It’s trade show season, which means our team is traveling all over the country in matching shirts, meeting with business owners across a variety of industries and learning about their credit card processing needs. We’ve been going to trade shows for years now, and we’ve definitely learned a thing or two along the way. If you’re planning to hit the road this year with your team, here are the top five trade show tips you need to know to have a successful event.
Make Sure Your Booth Stands Out
You may not have a ton of space or a huge budget, but you’ll still want to think about how you can make your trade show booth stand out. Encourage your marketing team to think outside the box – there will be a lot of vendors competing for attendees’ attention, so they’ll need to use brighter colors, bigger fonts, and bolder everything to grab a piece of the pie. Make sure you’re using high-quality materials, as well – no one wants to stop at the booth that looks like it’s held together with masking tape.
Bring the Eye Candy
No, not THAT kind of eye candy – although we’ve certainly seen some vendors go that route! No, we’re talking about bringing your latest and greatest and demoing it right on the show floor. Got a new product coming out soon? Offering one of your perennial favorites with a new look? Plan the release date to coincide with the show and throw a little launch party, right there at your booth! A small crowd draws a bigger one, and before you know it everyone will want to know what the buzz is all about. Which brings us to our next point….
Show, Don’t Just Tell
Let show attendees touch your stuff! Everyone loves an interactive display, so think creatively to come up with a way your products can be experienced physically. We often take demo units of our credit card processing machines for attendees to see and play with, and sometimes we even prep a full computer-based demonstration complete with video screens and more. Our customers love to see our product in action – and we don’t even really sell products! We’re proof that even service-based businesses can capitalize on the demo trend.
Make Your Giveaways Count
Every booth at a trade show is giving away something, whether it’s stress balls, pens, or frisbees. We’ve found that the best swag to hand out is whatever people will need to get them through the day. Outdoor show in the summertime? Branded bottled water or handheld fans. Winter show in a northern climate? Chapstick and handwarmers. Eventually people will run out of places to put everything, so giving away sturdy and roomy bags is a great idea – except that a lot of companies are doing that now and there is such a thing as too many bags. We’ve had success with mints and hard candies as well – everyone is doing lots of talking and will appreciate the help.
Shut the Place Down
Stay till the bitter end, every day. We’ve seen plenty of vendors start packing up their booth 30 minutes, an hour, or even longer before the show is set to close for the day. What a bad branding decision! While you’re beating the traffic (or making a beeline to happy hour), potential customers are walking past a vacant and lonely booth. It still has your name all over it, but there’s no one greeting them with a smile, no one to demonstrate your products, and no one to answer their questions. It shows a lack of commitment to your business, and that’s just not a look at this kind of event (or ever). Make sure you bring enough personnel to the show that you can staff your booth for the entire event, and don’t let your team scuttle out the door early. You’re there to project a certain image for your brand – are you the type of company that goes home early or stays till the job is done?
Have a Great Show!
Trade show season is busy – trust us, we totally get it. We hope these trade show tips will help you make the most of what can be a very expensive time of year, especially when you factor in travel costs and time spent away from your business. Once the dust settles, if you’d like to talk about making a change to your credit card processing, we’re all ears. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to help you find the solution that’s best for you.
PS – Check out our guide to keeping costs low at your business without alienating your customers.
PPS – Ever wondered what those interchange fees are on your credit card statement? Let us explain.