For many companies, trade shows represent the largest chunk of marketing budgets. To ensure that you get the maximum return on your trade show dollar, spend some time brainstorming creative touches that can help you stand out from the crowd. Here are 18 ideas you can use to put together a memorable trade show presence that will get people talking before, during and after the show. Here we give you 18 trade show marketing ideas for before, during and after the trade show event.
Creative Trade Show Booth Ideas
Prior to the show
1. Do your homework. Get the team together for a formal brainstorming session, and check out resources like Forbes and other business publications for ideas.
2. Time your marketing correctly. Once you book the date, start communicating about it regularly on your website and social media platforms.
3. Use location-based services. Set up a Foursquare and Yelp location for your trade show booth and, in your pre-show marketing, encourage people to check in.
4. Get your own folks excited. Create some internal marketing initiatives around getting your company psyched for the show, and encourage staff to leverage their personal connections to generate buzz.
5. Create a valuable offer. Set up a special landing page on your site and offer a whitepaper or other product that brings value to your customers and further encourages them to visit you at the show.
6. Get into sharing mode. Be sure to include all your relevant “social sharing” buttons on every promotion. Include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any other platform where you have a presence.
7. Use the company newsletter. Promote your trade show presence with special articles in your newsletter. Include information about what your exhibit will feature, food, giveaways, presentations and special guests.
8. Get creative with direct mail. Send invitations along with unusual promotions such as keys that “unlock” prizes at the show, discounts and mock “newspaper” clippings.
9. Advertise strategically. Use some paid advertising to highlight specials, discounts and other benefits visitors can expect.
10. Team up with a complementary company. By cross-marketing with another business, you may be able to stretch your marketing dollars.
Trade Show Booth Ideas
During the show
11. Have awesome free stuff. Nothing increases the flow of bodies to your booth like cool giveaways. Make sure your shirts, hats and other swag look good and will make people want to wear them.
12. Set up a wireless charging station at your booth and provide games or other fun activities to keep people occupied while their gadgets juice up.
13. Hold a raffle or contest for a crave-worthy prize. Make it fast so that people can check in and move on.
14. Provide incentives — maybe extra prize drawings — for people who tweet or post on other social media about your booth. Award extra points for including photos!
15. Create a “spin and win” wheel. Setting up a game show-style wheel that allows people to win a variety of prizes will attract the masses to your booth.
16. Set up a money-blowing machine. Cash appeals to pretty much everyone, and a telephone booth-sized enclosure where people grab money will draw a huge amount of attention.
Trade Show Marketing Ideas
After the show
17. Thoroughly debrief. Spending some time with your team to evaluate your success is critical for making a great showing next time. Take a look at sales leads, but also consider metrics like social media engagement.
18. Follow up. If people have given you their contact information for prize drawings and other attractions, by all means contact them! You don’t have to be pushy, but you certainly want to capitalize on your brand recognition to further reinforce your message.
For maximum trade show impact, get creative
These 18 ideas should serve to get you thinking creatively about your next trade show. But don’t stop there: Spend time with your team brainstorming creative tactics that best showcase your unique value proposition.
Trade Show Display Ideas
For trade show display ideas, take a look at the hundreds of trade show displays we have, all of them are custom made for each client.