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6 Ways to Get More From Your Next San Francisco Trade Show

Planning to exhibit at a trade show in San Francisco? The Bay Area is one of the country’s top locations for trade shows and events, particularly for companies and organizations involved in the technology industry.

This can make San Francisco events a great opportunity for your business, but also a significant challenge. After all, not only are you exhibiting alongside small and mid-sized competitors — you may also be competing for attention against some of the country’s largest technology brands.

As such, it’s important to make the most of the opportunities presented at any trade show in the Bay Area. Below, we’ve listed six area-specific tips that you can use to get stronger results from events in San Francisco, San Jose and other major convention hubs in the Bay Area.

Exhibiting as a startup? Try attending as a visitor first

The Bay Area is by far the country’s largest startup hub, making it a great place to be if you’re interested in networking with established entrepreneurs and meeting people that can help your company grow.

However, exhibiting at a trade show as a startup can be a challenging experience. To get more from your first experience as an exhibitor, try attending as an individual first to get a feel for the event’s culture and a deeper understanding of what other attendees are looking for.

Not only will you leave the event knowing more about what to include in your exhibit — you might also make important contacts and generate valuable leads as an attendee.

Focus on what makes your product or service different

As the country’s startup capital, the Bay Area is full of businesses, particularly in the technology industry, offering every conceivable product or service. As a result, attendees at trade shows in the area are often bombarded with offers and pitches that, at first, can look and feel identical.

Interested in attracting attention? Instead of going with the crowd, focus on emphasizing what makes your business different. From culture to design, experience or customer service, make one key aspect of difference your priority and you’ll stand out in a crowded environment.

Exhibiting for the first time? Choose the right trade show

Because San Francisco, San Jose and other cities in the Bay Area are such popular locations for trade shows, they attract not only events aimed at consumers and the general public, but a variety of events aimed at more specific professional audiences.

This makes it essential to do your research before deciding which trade show to take part in as an exhibitor. Pick the wrong event and you could fail to achieve any results even with a flawless exhibit; pick the right one and even a plan exhibit design could attract a lot of attention.

The easiest way to know which events to exhibit at and which to avoid? As always, the experience is the best approach. Try attending a variety of events over the course of one year to develop a feel for which are the most suitable for your business.

Create the perfect pitch, then master it

Trade shows are all about attracting attention and developing an interest as quickly and efficiently as possible, especially in crowded markets like San Francisco.

Because of this, it’s important to have your 30 to 60 second elevator pitch absolutely mastered before you exhibit at any trade show. After all, a great pitch combined with effective delivery is often the difference between winning over a big customer or investor, and being turned down.

Before you even start to design your exhibit, plan and refine your pitch. If you have a unique or interesting product, consider making it into a live demo. Aim to stand out from the crowd in 30 seconds or less — often, that’s all it takes to start conversations with the right people.

Event in San Francisco? Stay somewhere central

Finally, it’s important to stay in a convenient area, especially if you’re attending an event in San Francisco. Although San Francisco is a relatively compact city, transportation costs can inflate your budget quickly if you’re constantly taking taxis or private transportation around the city.

Most large B2C events in San Francisco are held at the Moscone Center, which is located right in the heart of the city. This makes it convenient and easy to book accommodation nearby in the wide range of business hotels available in the area around Market Street.

For events in Silicon Valley, driving distances can become a major factor in getting to and from events, making it worth booking rooms and transportation as early in your pre-event preparation process as possible.

Reach out to influencers ahead of time

San Francisco isn’t just a major hub for the technology industry — it’s also home to a massive variety of social media influencers, bloggers and other people that can help your business get valuable exposure.

If you’re exhibiting at a trade show in San Francisco or the surrounding area and want to make the most of the opportunity, try reaching out to influencers likely to be interested in your product, service or brand ahead of time.

Often, all it takes for a major online personality, journalist or blogger to drop by your booth is a friendly tweet or Facebook message — both of which take less than one minute to send. Be as welcoming, non-pushy and easygoing as possible and you may be surprised by the results.

Let us help you create an eye-catching trade show booth

Interested in exhibiting at a trade show? We specialize in designing and building eye-catching, effective trade show booths that produce measurable results. Contact us today to speak to our staff and learn more about how we can help you get great results from your next trade show.

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