If you’re looking to showcase at your first trade show or your 500th, you’ve come to the right place. We talked with trade show veteran and Jakprints Co-Founder, Dameon Guess, about the do’s and dont’s of getting ready for tradeshows. Preparation, quality and body language, go hand-in-hand when presenting your brand at a tradeshow.
“The worst thing you can do is show up unprepared,” says Dameon. The frantic energy that stems from being unprepared can set your whole day out of whack. Making sure all of your materials have arrived at the event space on time helps to stay on task and on your toes. “One of worst things to do is get down to the wire and overnight ship your stuff across the country,” Dameon mentioned. “You’re paying a fortune to ship overnight and it’s a total gamble if it will even show up on time.”
Making sure your table is well lit is another preparation must. “If you don’t properly light your space, your products and designs will be lost, and lifeless,” says Dameon. “People won’t even know you’re there.”
It’s also important to make sure you are presentable. “You can have the most beautiful booth but if it’s dark and dingy, they aren’t going to pay attention to your great display,” Dameon noted.
Legible and quality signage can help your booth look prepared. There is a large difference between a booth that is properly set up and a booth that had little care executed. “Be presentable,” says Dameon. “Not everyone is going to be looking out for your booth.” Know that there is a happy medium and too much signage and stuff in your booth can hurt you. “Sometimes, sparse can work,” says Dameon.
We stress at least having your business card on hand. No matter how cool your booth or presentation is, if you don’t have a business card ready to give out–all of that work will be for naught. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a tradeshow and my neighbor finds out that I’m a printer and they lean over and ask if I can print business cards for them the day of the show,” says Dameon. “You could have that one cool thing in your booth, but I’m going home not knowing who you even were.”
Body language is just as important as your booth. “I can’t stand when you show up to a tradeshow and everyone at a booth is just sitting there, on their phones or laptops,” Dameon mentioned. “It’s just a big faux pas. It makes me feel like not talking to you. I’m a big advocate for standing: it can help your table feel more welcoming.”
Standing at your booth will help bring people to you. Sitting the entire time can block interactions or cause a crowd around your table that makes it hard to see your products. Standing opens up the area and helps encourage conversation because your body is more open than it is while you’re sitting.
Many times presenters forget to cover the event on social media. There will be times where people couldn’t attend the tradeshow, but they are curious to see who was doing what. Keep your social medias like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr updated in real time so people can see you out and about, and see how you carry yourself in the professional environment. “People too often document after the fact,” says Dameon. “Do I care about the news last week, this week? No, you should keep the news in the present tense.”
Not only does it work for updating people at home on your progress at the event, but it’s a good way to show attendees that are browsing online where to go and what to check out. Snapchat doesn’t do live stories for nothing, a good part of having live stories on this photo and video sharing app is to show attendees what is hot at these events. The same thing goes with the discover sections of Twitter and Instagram.
Along with business cards, a good way to supplement real-time social media coverage is with Favicards. People at the event that take an interest in your booth may also be interested in checking you out when they aren’t over at your table. FaviCards are like social media business cards. Hand these out as a small take away so people can view your event in real time while at and going home from the event.
The most important part of the tradeshow is your image. The best ideas can flop if your image isn’t executed correctly. “If you beef up your image, you’re golden,” says Dameon. “Promote yourself properly and it all goes from there.”
No matter if it’s your first time or you’re a trade show veteran, Jakprints is here to assist you in getting the most out of your tradeshow experience and help you be prepared for what comes your way. Check out our website or contact us if you have any questions or would like to speak to one of our experts!