So You’re Attending Your First Trade Show…

Industry trade shows can be an effective venue in which to sell your company’s product or service. With some trade shows hosting up to thousands of potential customers, it’s imperative to be on the top of your game.

Attending your first tradeshow without any prior knowledge or training may be a little intimidating. Ha no fear; we’ll help you make your first trade show a memorable and productive one.

Book early

For those of you who have not yet attended a trade show, it’s important to have ample time to plan the many aspects of the big event. Do early research on booth spaces so that you are able to have the ideal placement on the trade show floor. No one wants to be pushed in the back corner of a convention center. Therefore, try to book as early as possible to ensure not only good placement, but also the best pricing!

Alert your contacts

Tell not only your company partners (especially those who might want to include some information at the booth) but also your customers that you’ll be in the area for the show. This can be done through a direct mail, via e-mail or through your social media outlets. Be sure to include the dates and times of the trade show, as well as what booth you’ll be in. For small companies, this gives you credibility. For all companies, it gives you exposure and the chance to see your customer one more time in person.

At the booth

While at your trade show booth, it’s important to remain in the mindset of an attendee. Here are a few points to remain mindful of:

– Have a colorful graphic or out-of-the-box booth design to catch the customer’s eye. Getting potential leads into the booth is essentially the hardest part of a trade show and having something eye-catching to set you apart from other booths is of utmost importance.

– Include a small headline at your booth that will interest your target consumer. A large amount of text will overwhelm potential customers and may result in skipping your booth.

– Once a customer is in your booth and talking to a sales representative, allow for enough open space for a comfortable feeling. You want to avoid that “trapped” feeling while in your booth.

After the show

Follow up is key after a trade show. People often get an overload of information so it’s important to make a second point of contact. Take that pile of business cards that you’ve collected throughout the show and begin the follow up process as soon as you return from the show. Don’t waste time and become part of the influx of follow ups and try to make that second point of contact a day or two after the show instead of a week later.

These quick tips should help prepare the trade show amateur at any company. As a general reminder, keep calm, collected and know your end goal. Is it to make industry connections, brand awareness or drive direct sales? Keep these points in mind and your first trade show experience will be an enjoyable one. Have additional pointers for the trade show newbie? Let us know in the comments section.


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Brian Sutter

Brian Sutter

Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode
Brian Sutter is the Director of Marketing at Wasp, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. He also writes and speaks on topics related to helping small business owners grow their business and improve operational efficiency.
Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter