May 2016 - Hytner

10 Keys to a Highly Effective Tradeshow

Man holding the key to success

1. Target People Specifically

Define and target the people who you want to meet specifically by title or function. Aim to contact them prior to the show using any past tradeshow database or Twitter, LinkedIn etc. You can then contact them personally and/or use email marketing to invite them to the trade show.

2. Know Your Key Questions

Gather a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding your products/services and your company and summarise answers for everyone who mans your stand. This way, when asked, all the answers will be cohesive and consistent which is key for a trustworthy brand.

4. Booking Appointments

If you’re setting specific appointments during every spare minute of your tradeshow. Set them at random times…. like 10:35 a.m. People are less likely to forget appointments at unique times.

5. Be Assertive Not Aggressive

The line between assertive and aggressive can sometimes be a blurry one. To be assertive means to be willing to introduce yourself to anyone who walks by and being aggressive is not letting them leave or get a word in edgewise.

In order to be assertive, remember these three tips:

  • Be a good listener
  • Gauge the reactions of those around you, use your initiative and act accordingly – if you feel you can help in some way, take it upon yourself to offer.
  • Validate the other person’s opinions

When you’re presenting statistics or case studies, using round numbers can make it seem made up. Add a few decimal points, be precise; just as we mentioned with appointments people won’t forget unique figures.

7. Tell A Story

Storytelling has a profound effect on our brains and behaviour, it’s the key to triggering a powerful empathic response called Oxytocin – often referred to as the trust hormone. This neurochemical promotes connection and encourages people to feel empathy.

Without being too scientific, the key to telling a killer story is to:

  • Appeal to both logic and emotion by combining facts with a narrative.
  • Use metaphors to help the listener experience and visualise the story, and;
  • Always keep it relevant to the product/service or your brand.

8. Show Don’t Tell

A well-planned demonstration will go a long way in regards to capturing the attention of attendees; people often feel more comfortable engaging with an activity or demonstration than just coming over to start a conversation. Keep it short, lively and have a schedule lined up so people know when to attend throughout the event.

9. Clarity Over Persuasion

When it comes to buying, people want to know as much as possible about the product or service. This is particularly true for large or business expenses. In most of these cases, the deciding factor isn’t how persuasive you are but how much information you can provide.

Therefore, be clear and specific when explaining to people exactly what it is that you do. You won’t go very far with most persuasive, textbook sales techniques or marketing jargon, people are increasingly cynical and just don’t trust it. The real key to makes sales today, is clarity.

10. Brief and Debrief

Both briefs and debriefs are tremendously crucial to the success of your tradeshow appearance. Having a pre-show briefing allows you to draw focus to your key objectives, review key points and motivate those selected for stand duty. And after the show, you must evaluate your efforts, see what worked well and what didn’t.

It’s crucial to go over all of the details, obtain feedback so that in the future you can streamline your process, enhance your attendee experience and finally, further cement relationships with your team and partners.

During your debrief consider asking your team the following questions:

  • What were our original objectives? And did we meet them?
  • What problems did we encounter?
  • Did those problems get resolved?
  • What were some triumphs at the event?
  • What did we learn from this?
  • How can we improve our methods in the future?

Then rinse and repeat, as you’re getting ready to plan your next event you’ll have handy notes to help make your show an even bigger success.

Tradeshow Email Mailing List – The Right Way!


Tradeshows are supposed to be all about networking and building relationships with attendees before, during, and after the show. It’s no simple task, but, many times a few simple mistakes are all it takes to create a messy situation.

Permission is something very specific when it comes to email marketing. You must have verifiable consent to be able to send marketing communication. Those who haven’t given you consent are less likely to engage with your campaign and more likely to report them as spam.

It should be in your best interest to always obtain permission and thereby avoiding aggressive spam filtering or worse blacklisting (Source: MailChimp)

Using Data Collected Appropriately

There are certain methods of acquiring data that don’t necessarily make it appropriate to contact leads via mass marketing lists. This includes people whose information you have acquired but haven’t necessarily opted to receive your emails, i.e. business cards you have collected for example.

You can still save their information in your CRM under a clearly labelled separate list, of contacts you may want to contact some day in the future. With a simple message such as…

“Hi Jane Doe,

We met at such and such trade show, if you’re interest in our product or service etc….”

Segmenting leads and data into clearly labelled lists may seem like a fairly unimportant and quite lengthy admin task, but the benefits are worth it in the long run.

To be able to select ‘Unsubscribed Prospects’ in one mass cluster and send a strategic email – only aimed at clients that are at this point of the buyer journey – will be far more useful than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ email sent across to every contact within your CRM.

Create a Dedicated Landing Page

A dedicated landing page is a must for converting leads into contacts, and one of the many ways to obtain their permission to receive marketing emails.

All you need to do is offer them something of value  and worth their time.

Creating a landing page for the masses can be tricky, and with such little time to capture their attention (precisely 0-8 second before visitors leave (Source: KissMetrics)) use A-B testing methods to test a few compelling headlines. Also consider using short and informative videos on your landing page, it can increase conversions by 86% (Source: UNBounce).

MailChimp or Campaign Monitor

Once you have a landing page, you can use an email distribution tools such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor to send out a one-time mass personalised email with a link to your dedicated landing page.

This should, hopefully, convert a few of those leads into subscribed email contacts which you can then lawfully contact them again in the future on a more regular basis without being considered as spam.