If you come prepared, trade shows can be well worth the price of admission. In fact, trade show spending is predicted to reach over $15 billion by 2014, according to The International Center for Exhibitor and Event Marketing. With a clear goal, a strong call to action and a little practice, you can run a successful booth at your next trade show. Here a few trade show do’s and don’ts.
DO: Look presentable.
This may sound too easy, but many people struggle with this. Always stand up straight, make eye contact, speak clearly and dress appropriately. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to stash a few breath mints behind your table.
DO: Walk around and scope out other event attendees before the event begins.
If you’re alone, make sure to do a lap around the entire show to see what products other event attendees are showing. If they’re talking about a new trend and you’re focused on last year’s insight, make quick and necessary adjustments so that potential customers still find value in talking with you. If you have a team of 2-3 people working your booth, do some recon during the event and listen to what your potential customers are saying.
DO: Have a takeaway for your potential customers.
Always hand out some kind of promotional item that relates to your call to action. Giving away the right kind of swag might be enough to pull somebody over to your table to start the conversation.
DO: Have a clear call to action.
What do you want from your visitors? Whether it’s increasing sales, building leads or creating brand awareness, make sure there is a clear action item tied into your messaging and any material you hand out.
If your call to action leads to a website, consider creating a custom landing page that references the trade show. Always make sure it’s mobile optimized. If you really want to create a buzz at your table, create a hashtag for your booth and use it during the show.
DO: Learn from the best in the business.
Seth Godin is one of the most popular taste-makers in marketing today. He also happens to know a thing or two about being successful at trade shows. Check out his trade show strategies.
DON’T: Come to a show without a strategy and a goal.
Just showing up to an event and expecting people will want to talk to you isn’t enough. Establish goals for the trade show and then develop tactics to achieve them. For example, decide that you want to talk to 10 potential customers while you’re at the show. One tactic may be to contact the customer before the show and set up a time to meet in person. Now you don’t have to rely on chasing down people; you’ve already got a commitment to talk with a prospect.
DON’T: Show up unprepared.
There’s nothing worse than reaching in your pocket for a business card, only to find you just gave the last one away. Always be sure to have backup business cards and marketing materials. Also, be familiar with all of your products and services so that you can discuss them as needed.
DON’T: Leave your booth empty.
You never know when the perfect customer might be strolling past your booth. Not having someone manning your table could automatically disqualify you from competition. If you are attending the show alone, consult the schedule of events and make sure you are the table during high traffic times.
DON’T: Waste your time.
If you remember anything from your high school economics class, it’s probably related to a guy named Vilfredo Pareto. Pareto came up with the 80/20 principle, which says that 80% of the effects result from only 20% of the causes. In trade show speak: Focus most of your efforts on qualifying potential customers. You’ll likely run into a number of uninterested visitors who probably aren’t worth your time. But always be courteous.
DON’T: Forget to follow up.
Having a great conversation at your booth isn’t enough; you also need to follow up to have a shot at new business. Before the conversation ends, hand the potential customer a card and let them know you’ll be following up with them and how you’ll be doing it (phone, email, etc.).
Still find the trade show experience daunting? Stuck on where to begin preparations or what you want to get out of the trade show? Spindustry Digital has helped many clients strategize, plan and execute all facets of the trade show experience. Let our team of experts help you maximize your event presence. Contact our team for more information.