It’s that time of year again; trade show season. These meetings take considerable resources from your small business so make the most of your time and money with these top 10 tips for your best trade show season yet.

  1.   Pre Work

Two weeks before the trade show, reach out to your top prospects and media to set up meetings, dinners, or drinks. Even if you’re unable to connect at the show, you’ll get more visibility by being proactive.

  1. Open Up

An open concept welcomes foot traffic to discover your product, service, and message. Consider using screens and videos and focus product showcases to your newest, more exciting, or best-selling products.

  1. Post It

Dominate trade show social feeds by using the trade show hashtag. Post pictures, videos, and speaker’s quotes using the hashtag, and you’ll stay at the top of the show feed, get discovered by others, or possibly get shared by the show itself.

  1. Give Away

If you’re exhibiting, you’ll likely have a giveaway to promote your brand. If you’re going to spend the money on the giveaway, make it something people will use all show long like a bag or water bottle branded with your logo and booth number.

  1. Survey Visitors

Ask booth visitors to take a survey for a prize or a drawing, from which you can create other content later based on the results. Follow up after the show with the bylined article or infographic that summarizes the results.

  1. Recharge

Whether people are visiting your booth or you are networking at the conference lounge, you’re sure to make more connections if you have a charging station or portable charger that others can use.

  1. Media Maven

Trade shows attract customers, prospects, and partners. But don’t forget that you should also be targeting trade media. Have a story and reach out prior to the show to schedule an interview, or at least a chat.

  1. Train Staff

If you’re exhibiting or going to try some guerilla marketing, make sure you train your staff to be happy, enthusiastic and able to talk about your key messages and call to action. It may cost a bit more to find experienced staff, but who wants to waste the opportunity in front of prospective customers?

  1. Stand Out

Stand out on the bustling trade show floor by wearing something that is immediately recognizable. This can be difficult without looking cheesy, but if you can pull it off, people will want to meet you, making networking easier than ever.

  1. Follow Up

It bears repeating; follow up with a call to action. That means investing in a lead machine and making it a priority to scan badges. Make badge scanning a contest for those working the booth to be sure you capture every visitor.

Whether you’re just attending a trade show, or you’re investing in a full booth, a little preparation will make 2018 your most successful trade show year yet.

Image: Photospin