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Maximising Speaker Slots at Trade Shows: A Comprehensive Guide

Trade shows offer a dynamic environment where brands can increase their impact through networking, showcasing expertise, connecting with customers and generating sort-after leads.

One of the most effective tools in your trade show toolkit is a speaker slot, but all too often, these can be the hardest activity to capitalise on. Whether it’s finding the right spokesperson, delivering an interesting topic or generating enough interest, there are many reasons why this paid activity can be one that marketing teams want to skip when there is so much else to do to run an effective exhibition.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the strategic steps to not only secure, but also maximise speaker slots at trade shows for unparalleled brand elevation.

Planning: finding the right opportunity

Meticulous planning is the key to success. When identifying opportunities at each event, consider the following key elements:

Keynote speaker: If possible, aim for keynote sessions. This prime speaking position often attracts a larger and more diverse audience. If this isn’t available, chat to the show organiser to see what other opportunities for speaking slots there are, or you could consider running your own on your booth.

Topical discussion point: Align your talk with current industry trends and challenges. Tailor your content to address the pain points your target audience is currently facing.

Catchy headline: Craft a headline that not only reflects the essence of your talk but also sparks curiosity. A well thought out title can significantly increase attendance.

Engaging speaker: Choose a speaker who is not only knowledgeable but also engaging and adept at captivating a crowd. An enthusiastic and personable speaker can enhance the overall impact of your presentation.

Leave them wanting more: Structure your presentation and any visuals to leave the audience craving additional insights or information. Don’t get bogged down in detail, tease upcoming projects, research findings or exclusive offers to create a sense of anticipation for what's next.

Timings: Strategically choose your session timings to ensure maximum attendance. Consider the peak hours when most delegates are likely to be present.

Before the event: building anticipation

Proactive promotion is crucial to ensure a packed audience for your talk, for example:

Promote through multiple channels: Utilise email signatures, social media posts and email marketing to create anticipation. Use consistent messaging across all platforms.

Utilise show media packs: Event organisers often provide media packs with promotional materials. Leverage these resources to enhance your pre-event visibility and promote your session.

Invite prospects: Personally invite potential clients or leads to attend your session. Offer them a glimpse of the valuable insights they can expect.

During the event: maximising visibility

Once at the event, continue to maximise your presence:

Advertise on your booth: Utilise your booth space for additional promotion. Incorporate your speaking session details into booth graphics and promotional materials.

Engage sales and education teams: Empower your sales and education teams to actively invite delegates to your talk. Provide them with talking points and incentives to attract attendees.

Drive the conversation: Include your booth number in your presentation and make sure the speaker is available on your booth after the session to answer any questions or to build on personal conversations following the talk.

After the event: sustaining momentum

To ensure your efforts extend beyond the event itself, implement a well-rounded post-event strategy:

Email slides/handouts promptly: share your presentation materials the day after the event. include a personalised message expressing gratitude for attendance and an invitation for further discussion.

Deliver nurture campaign: Implement an email nurture campaign to keep your brand top of mind. Share additional insights, case studies, or exclusive offers to maintain engagement.

Connect on Linkedin: Share the attendee’s data with your sales team allowing opportunity to strengthen both yours and your sales team professional network by connecting on LinkedIn. Personalise your connection requests with a brief message referencing your shared experience at the event.

What next…

There are multiple ways to maximise your spend at trade shows. While a compelling presentation will garner interest, an effective communications plan around your talk will keep your brand front of mind. Use this guide to bolster trade show speaking slots or contact us to help you maximise your trade show activity and secure those essential leads.

For tips on getting the best media engagement at trade shows, check out this article.

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