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5 Insider Strategies to Conquer your Next Trade Show

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CES is, well, here. That came fast. Trade shows are the mecca for boosting brand awareness, developing relationships with media and getting in front of potential customers. But are you harnessing the right strategies to make the most of your company’s next trade show opportunity?

Get out your free marketing swag (those pens actually come in handy sometimes) and get ready to rock your next trade show.

1. Grab that Media List: The Holy Grail of Trade Shows

Prior to attending a trade show, request the media list! Media lists are the holy grail of conferences – they help you pre-pitch the event and set up meetings beforehand, granting you valuable prep time. Take an in-depth look of which publications and reporters will be attending the show, then reach out to set up a meeting time or demo.

2. Nobody Puts your Company in a Corner

Attending trade shows is a huge opportunity for your company to shine, but if you silently stand behind the booth in the dark – what’s the point?

Position yourself on the sides and in front of your booth to engage onlookers. Encourage interaction and engagement at your booth; this is the perfect opportunity to interact with potential customers and reporters. And, assembling a decent-sized crowd at your booth will tempt others to approach, too. There’s power in numbers.

3. Think Outside the Boilerplate

Sharing your company boilerplate and some free swag to everyone who approaches? It’s time to rethink how you interact with event attendees.

Media members attending trade shows are probably having the same conversations and interactions at most booths. You know, “This is what our company does, would you like a free sample?” Change it up! Make the conversation about them. Ask them the questions about what they cover, their interests and any upcoming articles they’re working on.

4. Put Those Free Pens to Good Use

Talking to potentially hundreds of media members in a short timespan can leave you in a tailspin. Pro tip: After speaking to a reporter and exchanging business cards, jot down a quick note on the back of the card to trigger your memory of the conversation later.

It helps to create abbreviations beforehand, as you hopefully will have a line of reporters waiting to speak with you. Some abbreviations I use are, “VI – Very Interested,” “I – Interested,” “NI – Not Interested,” “UO – Upcoming Opportunity that may be a good fit.” Refer back to these notes when working on follow ups.

5. Keep in Touch

Reporters tend to be overwhelmed post-event, juggling business cards, product samples and endless pamphlets. Be organized for them. Follow up within a week of the event with a subject line that hints at the discussion you had. Reference the media list and business cards (with your handy notes) to craft this personalized email. And don’t forget to add them on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Keep these strategies in your back pocket during your next trade show exhibit – especially during CES. Need a little extra conference support? Our experienced event experts and media mavens are here to help.

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