For many companies, the jury is out on whether attending a trade show will have a positive return on a usually substantial investment. It’s because companies struggle with how to maximize the investment. Here are a few ways to ensure your next trade show is a success.
The show starts now.
You’ve decided to go to the show, so get started now by letting people know you’re going to be there. You have three seconds to get people’s attention at a trade show, so you’ll need to give them a reason to stop. Oftentimes shows will give you a list of planned attendees. Use this list to send a direct mail piece that entices prospects to stop by. There’s also a trend to utilize social media to create buzz around your booth.
While you’re making connections, don’t forget to let current customers know you’ll be there. It’s great customer service to have them see you in person if they normally work with you over the phone.
People see with their hands.
You can stand there and talk about how great your product is, or you can let prospects see for themselves why your product is awesome. That’s the biggest advantage of attending a trade show. Remember that nearly everyone is caring an iPad or smartphone, so you may want to incorporate that technology into your trades how plan. QR codes are a great way for your prospects to interact with you after they’ve left the booth.
Send your best to the bigs.
Baseball players have spring training to prepare for their season and you should do the same for your trade show. People don’t do business with companies they do business with people. Your personnel at the show are the face of your company. Those that you send better know your company, products and the goals you have for the tradeshow.
Give it away.
At trade shows, it’s still all about the giveaway. Recent trends recommend that you consider a promotional item indicative of the region where the show is held for greater impact. Regardless of what you decide, make sure that your giveaway is something people will want to use so your brand stays with them for as long as possible. Also, consider an item that reflects the personality of your company.
The show’s over. Go home—and follow up.
Most companies exhale a sigh of relief after the show and go home to business as usual. That’s the biggest mistake you can make. Before you go to the show, make a follow up plan to contact all of the hot leads you will meet. This will give you the greatest advantage over 80% of the other exhibitors.