Are you a startup preparing for a trade show? If so, especially if it’s for the first time, the process can feel treacherous. Indeed, your blossoming company may be at a trade show with large corporations that already have long standing reputations. Don’t worry though; there are proven ways to make your booth stand out – no matter the competition.

Remember this, too: There’s a reason you started your business. There’s a product or service you’re offering that is unique, and a trade show is the perfect place to grow awareness.

“No matter how much you click from place to place, it will never replace face to face”

A fresh company also means a fresh start; companies that have been around for a long time sometimes have trouble adapting. In contrast, by setting positive standards now, from the very beginning, you and company leaders are setting a powerful example for future employees and trade show booth experiences to come.

That in mind, here are 5 top tips for startups at a trade show.

  1. Define Your Message

    Ask yourself: Why are you attending this trade show? What is the ultimate goal? By figuring out what you want out of the trade show, you can then hone in on a message that will then lead to creating the best process to make that goal happen.

  2. Plan Early

    You can’t start planning too early. Defining your message and goals well ahead of time allows for a well-planned pre-marketing strategy. Rather than walking into the trade show booth unaware of who or what else will be present, it gives time do the research beforehand. You can typically find out who else will be exhibiting and attending; use that to your advantage. For example, reach out to individuals or companies beforehand to let them know what your booth will be offering – perhaps a free giveaway or a special promotion.

    Plus, by starting early, you are are sure that every part of the booth is finished and ready to go. No last minute design flaws or increased fees for last minute shipping. I once worked for a company who was the Platinum sponsor of the show and their booth wasn’t ready until 45 minutes AFTER the show opened! Let’s just say It didn’t reflect well on the company.

    Planning early also gives you time to do valuable legwork, like inviting individuals or companies that are current investors, vendors or customers. Tell them about your booth and what you’re doing; you may surprised by the level of support and help that can come from this.

  3. Remember: It’s Worth Investing in Trade Show Booth Design

    As a new business, budget is a #1 priority and fear. A well designed trade show booth may entail a higher cost, however, getting a custom trade show booth design that can be used again and again will be worth it in the long-run.

    If a budget is truly limited, compensate by getting a smaller booth or consider renting a display, especially your first time out. Either way, make it look sharp and professional!

  4. Think Of How You Can Bring Value to Attendees

    It is important that your trade show booth be memorable. Make it stand out for your prospects by offering them something of true value. Attendees are always asking themselves “what’s in it for me?” and they need to consider whether stopping at this booth is worth their time. Whether that is a raffle, giveaway, free consultation or discount, make sure there is a benefit in it for them. It will end up being a benefit for you, too.

  5. Pick the Face of Your Booth Carefully

    When a trade show booth attendee comes to your booth; there’s a good chance it’s the first time they are learning about the brand. Like visiting a restaurant, the people who work there make a massive impact. When the waiter is terrific, you love the experience. If a server makes rude comments or appears disinterested, that will stick with you.

    A trade show booth is no different. The people who attendees see and interact with needs to have vivacious energy, entice prospects and make them want to stick around – all while delivering your brand’s message. It is the human experience at a trade show booth that makes the ultimate difference. To ensure your booth staff are ready and prepared to work the booth, you may consider training your exhibit staff so that they can be as effective as possible.

    A sure way to make sure a highly trained professional is there who will generate ROI, or you don’t pay? A trade show entertainer.

Learn about the proven success of our Infotainers, like Anders Boulanger, and proven results and leads from trade shows.