The opportunity to meet new people and business prospects, along with the chance to explore what’s new in your field, creates eager anticipation about an upcoming trade show. As an exhibitor, careful planning allows you to maximize your return on the investment of participating. You have the benefit of a large, targeted audience attending, yet you’ll be just one of many other exhibitors. You must stand out and make yourself memorable in this highly competitive environment.
Here are a few suggestions to maximize your trade show results:
Inspect the show’s floor plan and determine if you are willing to pay a premium to choose the location of your booth. The best locations have superior visibility. So register early to secure the best spot.
What will your booth look like? Make an instant impression with your brand to passersby, and they will stop and engage. An attention-grabbing backdrop or flag, crystal clear messaging, signage and branded takeaway items are essential. Looping video presentations always garner attention as well.
Staffing choices and training are critical. Friendly smiles engage strangers. Is your goal to fill your calendar with future appointments? Encourage your team to converse with that goal in mind. They should gather business cards and promise the prospect, “I will call you next week to set up an appointment.” Then be sure to follow through.
If appropriate, offer an incentive to trade show attendees only. A limited time “show special” is the attendees’ reward for purchasing at the show. Or try a contest that allows you to collect lots of business cards with the contact info of future leads. Any kind of promotion will attract a flock of people to your booth.
Valuable giveaways are important to keep your business name fresh in prospects’ minds after the show. Promotional products are always welcome. A clever idea that ties into your brand is best. Sometimes the best giveaways are items that show your expertise in the field. Consider a proprietary industry report, free webinar registration or eBook. These offerings will also allow you to gather email addresses for future contacting.
Of course, don’t underestimate the value of food and drink as a way to make your booth popular!
Once you have your plan in place, start building excitement not only with your team, but on social media. Discover the official trade show pages, handles and profiles and start engaging. Let other followers know you’re attending, where your booth will be located and why everyone should come by and check it out! You’ll be rewarded with lots of new leads and enthusiasm for your business.