Customer Service, Marketing Events

How to Ace a Trade Show Without Feeling Awkward

Showing up at a trade show? Make sure you’re going in prepared.

Source: r.classen / shutterstock

Trade shows are an important marketing strategy for many businesses. They’re a great way to get offline and really get in front of your customer base. But many marketers are now so comfortable with the digital side of things that they feel awkward in small booths trying to convince people to learn more about certain products or services. That in-person connection is so important, and trade shows tend to be quite expensive, making it all the more important to really soak up what a trade show has to offer. Showing up with nerves will throw you off your game plan. Here’s how to get the most out of a trade show without feeling uncomfortable or awkward.

Bring Swag

It’s a rule of life: people love free stuff. Bringing some swag that you think will help your booth stand out is a great first step. Erasers, stress balls, and pens are classics, but try to think outside the box. Branded umbrellas, water bottles, or cozies are things that people always need but rarely have on hand. Of course, anything edible is always a winner as well.

Get Creative With Your Booth

A plain sign and a table lacking décor aren’t going to get people flocking to your booth. The more interesting and eye-catching your area is, the more people will be interested in stopping in. Remember the small details, like an area rug or some cool lighting. These will help people feel comfortable hanging around. You could also consider some type of Instagram-friendly background or a chalkboard wall people can contribute to.

Host a Giveaway

You want to walk away from a trade show with no leads. One of the easiest ways to do that is by hosting a giveaway. Simply put out a fishbowl with slips for contact information and randomly select one winner to receive some product. This will get people to introduce themselves and give you a long list of leads to walk away with.

Have a Product Demonstration

If you’re able to show how your product works onsite, do it. That can be an intriguing way to encourage people to stop and learn more. Remember not to jump right into the sale—by simply introducing people to your product, letting the results speak for themselves, and being available for any questions, you’ll be able to help them grow more familiar with your company without diving into a sales pitch right off the bat.