Are you planning on attending one or more trade shows this year? You’re not alone. Each year, hundreds of thousands of exhibitors set up their booths in order to promote their brand, products and services. When done effectively, businesses can use trade shows to leverage new contacts and leads, grow their audience, and build positive relationships with their customers.
Whether you’re thinking about hitting the trade show circuit, or are in the midst of preparing for a show, these 5 top tips are things you can, and should, apply to your strategy right now to make sure you make the most out of that trade show.
1. Know Your Goals and Objectives
When preparing for a trade show, or thinking about signing up for one down the track, it is essential to know what you want the show to do for your business. Otherwise, it will be almost impossible to make sure you approach the show the right way in order to get everything you can out of it.
Sit down, preferably with your team, and map out:
- Your goals: these are the overall outcomes which you would like to see come out of the trade show. These could be selling a certain number of product or signing up a specific number of accounts, directly or indirectly relating to the event
- Your objectives: these are the actionable bite sized chunks which will bring you closer to your goals. This could be collecting a certain number of contacts, having quality conversations with a certain number of visitors, or simply have a certain number of visitors to your booth.
These goals and objectives will influence how you prepare for the show, from picking the right trade show to attend, to how you design your booth.
2. Set a Budget – and Stick To It!
If you have not yet set a budget for your overall engagement in trade shows, and budget for each show, do it now. Look back on previous shows to create an accurate picture of all of the costs involved. If you have not attended a show before, do your research online and talk to other businesses who attend trade shows. There are a range of costs associated with exhibiting, from exhibition costs and show service fees, to shipping, promotions and staffing costs, so make sure you account for account for all of them when setting your budget.
Then, as the show rolls out, make sure you stick to it by recording all costs as you go and comparing them to the budgeted costs. Make note of any items which have gone over-budget so these can be considered as part of your post-event review.
3. Design the Perfect Booth
A trade show hall is a noisy place, so it is important to stand out from the crowd and attract visitors with an effective booth design.
Some elements to consider when designing your booth include:
- Strong branding
- Engaging and interesting displays
- Interactive technology
- Creative and fun activities and designs to attract attention
A booth design from fretfreeproductions.com will help you to create a space which will promote your brand, sell your product and build your customer base.
4. Marketing and Networking
Although exhibiting at a trade show is a great marketing technique in itself, you should keep your event marketing strategy to just the event itself. Executing an effective marketing strategy in the lead up to the trade show greatly increase your chances of a successful event, through encouraging better booth attendance.
Leverage your existing customer base, email lists and social media accounts to promote the trade show and encourage people to visit your booth. Create interest in the lead up to the event with stories and videos about your preparations for the show. You can try creative ideas for incentives to encourage them to visit your booth, such as contests or giveaways.
Once you’re at the trade show, be sure to network as much as possible. These kinds of events represent a wealth of useful contacts: not just customers but also suppliers and other industry peers. Talk to as many people a possible, give out business cards and be sure to get their contact details.
5. Post-Event Follow Up
It is important to remember that just because the show is over, this does not mean that your work is done. The post-event phase is critical for solidifying leads that you gained at the trade show. However, this is also one aspect which is often overlooked by businesses who are too busy focusing on the next event or the newest project.
Follow up with all contacts and leads you made at the show within the following week. Make sure to add all the contacts you gathered to a database and reach out to them with a quick thank you email. Also be sure to pass all contacts on to your sales team and have them personally get in touch with them.
With a little planning, creativity and follow-up after the event, you will find that trade shows can yield incredible results for your business, from building your customer base to generating leads and promoting product launches. Make sure you apply the best techniques and strategies to maximise your trade show presence and achieve your goals and objectives!