We’re almost to that season… No, not Christmas and the holidays, but Tradeshow Season. Winter and spring seem to be primetime for tradeshows. If you plan to exhibit at an upcoming tradeshow, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:.
1. Set A Goal – What do you plan to gain by exhibiting?
You spend a lot of time, money and energy planning for a tradeshow. Make sure you have measurable goals defined. You’ll be able to clearly track and measure your results in relation to the goals you set. Most goals are going to be either sales or communication related. Such as:
- Sales related – showcase your products and services, find the decision makers, influence customer attitudes, open doors for future sales calls
- Communication related – meet your customers, establish your company image, learn new industry trends, gather information about competitors, obtain feedback
For example, your goal might be to talk with at least 50 people of which you can qualify at least 10 prospects for future business.
2. Staff Your Booth with Trained People
Staff should be well-trained on your product or services, friendly, and well presented. They should also understand your goals for the tradeshow and their role in achieving those goals. They need to come across as friendly and knowledgeable to anyone who stops at your booth.
3. Create a Budget
Draw up a budget so that costs can be kept in check. Don’t forget to include display items and giveaways, such as banners, tablecloths, promotional materials and dining.
4. Create an Eye-Catching and Effective Display
You won’t reach your goals if nobody stops at your booth, so it’s vital to have an eye-catching and inviting display.
- Shoot for a high traffic location – look for locations near entrances, concessions, restrooms or near major exhibitors. Avoid dead-end aisles, obstructive columns, loading docks or other low traffic areas.
- Appeal to the senses – display your products or services in a variety of ways so that attendees can see, touch, hear or taste them. Use colorful visuals, employ background music or sound, offer demonstrations.
- Keep it simple – don’t go overwhelm with your graphics or “stuff”. One large photo or graphic that can be seen from down the aisle may have a greater impact than many smaller graphics. Use a catchy or simple slogan which readily identifies your business.
- Gimmicks work – Drive traffic to your booth with contests and giveaways. Offer incentives or rewards to attendees who bring others back to your booth. Give out crazy hats or bags that will be seen all over the show floor.
5. Promote Your Presence
No matter how good your booth looks, it will fail if nobody shows up. Strong pre-show promotion is a must. Studies show that 76% of all show attendees arrive with an agenda. You need to ensure that your booth is part of their agenda.
- Call top customers and prospects, let them know where to find you at the show or set up meetings.
- Send out mailings – include a small giveaway with the mailing to increase awareness. A simple magnet, card, or contest piece will keep you top of mind and is proven to increase attendance.
- Email one or two reminders before the show.
6. Be Approachable and Generate Leads
Being proactive at your booth will generate more conversations and thus more leads. Be proactive by initiating the conversation with the visitor. Use good opening questions such as:
- “What brings you to the show this year?”
- “What caught your eye in our booth?”
- “Have you found what you’re looking for at the show this year?”
Generate qualified leads by determining the following about your booth visitors:
- What role does this prospect play in the decision making?
- Can they use your product or services in their company or department?
- How long do they need in order to make a decision?
- Are there any obstacles to your company conducting business with this person?
- Gather their contact information
7. Plan Your Followup Strategy
Decide on your followup strategy before the show. You’ll be able to reach out to the contacts you made while the show is still fresh in their minds.
- Make followup a priority – it’s your number 1 task to make sure your tradeshow was successful.
- Create a mailing before the show that’s ready to send out as soon as the show is over.
- Qualify leads during the show – rank your leads while at the show and contact the hottest ones immediately upon your return to work.
- Keep your promises – make sure you followup on any promises you made at your booth.
This is just a brief overview of some things to consider before exhibiting at a tradeshow. For some creative ideas for exhibit display items, giveaways, and traffic generators, contact your rep at The Creative J.