Exhibiting your company at a trade show can be an expensive experience. With the investment required, it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity to reach new customers, collect leads and drive brand awareness.
Done well, a trade show can yield incredible ROI and become a worthwhile cost. So how do you ensure the hefty expense is worth it? Well, you want to make sure you thoroughly convey your message and position your product as the key solution to your customer’s problem.
Here are some more best practices for trade show planning to help you reach those goals.
Coordinate as Much Pre-show Marketing as Possible
Most sponsorship packages will include some marketing opportunities that take place prior to the show. Use every single chance to reach attendees who have registered to let them know 1) you’ll be at the show; 2) where on the show floor to find you; and 3) any special offers you may be giving out. The goal is to generate as much excitement as you can so that people make it a point to stop by your booth instead of hoping that normal foot traffic will generate enough leads.
If your sponsorship package doesn’t include any pre-show marketing, try to secure a list of companies that have already registered to attend. While it may not have detailed contact information, you’ll at least have an idea of which companies to research and develop some key messages for them.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Whether you have company employees manning the booth or you hire contractors, it’s important that everyone knows the message they’ll need to convey to each and every booth visitor. Keep things simple by focusing on one clear value proposition, and make sure to conduct training sessions to help everyone familiarize themselves with the product features. Every person should be an expert and be able to give a brief introduction as well as a comprehensive demo. If you did research beforehand on potential attendees, share that information with everyone as well as the strategic messages you’ve put together for each situation.
Location, Location, Location
If possible, sign up to become an exhibitor as soon as possible. While it means making a decision early on, it also means you’ll get more choices when it comes to choosing the location for your booth, which can make or break your experience. Avoid spots that are on the edges of the show floor because they naturally get less foot traffic. If you know where the biggest exhibitors will be located, pick a location near one that complements your product. They tend to attract the most attendees, which you can benefit from as a close neighbor and it’ll create an easy segue for people who visit those booths then follow up with yours. Also, booths that have two sides open to walkways tend to generate more leads since you get more real estate for your booth display and attendees who approach from two directions.
Hit ‘em While the Iron Is Hot
Trade shows tend to be one of the more expensive strategies for collecting leads, so every new lead is that much more valuable. Have your staff members follow up individually with people they spoke with so the conversation is a continuation of the one they had at the show. Avoid using copy and paste so that each email is personalized. Research shows that subject lines that include people’s names lead to higher open rates, and opening sentences that mention something they can relate to will have better engagement. For leads that you didn’t have a conversation with, try and offer them something as an exclusive benefit. While the offer may not be personalized to each attendee, it still creates the sense that they’re getting something special as a result of having attended the show.
All in all, trade show planning requires attention to detail and putting in the time. If you ever hit a roadblock and are unsure of what to do, just put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would you want to hear? What would you want a vendor to offer you? What would convince you to take on the cost of a new solution? Keep asking yourself these questions, and before you know it, you’ll be planning the next one with ease.