Being a vendor at a trade show involves a lot of time and money, so having a successful outcome is important.
Consider these five things to achieve the best results of your trade show efforts:
1. Pre-Show Marketing
You put all this time and money into planning your booth and what you’ll do at the show, but there is a huge marketing opportunity that you can do weeks even months in advance to prepare for success.
Let your current customers and prospects know you’ll be at the show. Create excitement and anticipation of what others can expect to see from you at the show with sneak peaks of what you’ll be promoting or giving away via social media. If you have access to a list of attendees who will be there, email or snail mail them with a personal invitation to your booth. Include an incentive for why they should stop by and say hi.
About 70% of show attendees plan ahead on which booths they’re going to visit*
2. Less is More When There’s a Lot
And there is definitely a lot going on at a trade show. A clean and open space is very welcoming in a world of sensory overload, so keep your both simple. Allow room for people to come into your booth. You’re space should elevate your brand but shouldn’t be so jammed pack with info that it causes sensory overload to anyone scanning over you. Keep it simple but engaging enough to attract passerbys. Once they’re there, you can talk to them more about their needs and offer brochures or flyers with more detailed info on your offerings.
3. Meaningful and Memorable Giveaways
Pens, mints, and bottles of water are all great things people expect to receive at a tradeshow, but they easily get lost amongst the millions of other pens or tossed in the trash after consumed. Find a meaningful giveaway that you can brand with your logo that people will want to keep. Perhaps a reusable cup, notebook, or USB thumb drive. With some creativity, you can get even more personal based on your industry. Attending The Car Wash Show? Attach your logo on some matchbox cars and pass them out. Setting up a booth at the Design-Build Conference & Expo? Handout branded Jenga sets to the first 50 guests to stop by. The goal here is to give your customers something they’ll hold on to and remember you for long after the event.
Also be mindful of size. Too small and it might get lost in the bag of other goodies. Too big and it gets bothersome to carry around all day, plus they might have limited luggage space to bring things home if they flew in from out of town.
Here’s one example of a project Nova did for a client’s trade show. Pre-show marketing incentivize attendees to stop by the booth for a chance to win prizes and get their picture with a real crash test dummy. The overall theme was fun and engaging, yielding a memorable experience for attendees while the client was able to capture new leads and contacts.
4. Have Fun at your Trade Show
Attendees of a trade show are generally there to learn and expand their knowledge of whatever industry they are in, but that doesn’t mean they’re not looking to have fun. Attract people to your booth with games and prizes. But get creative with it. Try to brainstorm and come up with ideas no one else is doing. Being considerate of your brand image is always important, but trade shows are the perfect time and place to get a little crazy with it.
5. Post-Show Follow Up
Hopefully your presence at the trade show was successful enough to bring some traffic into your booth and present you with some possible leads. But don’t wait for them to contact you. Follow up with those you met with a personal email. Don’t send out a generic eblast that goes to every email you collected. Letting them know the connection you made was meaningful is the first step to maintaining a meaningful customer relationship.
You can then follow up with other contacts via an eblast or by adding them to your general marketing list.
So when planning your next trade show, think of the experience from before, during and after. First, come up with your company’s goal for the outcome of the show. Then look at the 5 points listed above and ask how you can achieve your goal through these five things. You don’t have to do it alone! Contact us to talk more about your next trade show.