Deciding to invest time, energy, and money into a trade show appearance is a big decision. While it presents an opportunity to secure new customers, leading to higher sales, it can also result in losses if you can’t convert visitors into buyers.
To help ensure you get the most out of your trade show investment, here are some tips designed to give you the best experience possible.
Choose the Right Trade Show
The first step to a great trade show experience is picking the right one. Begin your search by focusing on shows that are for the product or service you are offering. You can use basic web searches to get you started, but you may be able to save time by connecting with industry associations related to your product or service. If you are interested in smaller shows, your local Chamber of Commerce may have information regarding nearby events.
Once you have a few in mind, do your research regarding the standard visitor. Some larger shows attract a lot of attention but do not necessarily bring in a lot of potential customers. Often, the show manager can provide you information regarding the previous years to help you determine if the event is a good fit.
Determine Your Goal
You shouldn’t participate in a trade show without a clear goal in mind. Participating in the event requires an investment of time and money, so it is important to focus on what you intend to accomplish. For example, you may prioritize sales, generating press, demonstrating a new product, or simply building a rapport with customers. By understanding why you are there, you can keep all of your efforts working in a primary direction throughout your time at the trade show.
At a minimum, you need at least one other person to support your trade show booth. This allows you each to take breaks when needed or steal a moment to check out the competition, without running the risk of leaving your space unattended. Larger events, with a high number of visitors, may require more personnel so that potential customers can be addressed in a timely fashion.
Make sure your staff is knowledgeable about the product or service, and fully apprised of your goals regarding the event. Focus on being friendly, upbeat, and approachable. It is wise for you and your staff to be easily identified as representing your company, so a standardized uniform, or a coordinated look with name tags, help separate your employees from the visitors.
Promote the Event
Part of your success is dependent on the success of the event overall. Make an effort to advertise your intent to attend as well as noting the name of the show. Mailing and email lists can be quite effective, though you may yield better results by contacting your top customers over the phone.
If appropriate, contact any local press about the event. Send out press releases to highlight noteworthy portions of the exhibit, especially if you intend to unveil a new offering during the trade show. Consider creating press kits and have them brought to the event’s press room area to raise your chances of being covered.
Design Your Display
The quality of your trade show display is vital to your success. You need to keep your space well-organized while also taking the time to make it visually attractive. While having some high-impact visual elements can bring in visitors, avoid overloading the senses with too many graphical details. Make sure you include one large graphic that can be recognized at a distance. Any takeaway materials need to be highly accessible and easy to identify.
Make Follow Up Easy
Prior to the event, create a follow-up mailer, email, or newsletter. That way, you already have the content you need immediately after the show. When collecting contact information, determine a centralized method for consistency. You can even use a giveaway as a method for collecting potential customer data, allowing the information to be provided directly by the visitor and deposited in a specific place.