If no attendees know you will be there, your trade show efforts are essentially wasted. Most trade show attendees have a clear idea of what trade show exhibits they want to see before they get to the show. Strong pre-show promotion will let your customers and potential prospects know about your exhibit.
Make personal phone call
In the weeks preceding the show, begin calling your top customers and prospects to set up meetings for the show. Many people arrive at a show with a pre-made schedule and have little or no time for other booths, so it's important to get on that schedule as early as you can. Be sure to confirm all phone meetings a week or so before the show.
Send out mail
The show's management will often give you the option to purchase a mailing list of pre-registered attendees. Try a simple pre-show mailing focusing on one or two benefits of dropping by your booth. Offer some sort of incentive and be sure your mail includes show contact information, including your booth number.
Utilize the press
Send out press releases to trade publications and local papers that will be covering the show. Your release should highlight something newsworthy about your exhibit -- a new product introduction or a special demonstration, for example. You re going to want to keep many press kits handy for the show, and be sure to drop it by the press room so reporters can find it. Look out for show publications?.
Advertising in publications that are distributed only at the show can be expensive and ineffective. These publications are often overlooked by attendees.
Planning Your Follow-up Strategy Before Your Show
Do not wait to begin planning for after your show. Be ready to reach prospects with your follow-up message while the show is still fresh in their brains. Here are some tips to follow when following up with your leads.
Make follow-up a priority
80% of show leads aren't followed up. Lead following should be in your top priorities after a show, over just about everything else. Create relationships from the showroom floor.
Write your follow-up mailer before the show
Your post show mailing does not need to be anything out of this world. A simple note or a brochure with a cover note will do. Write it and have it ready to distribute before you leave for the show, so you can send the mailing immediately upon your return.
Qualify leads during the show? Rank your leads by level of importance and interest, and base your post-show efforts on these priorities. Phone your most qualified prospects within a week from the show ending. Do this while the thought of you is still fresh in their minds. Send everyone else some kind of follow-up mailing.
Keep your promises
Be sure that you keep any promises you made at your booth. Be sure to enough brochures and product sheets on hand before the show so you can send out requested information promptly.