How to Standing Out at a Conference or Tradeshow

A big boat surrounded by many small boatsIf you’re ready to make your business the bee’s knees at your next conference, never fear—this guide will help you do it. Think of it like a handy conference survival kit loaded with tips and tricks to make your booth the Taylor Swift of trade shows—brilliant, savvy, and captivating!

Stage Design: Create a Booth That Pops

Think of your booth as your stage, and everyone wants to be at the front. You can achieve this by going with a booth design that stands out and uses dynamic and interactive elements. If you’ve seen the Eras Tour stage, you can get the gist of this.

Granted, a booth is on a much smaller scale, but the goal is to wow and engage your visitors. You can do it with live demos, touchscreens, or even a digital guestbook. Get creative in making your booth so inviting that everyone wants to drop by just to see what all the fuss is about.

Collateral Damage: Avoid Throwaway Materials

Ditch the boring pamphlets and lame-duck collaterals that list bullet points about your business. Instead, use bold graphics, impactful copy, and concise brand messaging.

The goal is to quickly convey your business’s core benefits in a way that visitors want to keep, like a keepsake. Choose quality, tactile materials, and don’t be afraid to use something unexpected. Are you at a loss for ideas?

Try one of these:

  • Treats to eat that also share your brand message or colors, like cookies or candy.
  • Printed 3D keepsakes related to your industry.
  • Eye-catching collateral that has the ability to scan a code for more information, a demo, or sign up for a newsletter

Master Swag: Gift Like a Pro

It’s true, everyone loves great swag. But it’s also true that not all swag is created equal, m’kay? Don’t go with the same kind of swag everyone else is doing. Make yours just a little different. Maybe you offer gadgets that are eco-friendly, maybe you come up with some kind of custom tech.

And, i you do offer clothing, make it stylish! A great rule of thumb is if you don’t want to keep the item for yourself, nobody else will either. Which means the hotel trash is its ultimate destiny. Sad, right?

Leverage Socials: Be a Butterfly

Flutter those wings, baby! You’ve got to create some buzz on socials well before the conference even begins. You can do things like share behind-the-scenes peeks, teasers, special announcements and giveaways, and don’t forget to use the conference hashtag with every post.

Once the event starts, you can keep those updates going with polls, lives, interactive content, and more to help direct attention online and offline. You can also build up anticipation and excitement using your email newsletter.

Send out teaser emails with peeks at what you’ll be showcasing during the event, off exclusive previews, and share any guests who may be making an appearance. The goal is to give them just enough to drum up interest and excitement so they mark the event on their calendar!

Power Play: Host a Side Event

Sometimes, if you want to stand out, you’ve gotta do a little side shuffle slide. Okay, perhaps no dance steps. We’ve got two left feet up in here, but a little mini “event to the event” on the side can be a great way to elevate the experience of those who check out your booth at the conference.

You can have a cocktail hour, a breakfast briefing, or a lounge area where folks can chill and recharge themselves (and their phones). The last one is a great way to escape the hustle and foster a relaxed atmosphere where attendees can engage in more meaningful conversations.

First Impressions: Art of the Shoutout

If you’ve got a booth set up at an annual conference, why not shout out to first-timers and go out of your way to make them feel extra special and welcome?

Try it out with welcome packets, special badges, or even a little VIP first-timer meet and greet to make an impression and build loyalty, Swiftie style.

Snazzy Attire: Dress to Show Off Your Brand

Dressing your team in the right clothing is like sending out a crew of walking, talking, moving billboards. You can go with biz formal or super casual, but ensure everyone’s style is cohesive and looks sharp.

If you really want to go the adventurous route, you can try themed attire for a memorable experience. Think of your crew as the cast of a popular TV show but with your characters, brand messaging, and narrative. You could even opt for interesting headgear that catches attention, as long as you’ve got a way to align it well with your brand.

Networking Power Moves: Preparation is Everything

For many people, networking can feel overwhelming. The trick is to equip yourself ahead of time by preparing strategies to help you mingle more naturally.

Use a memorable hook in your introductions, express a genuine interest when conversing with others, and devise meaningful methods of following up after the event.

Speak Out: Take the Stage and Share Something Valuable

The great thing about speaking at a conference is that you are then positioned as a credible authority in the eyes of attendees, and your visibility is higher.

People know who you are and will search out your booth. Yes, public speaking can be a little daunting, but if there’s something on the conference agenda you can tackle with confidence, offer yourself up as tribute and ask to be a speaker.

Art of the Follow-Up: Encore Please

Once the conference is over, follow up like an encore. You want to make sure it counts and turn those brief moments of interaction into long-lasting relationships.

Do it using personalized emails, connecting through socials like LinkedIn, or going old school and sending out a thank-you note via snail mail. However you choose to reconnect, make it good!

Finally, remember that you don’t need to break the bank or use gimmicks to create a memorable conference experience for your brand. Be thoughtful and creative, using a mix of tried-and-true strategies that are proven to work.

Looking to make your booth the talk of the next show? Let’s chat.

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