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How to Make a Splash at Your Next Convention

24 November 2017, 13:49 CET

Conventions are incredibly important for businesses of all kinds to get their product out there. It’s important to make connections, to learn new tricks of the trade, and to generally advertise yourself. There are trade shows and conventions for everyone, for every industry and every goal.

Just attending, however, doesn't mean that you'll have a successful visit; rather, it takes methodical planning, creativity and great social skills to make a splash. Here are a few tips to help you with your next convention.

1. Be Creative

The more visually striking and appealing your booth, the better. You want to make a great first impression of course, but it's also important to grab their attention as quickly as possible. Be creative, be innovative, be flashy. Make sure that your exhibit hits the sweet spot where it will turn heads without being too gaudy. Have your brand clearly on display, offer fun and creative gimmicks such as pens, etc. and step away from the stale, business persona. Bring talkative and charismatic team members, and have them interact with the customers naturally.

2. Make it Interactive

The longer attendees stay at your exhibit, the more likely they are to remember you and take your contact details home with them. A great way to do this is to make your stand (and product/service) interactive. Incorporate computer games, ask your customers to volunteer and try out your product, and highlight how well your company functions. Be fun and approachable, and leave a positive impact on your customers.

3. Offer Freebies

People love freebies, and by offering goodies, they're more likely to stop at your booth and speak to you. Prepare your samples in advance – brainstorm unique ways to promote yourself, so your company isn't the same as their competitors. You can opt for the more traditional freebies, such as pens or stress balls, but you could also offer something more exclusive like a frisbee or a handheld cooling fan.

Whatever you choose, though, make sure your brand can be easily displayed and is clearly visible. You need your brand to be as noticeable as possible; from your freebies to your booth's decorations, to the lanyards your employees wear around their necks. To create your company's own personalised lanyards for such events, Digital ID can produce such high-quality marketing tools.

Tip: Create an incentive for attendees to come back at the end of the day. This could be a draw where they put their name in for the chance to win a prize, for instance.

4. Network

Trade shows are important for networking, so make sure you spend enough time doing so. Get to know the attendees and trade contact information. You might just be able to expand your customer base and even meet future collaborators. Pass on personal information so that they can contact you easily, and make sure to grab their contact details, too. If you don't hear from them, call them for a catch-up.

5. Follow Up on New Connections

When following up with new connections, you need to get the balance right. Make sure you call them, so you're not forgotten, but do not make yourself seem too dependant on them. Act professionally, invite them to the office to discuss business ventures, or if you want to really impress them, go out for a business lunch. Every attendee at a convention is valuable, so make sure you speak to as many people as possible.

6. Measure Your Success

Trade shows should have a return on investment (ROI). To determine how valuable any trade show is, you need to measure its success. You may find that some conventions are huge hits and cannot be missed, but you may also discover than others could be less valuable, and the chance of bringing in profit could be non-existent.

Find the specific tactics that work for your company and refine these tactics with every visit. The earlier you start preparing, the more successful your company will be – make sure you give it your all, otherwise your business may take a hit in the wrong direction.

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