7 Steps To Make Your Trade Show Exhibit Smashingly Successful
You've decided to take the plunge and tackle your first trade show or exhibition. If you prepare ahead of time by thinking things through, everything can go remarkably well. Conversely, if you fail to plan--as the adage goes--you’re also planning to fail.
Questions to Ask
Here are three questions to ask yourself:
- What are the things that you need to focus on before you do it?
- How can you get ready to convert visitors into customers?
- What can you do to slip in some definitive branding?
Action to Take
Here is a checklist of 7 actions you can take to help answer these three questions:
1. Reserve your booth right away. When trade shows are announced, the booths are sold quickly on a first come and first served basis. This means that you have to make a quick decision on whether you’re in or not. Thinking about it too much might mean that there will be nothing to think about because you will have missed the opportunity.
2. Decide on how to use the space. When it comes to your space, assume nothing and read everything. In particular read all the paperwork that comes with your booking. Sometimes, tables, chairs, and stands for your displays come with the space. More often, all you get is the space. In addition, read some marketing materials on trade show exhibitions.
3. Get the right insurance. You may need to get General Business Liability Insurance if your business does not have it already. Insurance requirements and any related fees will be mentioned in the sign up documents.
4. Envision how you want to set up your booth. Do you want pop-ups? Do you want to go all-in with your props or gingerly step in and test the waters? When deciding, think about any future trade exhibitions that you may want to do. Perhaps, trade shows are the best way of marketing your particular business. Perhaps, you don’t really know, but are willing to experiment. If you’re not sure, then don’t overspend on the setup.
5. Staff the booth with your best people. Choose your best salespeople to sell at the booth, and outfit them with the things that they need to feel comfortable for a long day -- like chairs, anti-fatigue mats, refreshments, and so on. The main thing to keep in mind is to avoid doing things at the last minute. By deciding and implementing your entire plan early, you will avoid problems that will waste the potential benefits of your opportunity to talk to a large number of people about your business.
6. Decide on your swag. You don’t just want to just have posters, brochures, business cards, and staff to talk about your products and services. You also want to give away things that will help people remember your company at a later time. Remember, your visitors will be visiting many exhibits. At the end of the day, it will all be a blur. But if you leave them with something useful, they will remember you long after the details of the trade show have faded from memory. One idea is to design custom flash drives to help with your branding efforts. Another one is to raffle away some nifty piece of technology—an IPad, a smartphone, or something worth winning—in exchange for a list of business cards that visitors drop into a bowl. You will be exchanging a pricey, but irresistible, offer in exchange for a huge list of potential customers that you can cold call. In fact, you can use both ideas, too.
7. Announce your presence early. Send out press releases and put out any online or offline ads. Also, don’t forget to ramp up your social media posting. Be sure to mention your exhibition on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook well ahead of time to stir up some buzz.
Make it worth It
Once you decide to take full advantage of a trade show, enthusiastically set goals, make plans, take action, and review your progress as you go along. Sometimes trade shows work and sometimes they don’t, but often it’s not the show itself that is the decisive factor, but the energy put out by the team that sets up the booth. Following these 7 basic steps will point you in the right direction. Your mission is to make the trade show worth it.
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