ENTREPRENEURSHIP / JUN. 06, 2014
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How to be the Hit of a Tradeshow

Divvying up those marketing dollars takes a great deal of brain power in today’s world. Numerous studies are being conducted internationally that prove that consumers are becoming more and more desensitised to advertising each day. The sheer volume of flashing banners, neon signs, cows dancing on the side of the road with logos that say things like “Eat more chicken” etc… is dulling the senses of modern day consumers, making them less eager to rush out to buy your product solely based on the promotion.

This is why branding has become so important. It’s more than just a logo on a coffee mug. It’s more than just a link between your web pages. Branding is building a link between your product and the world, one that sways consumers to trust your brand. The ultimate goal is to turn this brand into a household name. The key to achievement is association. Since association and trust are so important to sales, this means that not every marketing dollar should be spent on the internet. In cyberspace, you’re still a name without a face. In order to build a trusting relationship between your product and potential buyers you have to step out of the shadows and make yourself seen. An excellent way to execute this part of the marketing plan is to attend a tradeshow and showcase your goods. An even better way is to be the hit at the tradeshow, leaving behind something music executives refer to as buzz.

Building a buzz means getting people talking about you and your product to their friends. In turn, your name becomes familiar and familiarity breeds trust. The best way to get people talking isn’t necessarily to be friendly. It’s more important to be memorable. So once you’ve registered for a booth at a tradeshow, the next step is devising a plan that will soar you to superstardom for the day.

Step One: Be Certain Your Booth Has Electricity

For a show stopping tradeshow performance, electricity is a must and sometimes a booth near an electrical outlet costs a tad bit more. Splurge on the electricity. It’s well worth the purchase. Bringing additional extension cords to keep you covered is also an excellent idea.

Step Two: Be Visually Enticing

Depending on the type of tradeshow you’re attending, these venues generally get a little crowded, making it extremely difficult for people to hear. Getting people’s attention and keeping it is subsequently a matter of creating an eye catching atmosphere around your booth. This is even more important if you are breaking into the fashion world. Fashion designers who attended the Liberty Fairs Event in Las Vegas actually hired interior designers to build dramatic backdrops around their wares. These backdrops ranged from nostalgic World War II pieces, to life-sized board games on the floorboards to a sandy beach with barstools surrounding a picnic table, a backdrop that subtly whispered “My shop feels like a day at the beach”.

You don’t have to overdo the drama in order to be seen, just be certain your booth is organised around a specific theme that delivers an emotional effect when viewed. One way to achieve this effect without spending oodles on designer furnishings is to bring the biggest television you own. You can hook this television to your phone and play an eye catching slideshow or simply tune it in to a popular channel. No matter who people are or what they do, the majority of the population is still somewhat fascinated by TV, especially if a sports game is on.

Step Three: Remember that Your Smile is a Gift

If your booth is visually enticing, people will stop by to ask questions about your product but don’t try to smile your way out of an explanation. Too much smiling tends to make you look sales pitchy or extremely nervous. Deliver your smile in exchange for something like a compliment. If someone comments on the look of your booth or product offer them a genuine smile in return. If you use your smile sparingly it will feel like a gift bestowed upon those who have earned it.

Step Four: Know What to Put Your Logo On

There are so many customisable gadgets and gizmos out there, but not everything you put your name on will make people remember you. The most important place to put your logo is on a highly recognisable bag. If your bag is unique it will stand out in the crowd and you will too. Fill bags with your logo up with goodies. Candy is usually the way to go. This works well because it makes it look like people are buying things from you. If most of the people in attendance have a bag with your logo on it while perusing the aisles of the tradeshow people will assume that your product is popular because it will look like everybody bought it.

The next item to emblazon your logo on is battery operated, hand held fans. Many tradeshow vendors underestimate the power of population. A nice sized tradeshow should have thousands of people in attendance, all of which are stuffed in a small space. The end result is that it gets really, really hot in there and people scour the tradeshow for a way to keep cool. Skeptics will say that you can’t buy fans but that simply isn’t true. The best way to buy fans is to buy fans and hand them to every hot person you see. This should happen only after you’ve doled out tons of candy and your bag is circulating the room. That way, people will have a reason to return to your booth yet again, making you appear that much more popular in comparison to other vendors.

Step Five: Know When to Sound the Gongs

Most tradeshows experience a lull at a very specific time. Say for example, between noon and 2 pm when most attendees head off to lunch. During this time, a hush will fall over the previously noisy venue. Do not be deceived into believing that everyone has left. There are definitely some stragglers who hung around. Those who hang around are usually more serious buyers. You definitely want to capture their attention but by now, people have already seen your booth. No matter how visually enticing its design, once people have seen something, they’ve seen it and they move on.

When the noise dies down it’s time to sound the gongs and recapture the stragglers’ attention by catering to a new sense, essentially, hearing or smell. Guitar Center sounded the gongs quite nicely at Horrorfind 2014 when they snagged the attention of every straggler in the room by putting a professional guitar player in their booth. If you can’t afford a professional musician and you don’t happen to be a professional musician, trying popping popcorn or whipping up some funnel cake. Anything that appeals to the senses of hearing or smell works wonders on a small crowd and pulling people in is the whole battle.

If you follow the above listed steps, you’re certain to make waves at the tradeshow and don’t be too disappointed if this doesn’t initially reflect in your sales. Tradeshow promotion is a slow grind with the sole purpose of building a brand people trust. Trust doesn’t happen overnight, it’s something that has to be earned but once you’ve earned this trust, you’ll be well on your way to household name status.

Image Link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CeBIT

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