Despite the popularity of the internet, real estate tradeshows and expos remain among the most effective methods for showcasing your business, forging new partnerships and meeting with potential clients.

This classic PR option is still relevant in today’s connected world, and the most successful and innovative real estate agents know how to combine technology with a little creativity to attract even more attention.

With Inman Connect New York coming up in January, we wanted to give you some ideas on how to make an impact at ICNY and other trade shows, with or without a booth.

Booth dwellers

If you are going to have a booth at any trade show, you need some high-tech options to grab the attention of attendees meandering around. Here are four tips:

Use digital signage

One of the first things a prospective client sees about your booth is the signage displaying your brand name and logo. Plain, drab or boring signs are your cheapest options, but they accomplish very little in the way of drawing attention.

Instead, utilize digital signage to make the biggest impact possible.

Bright lights and cool colors will instantly set your booth apart from the others around you.

Make your booth interactive

Flashy lights and digital graphics won’t be effective if you don’t have anything to back them up.

With technology reaching nearly every corner of our personal and professional lives, it makes sense to utilize it as much as possible in the design of your booth. In the real estate industry, next-gen technology is usable for:

  • Showing off aerial maps
  • Designing custom homes via CAD software
  • Providing virtual tours of established properties

You might even be able to close a deal without leaving the trade show floor. But it’s critical that you staff your booth with employees who know how to use the technology at hand.

Some of your potential clients are already familiar with computers, tablets and digital kiosks, but others might not be comfortable using these devices without guidance.

Not only will technology make it easier to promote your current market offerings, but it also helps you connect with customers and deliver greater service across the board.

Share content on social media

When used effectively, modern social media is very complementary to the typical tradeshow booth.

It gives you with a way to stay connected with prospective clients after the event ends, and you can use the web apps and utilities offered by these sites to inject more functionality into your trade show presence.

Instagram, for example, is a great way to give photo-driven updates while an event is happening. Take some time to design a frame — complete with your company name, logo and color scheme — for even more fun and excitement.

Other sites, including Facebook, offer live video feeds and alternative ways to connect with your audience.

Make sure you check to see if the trade show has any hashtags you should use (hint: #ICNY) to showcase your social media content to all attendees and social media watchers.

Distribute techie business cards

Business cards are one of the oldest, most traditional means of advertising a company, but they’re still effective.

Typically, paper business cards are the perfect medium for stuffing the wallets and purses of potential clients. Given the current level of technology, companies are experimenting with new and exciting promotional items.

USB keychains, video game devices and even miniaturized computer keyboards are all available as alternatives to the business card.

Such gadgets are highly popular among consumers. They provide a useful purpose, and they’re affordable enough that companies can have them mass produced and distributed as free promotional items at trade shows, seminars and conferences — and who doesn’t like free stuff?

Networking without a booth

Plenty of networking opportunities exist for real estate agents who maintain their own booth, but it’s not the only way to get noticed at a trade show or event.

Instead of setting up an installation and waiting for people to come to you, you can be proactive and try to find others first. Here are a few tips to help you be prepared.

Bring your laptop or tablet and smart phone

As always, it’s important to show up to an event fully prepared. You wouldn’t go to a job interview without a copy of your resume handy; it’s important that you have all of your materials ready.

Laptops, tablets and notebook computers make it easier than ever before to show off a digital portfolio or add new contacts to your online network — even your smartphone will work in a pinch.

Use an app such as My Contacts to ensure you save all your new contacts’ names properly.

Also, check to see if the event has an app. Each Inman Connect has an app that you should download and checkout well before the event begins to help you plan your time.

Make arrangements ahead of time

It’s one thing to attend a trade show with the hopes of meeting certain people, but it’s a different matter when you have a clear plan.

The internet makes it easy to find and connect with possible attendees before an event happens, and you can also use apps like Blizzabo, Charlie and Switch to increase your chances of making productive contacts.

Check out Inman Coast to Coast to see who’s talking about the event. If there’s someone on your must-meet list, why not send him or her a note ahead of time and see if he or she is free for coffee?

Locate and attend similar events

Modern technology is a great way to find other, similar events.

While at ICNY, look out for vendor parties and other events outside of the main stage. Those outside events are great ways to deepen the connection you’ve made with other professionals at the conference during the day.

After the show, apps like Meetup are free to download and use, and many of them categorize your search results according to:

  • Schedule
  • Subject matter
  • Location

Use these events to further the connections you’ve made with professionals in your area.

Remember, you don’t necessarily need a booth to make a big impression at your next trade show or industry conference.

Simply showing up to the event prepared and motivated might be enough to get your name out there and make your presence known among peers and new business contacts alike.

Try these tips at your next trade show for optimum networking and exposure.

Kayla Matthews covers smart technology and future trends for websites like VentureBeat, Curbed and Motherboard. You can read more posts by Kayla on her personal tech blog: Productivity Bytes.

Email Kayla Matthews

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