Happy Expo West! Each year, more than 80,000 people come to sunny Anaheim for one of the biggest events in natural food. Regardless of your purpose there, the experience can be overwhelming. And if you’re not in attendance, you may be suffering from a serious case of FOMO. In either case, you can maximize your Expo West experience by approaching it with organization and efficiency. Check out these resources, whether it’s your first time exhibiting or you’re sitting it out this year.

If you’re there to exhibit:

Congratulations! You’re in for an experience. Whether you’re a newbie or a trade show veteran, you can always improve and refine your brand pitch. We love this post from SPINS, detailing how to get a buyer’s attention in a crowded environment. The key takeaway? Time is of the essence. Every word counts, so make sure you’ve spent time refining your offering, narrowing your pitch, and creating a “one line takeaway.”

Besides sampling your product and crafting great visuals, make sure you’re leveraging the energy around the event on your social media and sales channels. Make sure that your fans at home can share in the excitement, with insights into the new products you’re releasing, exclusive discounts and content, and more. And remember: keep the social media fan-focused. They don’t want to scroll through hours of Instagram stories showing all your new Expo friends!

If you’re there to observe:

Think the pressure is off because you’re not exhibiting? That may not be the case. With the number of workshops, presentations, and meetups, a person could go hoarse from networking. Stay on your game by staying hydrated, eating real meals occasionally, and having a plan. Review the floor plan and schedule before you go, and make a list of everything you must see and do.

One great aspect of attending without exhibiting is the opportunity to go a little rogue. Check out how competitors are displaying and talking about their products! Get feedback on your own product without identifying yourself as a founder or owner. And maybe even do some eavesdropping, to see if you can find out about the afterparty or mixer where an elusive buyer might be. Now is not the time to be shy!

If you’re watching from home:

Expo West may not be for you this year! That’s perfectly okay. FOMO is normal, but it’s much more productive to utilize the energy around the event for your own good. You can still follow the show hashtag, #ExpoWest2019 or #ExpoWest! Use these to find out what other brands are doing to exhibit, see the latest trends, and make notes about your plans for the future. You can also use the floor plan as a kind of natural products yearbook! Flip through to find peers, competitors, and potential partnership opportunities.

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