Trade shows are a great way to showcase your company’s products and connect with industry professionals. But with hundreds of businesses vying for attendee attention, it’s not always easy to stand out.

Try these proactive tips to grab attention and give attendees a positive experience they’ll remember long after the event ends.

1. Plan Ahead

It’s a good idea to start planning for the show at least 3-6 months in advance. This can help save on rush fees and ensure your team has plenty of time to train on their trade show roles.

Mike recommends having sales team members pre select conference meetings with attendees they really want to connect with. This will help make sure they have booked time to speak one-on-one during the show and can focus on building relationships and sealing deals.

It’s also a good idea to plan your giveaways ahead of time. This will help set you apart from your competition and can even give your brand a bit of a buzz. Rather than handing out generic swag, opt for items your audience will actually use or enjoy, like branded dog leads or cat toys.

2. Create A Strong Brand Identity

Having consistent brand identity across all your marketing materials and even your booth design helps to build credibility and trust. Create templates for your email signature, business cards, and more to ensure everything has a consistent look and feel.

Make sure attendees know you’re attending the trade show by publishing a press release or sharing information on social media. You can also try live-tweeting from the event (a play-by-play) or writing a blog post at the end of each day to share your experience.

Hosting a contest is an easy way to increase interest in your booth. For example, New Voice Media asked attendees to guess how long it would take for a block of ice surrounding an iPhone to melt, and they gave the winner a free phone.

3. Host A Giveaway Or Contest

Trade shows are a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes to showcase their products, services, and brand to a larger audience. But, in a crowded environment, it can be challenging to stand out from the competition and attract potential customers.

Hosting a giveaway or contest is an excellent way to draw attendees to your booth and make them more vested in your company. You can promote your giveaway or contest using a variety of methods, including paid advertising, social media, and email.

This strategy can be especially effective if your product has an element of fun, like the smoothie bike that Dyson used at their exhibit. You can even create a contest of skill and display a leaderboard to attract more visitors.

4. Offer Something Unique

When attendees walk by your booth, they should be able to easily determine who you are and what you do within ten seconds. Cluttered graphics will make this task more difficult than it needs to be and can turn off visitors before they even give you a chance to connect with them.

Swag is great but don’t just do it because everyone else is doing it. Swag items that are unique and related to your company are much more effective at grabbing attention and creating brand recognition.

You can also use your swag to create a buzz by offering a prize for those who visit your booth and leave their contact info with you. This will allow you to follow up with them after the show and build a stronger relationship.

5. Interact With Your Visitors

Whether you are a tech company displaying the latest phone or a beauty brand offering a new makeup line, you need to find ways to make your booth memorable. Many companies go for the hard sell, attempting to impress visitors with huge displays and state-of-the-art gadgets. However, this approach can be like speed dating – impressive looks and a flashy display might get you some attention, but you will be forgotten as soon as your attendee walks to the next exhibit.

Instead, try forming long-term relationships with your visitors by using music and video footage to engage them. Also, host a contest or giveaway that gives attendees something to take home (a poster, a keychain, or a mug) in exchange for their contact details.