walks onto your exhibit floor, give them a mask or a prop with your booth number written on the back telling them to visit your photo booth. They will be so intrigued, that they’ll have to stop by your booth for a photo. A little bit of fun not only entertains it serves as a great conversation starter as well.

Offer A Mid-Show Snack: Just as the mid-day slump rolls around, so will you offering up a mid-day goodie! Stroll the exhibit hall with an an ice cream cart or a popcorn cart. Just make sure your snack offering is portable and branded with your logo. That way you can serve a refreshing snack throughout the exhibition floor, with the intention of enticing people to visit your booth.

In Conclusion

One of the best ways to switch things up at your next trade show is to create an unexpected experience. The goal is to condition your audience to expect the unexpected. Surprises are some of the most memorable aspects of life so take advantage of this even at a trade show.

Trade shows can either be really fun and memorable or really boring and not worth your time. The decision is yours. But one thing we’ve learned from our previous trade show experience is this – we should all embrace the trade show with a smile and a laugh.

Questions To Ask When It’s Your Trade Show Off Season

Here’s the typical scenario: trade show season begins and you invest in two or three trade shows or marketing events because you expect to see a return on your investment. You prepare, attend, gather leads – then you’re back at the office with that “high on life” attitude ready to follow up on those precious leads and convert them into new business.

But workflow and life gets in the way.  And instead you come home, check emails, look at the work piling up on your desk and play catch-up. Unfortunately this often ends in business-as-usual mode and an unwelcome back to reality wondering where all your motivation went.

We hear about this all the time.

But how do you change this vicious cycle that could be hurting your trade show investment? Well, quite simply you have to make the time. Here’s a few tips on how to maintain the positive momentum and take advantage of your hard work after the shows wrap for the season.

Ask yourself “why, how and who”

Why am I participating in trade shows? Great question, right – but do you have an answer? Deciding to participate in a particular trade show is the easy part; it’s figuring out why you chose that show thats most important. You could be looking for a way to build brand awareness, or increase distribution of your new products. It could also be that you would like to focus on client relations as a way to nurture the face-to-face relationship. Nail down your WHY and determine a clear initiative that aligns with your business strategy to move it forward.

How am I going to measure attendance? Counting leads is the first step to measuring your success at the end of a show, but try and find a way to measure attendance before the show as well. Consider this – it’s like placing an ad on Facebook, choosing how many people to target then going back to see how many people you actually reached. You need to understand your return on investment to insure you marketing efforts are working for you. Just ask and you shall receive! Ask the show organizer to give you numbers based on last years attendance to help you decide whether a particular show is even worth attending.

Who am I targeting at the show? You might be exhibiting at a high traffic, well marketed trade show, but have you figured out how to actually get them to visit your booth? Some of you might get stuck on the number of people that visited your tradeshow booth instead of measuring their legit interest in your products or services. Quantity doesn’t equal quality. Don’t settle for 300 basic leads when you could have 50 well-qualified leads. By singling out the type of clients you want, you can plan your presentation more effectively reel them in – hook, line and sinker!

 

Bottom line: The show does not end when you get home. It’s so important to take the time to reflect on your current trade show season and put your newfound knowledge to work for your company. And the best time to do this is NOW – before you’re routine tasks suck you in again and before you realize you have to be in full-on trade show season mode…again.

Need a trade show display? Shop online and buy now at AffordableDisplays.com.

10 Major Trade Shows in February

Trade show season 2018 is definitely in full swing! And quite possibly the hardest decision this year might be choosing which trade shows your company would benefit from attending. If you ever unsure which trade shows are occuring in your area or accross the United States, you can always start your research using our Trade Show Calendar. You can narrow down your search by City, Country, Industry and even Month. Give it a try today!

Consider these TOP 10 trade shows happening this month:

Golf Industry Show
Show Dates: February 3-8, 2018
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
San Antonio, TX

www.golfindustryshow.com/trade-show

With hundreds of exhibitors spanning thousands of square feet of exhibit space, the GIS trade show gives superintendents, owners, technicians and other golf facility professionals the opportunity to network and discuss the latest products and services in turf and facility care. The show floor also includes special features such as Inside the Ropes, presentations from GCSAA TV, free education on the show floor, the New Product Showcase and the GIS Silent Auction.

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TCEA Convention & Exposition
Show Dates: February 5-9, 2018
Austin Convention Center
Austin, TX

www.convention.tcea.org

The 2018 TCEA Convention & Exposition brings thousands of educators together with the knowledge and resources they need to transform The 2018 TCEA Convention & Exposition brings thousands of educators together with the knowledge and resources they need to transform the future of teaching and learning. Campus and district-level administrators, curriculum and technology leaders, teachers, librarians, and champions of ed tech will all discover innovative ways to engage students, enhance curriculum, and increase productivity.

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National Pavement Expo 2018
Show Dates: February 7-10, 2018
Huntington Convention Center
Cleveland, OH

www.nationalpavementexpo.com/show/

For over 30 years, National Pavement Expo brings vendors and contractors together who make their living from asphalt and concrete paving, sealcoating, striping, sweeping, crack repair, pavement repair, and snow removal to network with other paving professionals, attend industry workshops, and learn new ideas at our leadership boot camp.

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OFFPRICE Show
Show Dates: February 10-13, 2018
Sands Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

www.offpriceshow.com/lasvegas/

The OFFPRICE Show is the shopping destination for smart retailers who want fashionable apparel, footwear and accessories, at prices that can’t be beat. Find out what thousands of successful retailers know and register to attend our next trade show.

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MAGIC Marketweek
Show Dates: February 12-14, 2018
Las Vegas & Mandalay Bay Convention Centers
Las Vegas, NV

www.ubmfashion.com/shows/magic?q=shows/magic-february

Every February and August, the retail industry convenes in Las Vegas for the United States’ most comprehensive fashion marketplace – MAGIC. Here you will find the latest in apparel, footwear, accessories, and manufacturing. From the height of advanced contemporary luxury brands, to the latest trends in fast fashion, MAGIC fuels the business of fashion.

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ProGreen Expo
Show Dates: February 13-16, 2018
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, CO

www.progreenexpo.com

ProGreen EXPO is the only green industry conference in the Rocky Mountain Region of its kind. More than 6,000 green industry professionals gather every year at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver to gain vital knowledge and skills to improve business, educate employees and discover the latest information for the upcoming season. Since 1996, ProGreen EXPO has grown into the place where the green industry meets. Through education, networking, and skill-building, we ensure that our industry remains an asset to communities and an engine of job creation.

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World AG Expo
Show Dates: February 13-15, 2018
International Agri-Center
Tulare, CA

www.worldagexpo.com

We are here to encourage the newest conversations, inventions and innovations in the world of ag so that the dealer, the producer and the consumer can all come out on top. World Ag Expo continues to be a marketplace and a celebration of all things ag. When our exhibitors succeed, our attendees and farmers transform their operation, and consumers all over the world are positively impacted by the increased efficiency and the continuous re-evaluation of ‘what we’ve always done’.

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Toy Fair NY
Show Dates: February 17-20, 2018
Jacob J. Javits Convention Center
NYC. NY

www.toyfairny.com

Toy Fair 2017 opened its doors to thousands of registered global play professionals to explore a record-breaking 443,000 net square feet of exhibit space filled with hundreds of thousands of toys, games and youth entertainment products. Toy Fair is produced by The Toy Association™, Inc., the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and bringing toys and youth entertainment products to kids of all ages. The Toy Association’s more than 950 members account for approximately 90% of the annual U.S. domestic toy market of $26B.

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Wedding & Portrait Photographers Int’l Conference
Show Dates: February 24-28, 2018
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

www.wppiexpo.com

The annual Wedding & Portrait Photographers Int’l Conference + Expo specializes in the creative and business aspects of wedding and portrait photography and filmmaking. Each year, thousands of professional and aspiring photographers and filmmakers attend WPPI to network, learn new techniques from industry leaders, build new relationships to grow their business, experience new products, gear, and solutions from the world’s top photo suppliers, improve their productivity, and enjoy the many attractions in Las Vegas.

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EXHIBITOR LIVE
Show Dates: February 25-March 1, 2018
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

www.exhibitoronline.com/live/2018/index.asp

EXHIBITORLIVE is the Trade Show and Corporate Event Marketing Conference. This five-day educational event features 180+ sessions and workshops with the industry’s largest exhibit hall, including nearly 300 exhibitors. This is where you will find the latest products and resources shaping the future of exhibiting and corporate event programs. The 6,000 exhibit and event managers, marketing experts and communications specialists who attend our show are serious learners who want to survive their job, improve their performance and master new strategic initiatives.

5 Major Trade Shows in November

Determining which trade shows to attend and how many trade shows to consider might be the hardest part of getting started. Rest assured our Trade Show Calendar will be your greatest asset in this journey. You’ll be able to narrow down your search for a specific show, a trade show in a specific city or state and even search for trade shows for just your industry. You’ll also find important information such as the number of attendees, number of exhibitors and even the square fottage of each show is listed. Every trade show even has a link to more information making it even easier for you to find out more information on how to sign up as an exhibitor.

Here’s a list of 5 noteable US trade shows occuring in November 2017:

Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association
Show Dates: November 1-4, 2017
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL
DEMA 2017
The DEMA Show is the world’s largest and most comprehensive trade-only event for companies and professionals in the scuba diving, water sports and adventure / dive travel industries. This trade show attracts hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of dive and travel industry professionals from around the world.

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FABTECH International AWS Welding Show
Show Dates: November 6-9, 2017
McCormick Place
Chicago, IL
FABTECH 2017
FABTECH is an annual event/trade show that to see, touch and learn about the latest innovations in the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries. This event offers 1,700+ exhibitors and 40,000+ attendees access to over 725,000 square feet of floor space to learn and connect with vendors and buyers from around the world.

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American Academy of Ophthalmology
Show Dates: November 11-14, 2017
Ernest Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, LA
AAO 2017
American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual Trade Show dedicated to educating people about eye diseases and conditions and the preservation of eye health.

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International Association of Amusement Parks Attractions
Show Dates: November 14-17, 2017
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL
IAAPA 2017
IAAPA Attractions Expo is the world’s largest amusement industry trade show created to serve family fun centers, amusement parks, waterparks, and attractions.

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Las Vegas Health & Fitness Expo
Show Dates: November 11-12, 2017
Las Vegas  Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Health & Fitness Expo
This event showcases products such as running technologies, fitness apparel, health and nutrition information, running gear and sports apparel. Offering a platform to establish new contacts and networks that will be beneficial for their business increasing their profit margins etc. in the Wellness, Health & Fitness industry.

 

We hope our handy Trade Show Calendar will properly assist you in finding your perfect trade shows. Don’t forget it’s not only your trade show choices that get your business or brand noticed. You also have to make sure your choosing the right trade show displays for your needs. Contact AffordableDisplays.com to insure your image will represent you perfectly as well.

Happy exhibiting!