JULY 10, 2020

As countries around the world ease their lockdowns, their governments hope that the return of trade shows will give their economies a post-pandemic shot in the arm.

China Joy is just one trade show confirmed to be taking place in China at the end of July, while trade shows in Germany and Italy have been given the green light to resume.

Trade shows are going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before, though – especially in the short-term.

Social distancing measures will have to be introduced, as well as cleanliness stations throughout conference halls.

Expect to see a lot of people adopting masks, wearing gloves and making only the most necessary interactions with booth representatives.

Which is only right. Measures designed to reduce the spread of the infection and protect human life at trade shows and anywhere else should be embraced by both exhibitors and prospects.

With the right approach, though, brands can still engage with prospects, collect data and build relationships with safe audience-led live experiences.


But first, you need to get to know your audience

The better you understand the people you want to attract at an exhibit, the easier it will be to pitch to them and attract them.

Even more so if your booth is built on a solid foundation of safety, with hand sanitiser in plentiful supply and surfaces constantly wiped down.

Having visible content that explicitly shows distances people should stand and how booth staff will engage with them during the ‘new normal’ will be the key to success. That can be done through floor vinyls, wall graphics, leaflets and other creative content.

Pre-show research will be even more important to engaging with prospects throughout the show. That’s where social media and a bookable web presence can be hugely effective.

Exhibiting brands can use social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn to speak to prospects attending the event to gauge what they’re expecting and what will be most important to their experience at the show.

That approach can also be used to direct people to a web page that allows them to book a time slot with a company representative, helping you to better plan the day and take into account necessary safety precautions.

Make the most of the tools at your prospects’ disposal

There will be only so much engagement that can be done at trade shows with social distancing in place, so think about what prospects are armed with and use those tools to your advantage.

It’s likely they’ll have smartphones with them. If they see a crowd at your booth on the day, they may be reluctant to visit or queue to see you. This is where virtual services can be hugely effective.

Featuring visible QR codes on or by your booth can direct prospects to necessary web pages and content online.

Another benefit here is they won’t have to carry lots of literature around with them – something they’ll appreciate, especially if they have to constantly keep their hands clean.

Codes and web links could also direct them to a bookable web page where they can schedule a call with a representative, or take them to a virtual hangout to talk to someone stationed at the office or elsewhere.

AR and VR can also be incorporated into your trade show presence for brands with a more creative edge; do your research, get to know your audience and build a position of trust through safety to be a success in the post-pandemic trade show arena.

Find out more about how to engage with prospects at trade shows by creating an audience-led lead generation strategy by speaking to the TAKEOFF team today.