7 Smart Tradeshow Tips for Startups

As a startup company the path to trade show success may be clouded with the anxiety and pressure to succeed. However, the foreignness of a trade show shouldn’t thwart your desire to attend. Vast opportunities for financial gain and network connections are present. The following are 7 smart trade show tips will put you on the right path for victory.

  1. Plan Ahead

Trade shows are events that require meticulous planning, thought, and organization. To plan the first thing you need to do is set a reasonable budget that accounts for all related costs. The next thing you need to do is create measureable goals to prevent lackadaisical attitudes at the trade show. An example of a simple numerical goal is to increase sales on your featured product. However, one non-numerical goal that all startups should have is to develop and grow brand awareness. Lastly, sketch an outline of what your table should look like and ensure you have all of those materials beforehand and packed to take to the show.

  1. Get noticed
Author: Sergey Galyonkin  Source: http://bit.ly/13TRh88

Author: Sergey Galyonkin
Source: http://bit.ly/13TRh88

The trade show environment is an extremely competitive one, and to succeed getting noticed is key. If the trade show allows you to pick your own table, get there early, and choose the location you think will have the most foot traffic. High traffic areas will be near the entrance, main walkways, and even the trails to the bathroom. Next you need to astatically excite, try using colorful balloons, monitors, or even play some catchy music to draw people to your table. Once people are at your table they will need a reason to stay engaged. If it is within your budget, hand out swag that is relevant to your brand. If swag isn’t an option create an interactive attraction that will electrify people and create buzz about your table throughout the trade show.

  1. Approachability and attitude
Author: Philippines Outsourcing Corporation Source: http://bit.ly/17dSJ7N

Author: Philippines Outsourcing Corporation
Source: http://bit.ly/17dSJ7N

Your table looks superb, the materials you brought are exciting and informative, but the people manning your table appear unapproachable. Think of these people as tools, which if used effectively can propel your startup to success. We get that you are nervous, but this is the time to put on your “friendly” face. To help relieve the nerves, develop a list of opening lines to attract and help you interact with anyone who comes up to your table. Questions could be thought provoking, direct, or something even more conversational to break the barrier and help you connect.

  1. Establish professional connections

This is an ideal time to network and make professional connections. During the event you will be overwhelmed at the number of people you talk to. A helpful trick is after you finish talking to a person take a moment to write down a summary of what you talked about and who they are on the back on their business card. After the event dedicate time to connect with each person on LinkedIn. In addition to connecting with the people who came to your table dedicate time to network with your competition at their exhibits.

  1. Professional materials

Having a professional trade show exhibit sends a distinct message that you intend to be a serious competitor. Companies like The Trade Group specialize in delivering a wide variety of exhibit options for any budget. The sheer size of banner stands makes them essential tools, because they are so large the eye is drawn right to them and people instantly know the name of the company and any other information displayed there. Another exhibit element that can increase the professional look of your table is tabletop displays, which vary in size and design and can really energize your exhibit.

  1. Using social media
Author: Sean MacEntee Source: http://bit.ly/1wdTKSV

Author: Sean MacEntee
Source: http://bit.ly/1wdTKSV

Incorporating social media into your trade show affairs is a savvy way to raise brand awareness and generate sales. Before the trade show begins do some research and see if the show has an official hashtag. Let your followers know you will be at this trade show and with the hashtag let others know who you are. During the trade show post a picture of your table and entice people to check it out. Another strategy is to create your own brand relevant hashtag for the event and encourage people to take pictures at your table and share it digitally. You can motivate people by creating a promotion only those who share will get or by saying one random participant will win swag. To continue engaging customers after the trade show write down all the questions you were asked during the show and write a blog post afterwards answering those questions for all to see.

  1. Follow up

At the trade show you did a great job connecting with people, now you have to maintain and grow that relationship. During the event invite people to connect by leaving their email address, and after the trade show add all of the email addresses to your newsletter distribution list. In addition inspire people to connect with your business on social media. Now you have connections with all these people don’t be lazy! Email and thank them for coming to your booth, continue generating exciting social media posts, and distribute a timely newsletter.

As a startup your first few trade shows can come with a major financial learning curve. However, if you follow these 7 smart trade show tips you can efficiently display your products and optimize financial gain.

6 Quick Tips to Improve Your Product Photography

Product photography can immediately stimulate a desire or need for your product, showcase significant features, convey the product’s usefulness and attract your audience to learn more about it. Producing quality photos requires both technique and artistry. Following these six basic tips, however, will send you well on your way to communicating more than a thousand words through easily accessible photographs:

1) Lighting

  • Use a good source of lighting. Lighting highly influences the way your image appears. To avoid unwanted shadows and keep things simple, use a well-lit area such as a light box or natural light that does not require you to use a flash. You can use the web to search for places to purchase light boxes or find DIY instructions, to save money. While outdoors be mindful of certain conditions — what position the sun is in or whether it is cloudy. These all influence the shadows and effects you will get from the natural light.
  • Keep in mind that not all shadows or lack of light in a shot are bad. Consider your product, think about what it is used for, where it would commonly be used/applied, and let this influence the setting for the shoot. Dolce and Gabbana does a great job showcasing a pair of sunglasses from their line in an outdoors setting with natural light. The woman in the photo has her head angled in a position that allows enough sunlight to hit the glasses and keep them distinguishable in the photo. Notice that any shadows in the shot do not steal attention away from the product in focus. In contrast, Bacardi’s photo displays a bottle of liquor in a club setting with dimmed light. It’s evident that Bacardi wanted to get across the feeling that it’s product is appropriate for a nightlife party scene, and it did just that by presenting its product in a low light setting.
Dolce & Gabbana: http://djstormsblog.com/tag/frames/                       Bacardi: http://www.bhatnaturally.com/advertising/seen-and-noted-bacardi/

Dolce & Gabbana: Matt-Silk Collection. http://djstormsblog.com/tag/frames/
Bacardi: Turn up the mix (Print Ad). http://www.bhatnaturally.com/advertising/seen-and-noted-bacardi/

2) Backdrop

  • Use your backdrop to complement your product not distract from it. If you’re new to product photography, consider keeping the backdrop as simple and consistent as possible. Intuitiv uses minimal elements from nature in their product photograph to reinforce the clean, natural, green approach they take to their skincare products.

Intuitive skincare products. Featured on espostudio: modern product photography

3) People

  • Consider featuring models when displaying clothing and jewelry. Models give the viewers a general idea of how the product is intended to fit and provide a human connection. People tend to be more connected through human interaction. This concept holds true in photography; seeing other people, their facial expressions, body language, etc. can evoke emotion. When trying to advertise, it is helpful to lead people to building an emotional connection with what you are trying to sell. Adding a human connection, such as a model, will help achieve this. Take Pradas use of the female model to demonstrate an array of products offered. The use of the model in the photo helps convey a sense of happiness and confidence.
Prada Model Photo. Taken by: Robert Bejil

Prada model photo. Taken by: Robert Bejil

4) Scale

  • Give people a sense of how big or small the product is. By placing the product next to a common everyday object, people can better scale the product. In Apple’s commercial for the iPad Air, the thinness of the iPad is illustrated by comparing it with that of a pencil.

Apple iPad Air pencil commercial (Screenshot)

5) Varieties

  • Display different colors, shapes and features when they are key focuses of your advertisement. If you sell 57 flavors of ice cream, you may not want to feature just one flavor unless you are running a specific campaign that does require it. AM’s customers can choose from a range of colors when they purchase AM’s premium skate socks. This added value is clearly shown in AM’s product photograph.

AM premium skate laces

6) Editing

  • Review all of your raw shots in the largest view possible.
  • Consider what in the photograph is effective and what is not and whether it’s better to reshoot the photograph or edit it.
  • Once you have a clear sense of what you want to edit with software and what you wish to accomplish, then begin the editing processing. Bad editing can look artificial; so again, if you are new to product photography, take the best photograph possible and only edit what is absolutely necessary and that you are confident that you can edit well. Things like cropping, adjusting the colors, contrast, and brightness are simple adjustments that can make significant improvements to your photos. Before finalizing anything, it’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the proposed final piece. Getting the opinions of others can help you filter out things you might have overlooked while editing, such as over-saturated colors and slightly washed out images.
GIMP: Photo editing software

GIMP: Photo editing software

Placemat Advertising

Placemat Advertising Strategies

There are a variety of different types of placemats. Some of the common sizes include 10.5” x 16.5”, 10” x 16” and 8.5” x 14”. In addition to size, take into account a few different factors for your placemat advertising strategy.

Use Both Sides

Take advantage of both sides of the placemat printing. It’s fine to print on only one side but why not both? It just gives you extra space. You can use one side for a specific message or offer and the other side for a different one. Perhaps use mostly text on one side and mostly graphics or photographs on the other side.

Use a Logo

If you have a logo – use it! A logo is what stands out in someone’s minds. It is especially powerful when it’s large and in color.

Print in Color

Why would you print in black and white when you can print in color? There is typically no or very miniscule price differences between printing black and white and printing color placemats. Vibrant, bold, colors are by far preferable and more interesting to look at.


There is no reason to fear printing placemats. You don’t need to hire a designer or sweat through the process yourself. Instead, the best printing companies will have easy to use templates. Just upload your files and you’re on your way!

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