Business Planning Process Planning & Strategy

How to Make the Most of Your Next Tradeshow or Conference Appearance

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As a growing business, a great and positive milestone in your journey is to attend a business convention, expo, or fair. Here you have the chance to network with other excellent business leaders and present the best of yourself to a captive, interested audience. This can inspire true creativity in your team, allow many to see what you have been working on behind the scenes, and also give you the chance to make your presence known.

Like anything however, it’s always best to approach this potential journey with care, strength, willingness and attention. You cannot take this for granted, because it is a real opportunity. No matter how friendly and welcoming the convention, such as Australia’s well-loved gift fair 2020, it’s important to make the best of it and justify your presence there. To this end, it can be useful trying to figure out your approach, to trim the fat, and to understand exactly why you want to attend in the first place.

With our following guide, we hope you can adequately approximate the best result.

Attend on Earnest

Perhaps the first piece of advice we should give as a grounding principle, and also as a disclaimer, is to recommend that you attend in earnest. Be prepared to engage. Don’t just consider this another marketing opportunity, or a means to achieve guaranteed pre-orders before the launch of your product. Those things may come in their own way, but attending to get involved, to give a talk, to unveil a product, to meet other businesses, and to connect with your audience are more valid and wholesome reasons for the most part. The more you can approximate this kind of attitude before you go, the more you can get out of the trade event.

Be sure to read the rules and regulations of the trade event, because that will also help you understand through what parameters the hosts are hoping to establish this kind of community meeting. Don’t attend thinking that you can bend everything to your will. It’s much more fun and much fairer if all businesses play by the rules and do so with positivity, because it gives everyone a chance and a turn, and ultimately makes the experience much more positive for those in attendance. Who knows? You may just have a great deal of fun.

Have Something to Show

Having something to show can also be a great first step to consider. You needn’t have to come with the most curated and innovate product launch, of course. Simply bringing up the launch of your new website, or social media pages, or even just showing some prototypes of your upcoming product can be enough. What matters is that you can contribute to the trade conversation, that you have something to display, and that you do so with measurable results.

This can also be a great opportunity to present what you have to show through an interesting format. Depending on how the event is run, you may have a chance to exercise wide creative freedom over your possible presentation. Using hired actors to help engage audiences to come and see your booth, product demonstrations, perhaps video displays and more can help you attract people to your booth or tent, and from there you can present that which you have come to offer.

Bringing something substantial, no matter how humble, can help you orbit the purpose of your attendance around a central point. It can also allow the event organizers to run a diverse and varied show, something where every business has something to offer. This allows for a creative and collaborative environment.


Spend time networking with other businesses, meet the leaders of other businesses you respect. Don’t be afraid! Most often, they do not bite. It can also be worth attending the talks given by other businesses to ensure that you know the trends of your industry and are up to date with the latest goings-on.

Networking also gives you the express chance to see other firms in action, that is other firms carefully curating their product offering. You can even see what philosophy they have used to help establish their presenting process. It might be that they’re interested in getting as much engagement as possible, or enhancing feelings of exclusivity, or simply connecting with the most affluent customers in attendance.

Networking helps you become part of the scene, and from there you’re likely to be trusted and considered a present part of your local industry. This can be a massive milestone for many humble businesses that are growing, but still consider themselves to be of modest appeal. Networking can also be a positive, fun process, so you can enjoy a little guilty fun in the process.

Give Away Free Merchandise

Merchandising is a fantastic way to spread your influence. For example, if you’re one of the first stalls a customer is likely to come across, you may wish to give your visitors a large branded bag with your name on it. If you think about it, all of the other merchandise received throughout the course of the trade event will likely be stored within this bag. That means that as your guests walk around the event, the branding attempts of other firms may be limited, and you will have a logo continually visible thanks to your smart planning.

Merchandise is also a great way to show the quality of your brand and how much attention to detail you are willing to give. For example, high-quality t-shirts with a worthy thread count and high-quality screen printing shows you’re willing to invest in the best where your customers are concerned. Odds are they’ll also get that impression. This is a powerful way forward for many brands.

Curate Engagement

Consider implementing presentation processes that allow for audience engagement. For example, a product demonstration is a great idea. Setting up your products and asking newcomers to try and use them, or showing them how to do so,is a great idea. For example, if you’re selling an innovative juicing appliance (just an example), you may arrange plenty of fruit options (well-chilled) and allow invited audience members to come and make their own smoothie. This may help you show just how quiet your product is, what the end result may be after its use, and it may help them stay familiar with your product. The audience will be engaged with this, because more than just showing them something, you are actively asking them to interact.

Of course, this particular example may not be the best, because giving fruit and food to a range of anonymous people you have yet to meet with potentially undisclosed allergies could be a real issue, and may be a nightmare for the event hosts. But you understand how the principle behind this idea could work for many different product types.

Curating engagement may even work in the form of a promotion. For example, asking people to like your page through your displayed connected tablets and then offering them a hefty discount on a pre-order as an exclusive deal could help them feel as though they’re being offered something worthwhile. This way, you develop goodwill alongside engagement and social media promotional standing. You may be starting to see just how careful, well-planned and respectful trade event practice can offer stacking benefits to you and your firm.

With this advice, we hope you can better establish a more conclusive and worthwhile approach during your first business fair attendance. Be sure to treat this process with the sincerity it deserves, and you’re sure to have a great time.

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