Running a trade show booth can be an expensive endeavor, but it’s one of the best ways your company can reach new customers and promote your brand face-to-face. Follow this playbook to ensure a great return on your trade show investment.
The Game Plan: Pre-Show
Establish clear, measurable objectives for the trade show, such as:
Generating 200 leads/prospects
Introducing a new product/service to 100 prospective buyers
Upselling 50 existing clients
Meeting 25 new distributors, suppliers, and industry contacts
Pre-show promotions increase booth traffic by 30%.
Use social media to preview promotions or contests.
Send email and direct mail invites to specific targets.
Offer a promotional product to visitors who mention your invite.
76% of trade show attendees plan their booth visits in advance.
Your booth staff should be well-versed on:
Your company’s mission and products/services
The company’s trade show goals and their role in achieving them
Your company’s value proposition
Prospective customers and their needs
The Booth staff’s apparel should match your company’s brand image. Is your brand best represented to this audience with performance athletic apparel, branded polos and khakis, or suits and ties?
Choose a professional and coordinated look.
Incorporate company logos and colors.
Consider what will work for both men and women booth staff.
The Water Boy
Schedule breaks away from the booth where staff can rest.
Bring water and snacks to spend less on expensive convention center refreshments.
Game Time – At the Trade Show
The Playing Field: Design displays that quickly articulate your company’s product/service and provide a compelling reason for the prospect to stop in.
o Food, drinks and branded giveaways
o Interactive touchscreens (if you’ll have strong WI-FI)
o Fatigue-reducing carpet pads
The average attendee spends 8.3 hours visiting show exhibits.
Know your audience: Who’s attending the trade show? Why are they attending?
How can you best engage and help them? Partner with expo hosts to get the previous year’s visitor data to better target your exhibiting strategy.
78% of trade show visitors travel more than 400 miles to attend the show.
46% of attendees have executive or upper management positions at their companies.
The Game: Generate buzz to drive visitors to your booth.
Host games and contests for giveaways.
Offer time-limited discounts to attendees.
Give away a unique or useful promotional product that they’ll ctually want to keep.
Use a show-specific hashtag and give reasons to use it.
Post-Game Conference: Post-Show
80% of exhibitors do nothing to follow up with prospects after a show.
Your team should:
Contact the most qualified leads within 1 to 2 weeks of the show.
Send personalized thank-you notes.
Send out promotions and offer post-show savings.
The Team Meeting
To what extend did you succeed in reaching your goals?
What would you do differently at the next trade show?
Did you have positive ROI? Indicators of success for pre-show goals:
Generating/leads/prospects? Look at quantity of new contacts.
Showcasing a new product/service? Look for positive feedback in audience surveys and media coverage.
Selling to existing customers? Check revenue from upsells and cross-sells.
Meeting new distributors? Count the number of new partnerships you established.
Having a clear, measurable plan to guide you through all three phases – pre-show, trade show and post-show – will help you get the most bang for your trade show buck.
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