For those of you who have exhibited at trade shows before, have you found the time and money put into the event worth it? Or did it seem like a waste of your company s marketing resources? Chances are, if you found events to be a huge letdown, you probably need a new marketing strategy. Even with everyone connecting and networking through social media, trade shows continue to grow in popularity because of the powerful effect face-to-face meetings with potential customers have. When people are able to put a face with a company, they are more likely to remember them when they are ready to make a purchase.
So if you are one of the companies that are feeling discouraged over exhibiting at trade shows due to lackluster results, these ideas to vamp up your marketing strategy are sure to change your mind.
1. Create a Timeline
Planning for a phenomenal trade show booth a week or two before the show is not going to cut it. Realistically beginning to plan as far as a year in advance will give you the time to properly market your booth without feeling frazzled and scattered by promoting your booth last minute. To ease the tension you may be feeling just thinking about exhibiting, create a timeline and stick to it. Make a list of everything you want to accomplish month-by-month and stay on top of it until the time of the event finally arrives.
2. Register Early for the Show
By registering early, you ll practically get to reserve any booth spot you want, including the high-traffic areas. The location of your booth can be a huge factor in how successful you are and how much traffic your exhibit receives.
3. Have a Goal
Before begin the design stages of your custom trade show display or picking out the promotional items, setting a goal needs to be your first priority. What are you hoping to get out of the event? Do you want to generate a certain number of leads or simply get people talking about your company? Know the answers to these questions in specific details in order to start your marketing plan off right.
4. Get People Talking
Word of mouth can be a powerful thing. If one person is excited to see your company at the trade show, there s a good chance they have shared this excitement with family, friends, and co-workers. This can by writing blogs, posting short videos to YouTube or your social media accounts, or by hosting a webinar. Whatever method you decide to use to get people talking, give them a reason to stop by your booth. This could be a well-known speaker, a hands-on demonstration, or spectacular promotions that will only be available at your booth. The more people are talking about your company before the trade show, the more traffic you can expect.
5. Communicate a Message that Resonates with your Audience
Triggering an emotional response from your audience, whether it s happy, scared, or sad, is a great way to stand out from other booths. The message you decide to convey needs to be short, to-the-point, and related to your products or services. Also, this marketing message needs to be consistent throughout all of your marketing materials, including brochures, signage, the trade show display, and giveaways.
6. Create a Follow-up Plan
One of the most important steps, and often forgotten about, after the trade show is to follow up with leads. Before the event, determine who will be following up, which could be the sales department, the person who got the lead s information, or from a manager. By following up, I do not mean you should in any way try to sell your products over the phone. That is a sure fire way to get these people to hang up on you and possibly screen your calls in the future. By contacting them after the show, offer to answer any questions they have or provide more information for them. Also, you could ask if they would like to set up an appointment to meet with you face-to-face.
With these ideas, you will be able to create a marketing strategy that will make all of your trade show efforts well worth it.
Is there anything you would also add to your trade show marketing plan?