Exhibiting at a trade show can help you get new leads, sell your products or services and even meet potential partners. It’s a great way to showcase new product launches, find new channels of distribution and meet important industry players.
Understandably, exhibiting at trade shows can be a big investment of time, money and effort for many. To make the most of that investment, we’ve listed our top five tips to make trade shows work for you:
1. Set measurable goals
It’s not enough to say, “I want to meet new customers and sell products.” Your goals should be specific and measurable. For instance, do you want to get 25 orders per day for your new product, or generate 40 qualified leads per day? How many potential partners or new distribution channels are you looking for?
2. Plan out your days and organise deadlines
Study the list of exhibitors, speakers, and breakout sessions. Determine who you’d like to connect with and contact them in advance via email or social media to set up a meeting. Plan your day from start to finish to make the most of the time available.
Take action quickly. Keep track of your own deadlines, such as being included in the marketing materials or trade show publications. Several months before the show, start promoting your attendance to prospects and customers.
3. Get strategic & creative with your event space / stand / booth
Book your stand space early so you can get a prime spot. A booth near the entrance ensures attendees will be fresh and energized when they pass by. Make sure you know the booth size and if the show organiser have any display restrictions, so there are no last-minute surprises. Some shows don’t provide Wi-Fi or charge a fortune for access.
Make the booth a welcoming space where visitors can come in, sit down, and chat. Who doesn’t welcome a chance to rest their feet at a trade show? Speaking of aching feet, don’t underestimate the power of a carpet and good underlay (the Americans are ace at this!). And look at hiring comfortable seating? Not too comfortable mind. We don’t want delegates taking 40 winks on your stand, but consider something contemporary and professional.
Lighting, audio, video, signage and banners are all great ways to attract attention and boost your professional image. You may only have 2-4 seconds to grab passing attention so consider moving images to draw the eye.
Make sure your stand is attended at all times and that you have enough staff. Important leads can easily be missed by exhibition ‘tyre kickers’ taking up your time so make sure you have enough staff to speak to multiple visitors during the bust periods.
4. Finalise your marketing materials
Ultimately you are there to promote or sell your products and services. And incredibly, this is sometimes seems to have been forgotten! This is your chance to educate and inform your visitors of what you have to offer. But this is also an opportunity for you to understand your audience better.
Glossy brochures and flyers, although they still have their uses, are quickly becoming a thing of the past at events. Sustainability is hot on the lips of most marketers a the moment as this is one key way to show off that your business really does care about its carbon-footprint by digitising handouts.
No one wants to be hauling heavy bags of literature around anymore. And for every handout thrust upon anyone within arms reach, is a potentially lost lead. Instead it is worth considering utilising event technology to capture leads and distribute marketing materials. Request Shed App works as a kiosk solution that can store 100’s of files including brochures, flyers, images and videos. Visitors can browse and send materials directly to their inbox which saves on printing, shipping and also gives you valuable information regarding the products and services that each lead has requested.
And if you are considering a more ‘hands off’ approach then why not consider Request Shed Connect that can do all this but on the visitors own mobile devices. A simple scan of your QR code takes delegates directly into your event media hub.
5. Network & Follow up
Be friendly—and not just on the trade show floor. The person you meet in the coffee queue could be your next big customer. People at trade shows expect to talk, so don’t worry about starting a conversation.
Within two weeks of the show, reach out to everyone you met to move the relationship ahead. Invite them to connect on LinkedIn, plan a lunch meeting or share some info about your business–whatever it takes to build on the connection established at the show.