10 Tips to Make the Most Out of Home Improvement Tradeshows

  • Categories:

    Public Relations, Social Media

  • Date:

    January 9, 2020

10 Tips to Make the Most Out of Home Improvement Tradeshows

Public Relations Social Media

If you work in the home and building category, you’ve heard of the NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS). The world's largest annual light construction show, IBS attracts top manufacturers and suppliers from around the globe. Together with the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), North America’s largest tradeshow dedicated to kitchen and bath design, the event deemed “Design + Construction Week” takes over the Las Vegas Convention Center in late January, creating a gold mine of innovative ideas and valuable connections for anyone in the industry.

Effective teams invest months of work in strategizing and preparing for key tradeshows. Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on those plans (IBS, KBIS and other Q1 events) or just getting started, here are 10 quick reminders to help you get the most out of your tradeshow experiences.

For exhibitors:

1. Stand out.

With so many things for attendees to see and do in a relatively short time, you want to give everyone a reason to come and stay awhile, whether their visit was planned or spontaneous. Beautiful booth design (like these examples from Moen and Huber Engineered Woods at IBS) is a great start. Beyond that, focus on engaging and interactive demos and creative programming.

2. Give them something worth keeping.

Whether it’s cool swag (everyone loves a koozie) or educational material, make it lightweight and personal. From building science tips to a branded mini-tool, just remember that with countless giveaways to go around and lots of walking each day, the smaller, the better. You don’t want your measuring tape to land in the trash because its new owner ran out of pocket or bag space.

3. Develop clear talking points for your team members who will be staffing the booth.

Whether they’re talking to customers, prospects, investors or the media, your staff should be armed with nuggets that create a cohesive message for booth visitors. This will help you meet your sales goals and give attendees a great experience, no matter who talks to them during their booth visit.

4. Work with relevant influencers to stop by your booth during the show or take it a step further with an official partnership.

They could publish social media content or give a free talk at your booth (an event you could pitch to editors). For example, Austin custom homebuilder and influencer Matt Risinger will host Huber Engineered Woods’s 3rd Annual Best of Social Awards at IBS this month, with several hundred attendees expected. The event celebrates contributions of the builder and framer community via social media using Huber products and best practices. With awards for everything from ‘Flashiest Flashing’ to ‘Most Likely to Have Their Own Reality Show,’ the event also acts as a meet-up for builders and a way for them to connect outside of Instagram. Meanwhile, Matt will post about the awards and encourage attendance in the weeks leading up to IBS.

    5. Be strategic in your social media activity.

    Make sure your social media coverage aligns with your overall social media strategy. For example, if your social media typically targets consumers, your audience won’t engage with content that asks if they’re at the tradeshow. But if your regular audience and tradeshow attendees align, find ways to make your social media activity relevant and efficient. Create social media templates for branded tradeshow coverage, and leverage timely hashtags.

      6. Reach out to editors with new product news and thought leadership storylines.

      Before-hours media events and one-on-one appointments can help you build relationships, raise product awareness and establish a messaging platform for news to come. As always, value editors’ time (their schedules are unruly) and their chiropractor bill (consider the value of digital or print press kits for your specific story while acknowledging the load they’ll already be lugging across the show floor).

        7. Drive booth traffic.

        Help your customers and prospects find you in the big hall. Paid advertising through geo-targeting, publisher partnerships and show signage, sponsorships, lead nurturing campaigns and sweepstakes can complement your sales team’s customer outreach to bring new prospects to the booth.

        8. Work with your agency partner to maximize synergies and dial up marketing efforts in areas that will give you the most bang for your buck and time.

        How can you tie it all together, from demos, trainings and happy hours to editorial coverage, influencers and social media? Furthermore, think beyond the show to capitalize long-term: your agency partner can help you devise a plan to capture photos, videos and interviews, all of which can feed your ongoing social, content and PR programs.

        For attendees:

        9. Maximize new business leads.

        A big tradeshow like IBS or KBIS can act as a springboard for a strategic lead generation program. For example, can you build a landing page with a simple form to help contacts schedule a meeting? Meanwhile, don’t forget to identify brands for your strategic partner wish list. Reach out to contacts in advance and ask if you can set up a meeting on-site. At the very least, they’ll know you’re interested and appreciate your proactive approach. If you succeed in connecting in person, you’ll get face-to-face interaction and a prime relationship-building opportunity in an environment where relationships are on people’s minds.

        10. Be open to anything.

        If you’ve ever attended a tradeshow, you know the drill: jam-packed schedules of one-on-one meetings, seminars, showroom floor time, networking events and happy hours. No matter how much expertise you have, remind yourself you’re there to get the most out of the experience. Enter the week with an open mind, comfortable shoes and maybe even a few extra cups of coffee, so you can be ready to hit the ground running.

        Will you or your team travel to Las Vegas this month? Whenever and wherever your brand’s best opportunities live in the tradeshow landscape, we’re here to help. Contact me for help planning your next tradeshow booth or visit.

        Explore more articles from Wray Ward.