For most businesses that decide to participate in them, trade shows are a great opportunity to attract attention, draw in new customers and boost current and future sales. Being a part of trade shows also gives you an inside look at the newest trends within your own industry, keep an eye on your competitors and helps you do some important networking.
As far as your business is concerned, it’s important to use some proven marketing strategies to ensure your trade show experience is a successful one every time out. Here are some ideas you can use to make sure everyone stays focused on you.
Any successful trade show marketing plan must begin well before the show does. You must create a budget for the show so you have a starting point and then start to build from there. Once you have a budget, you can start looking at different types and sizes of displays and exhibits that will fit.
It’s also important to create a detailed plan of what your goals for the show are. How will you know if the show was successful or not? Sometimes, people feel they had a really good show, but then the numbers and future sales don’t match that feeling. If you have detailed goals such as leads, sign ups, meetings or requests, you’ll know if you were successful or not and you can modify for future shows, if necessary. Be sure to include every single factor that you feel is important, so you’ll really get the most out of the experience and you won’t miss out on any valuable opportunities.
When you’re creating messages that will go on your booth displays, literature and/or other signage, think engagement. If you can engage prospective customers you will have a better chance of getting them to stop at your exhibit and a better chance of reaching your goals.
You can engage people with words or with bold graphics and creative designs. Consult with the company who helped you with your display to see if they have any useful advice. The fact that they are involved in trade shows as a profession probably gives them insight that most people don’t have.
Consider the Visuals
Make sure you consider the overall visual effect of your exhibit as a marketing tool. Things like backlights or spotlights, specific flooring, audio-visual effects or booth fixtures can help to draw people to your booth. The more attention your exhibit gets, the greater opportunity you’ll have to seal the deal when people stop and learn more about your business. Just make sure that you get a copy of the trade show guidelines and stay within them when setting up your visuals.
Offers and Promotions
Getting the people to come to you is certainly an important step, but it’s important to remember that just because you think your product or service is the greatest doesn’t necessary mean everyone else will, especially if it’s new.
That means following up the initial interest with solid offers and promotions is an important step. Try using things like games, contests, discounts and special events to sweeten the pot. Try not to overwhelm people with a bunch of different offers. Stick with one or two good ones and go with it. This is another way to engage your prospects and a great way to get contact information so you can stay in touch with them afterwards.
Represent Yourself Well
You and any employees you have working the show must present yourselves in a professional manner that’s indicative of your business. Obviously, if you’re at a tattoo trade show, you probably won’t wear a three piece business suit, but you should always act in a professional manner. Take the time to train your staff well so they know the products inside and out and will effectively represent the image you want projected for your business.
When It’s Over
The show isn’t completely over once the trade show is done. Now it’s time to follow up on any networking connections you might have made at the show, and contact any prospects whose contact information you gathered. You can send prospects an email with the option to opt in for a newsletter or offer more deals for referrals.
It’s also a good time to review the results of the show to see where changes could be made for next time. If you have any shows scheduled in the near future, revise your strategy as needed and get to work planning the next one.
Maya Norries, a blogging enthusiast dedicated to helping small businesses grow and prosper by providing her industry experience in all things business.