Six hot tips for better exhibiting Trade shows are very tempting. The idea of presenting your business to a large number of people in one place is seductive, and they can produce really worthwhile results. Unfortunately the sad truth is that many trade show exhibits are a sink into which lots of money and time are poured for little or no result. There is little doubt about the value of face to face connection. Although we live in a digital world, there’s no better way to create and maintain relationships with clients, partners and suppliers than sitting down together. One short meeting can achieve what weeks or months of phone or email can’t. Trade shows are brilliant for facilitating this, but to really succeed they require careful planning and strategy. Get clear on exactly what you are doing, and why. For ideas, check out shows in your own industry, and in completely unrelated industries. The aim is to surprise and delight attendees, so creating something completely left field could be a good strategy. Then allow plenty of time for pre-show implementation. Here are 6 tips to ensure you get value for time, money and effort at your next trade show.
- Know why you’re exhibiting Have clear goals for participation. Trade shows and expos are good for brand awareness, promoting new products or services, and introducing your business to a new crowd, but unless you have measureable goals, you’ll probably be disappointed. You might set targets for number of leads, competition entrants, number of new partner opportunities, closed sales for a special show offer, or value of sales directly from the show.
- Pitch to the right crowd Do you know who will be attending this event? Select your event carefully to ensure at least some of the crowd is the right target audience for your business. This allows you to craft appealing messages and event offers. Also think about what you can do to draw people to the event. Personally promote to your own database of prospects and clients with incentives. You might offer a special gift for loyal clients to attend.
- Stand out and engage with clear, consistent messages In only a matter of seconds you will need to get the attention of attendees and attract them to your stand. How will you do it? What “magnet” will you present to draw them in? Innovative stand design, information and offers that appeal to the emotions of your target audience are all important. Start with the key messages you want to send. Are these clear, simple, and consistently included in the stand display and collateral you’re distributing?And make sure all stand staff know and can present a 30 second show pitch with confidence.
- Collect leads more than one way Trade shows can be frenetic affairs, so keep your lead collection simple. Paper forms or iPads are fine for collecting contact details, but for speed and simplicity ask for name and email only. Old school methods work well here – using a raffle or competition to collect business cards is quick and efficient. Stand staff can take notes about the person’s biggest pain point on the reverse. This can be a great way to start useful conversations, and sort tyre kickers from genuine prospects. You can also use multiple prize draws to give your audience a reason to return to your stand. Then take photos of the winners and post on social media.
- Be selective about giveaways and perks Giveaways can be a substantial expense, so they should be imaginative, surprising, and ideally, relevant to your message. How many of us have come away from a show or expo with a bag full of product and literature that goes straight in the bin. If you’re planning a promotional giveaway, make it either useful to the recipient at the show (eg a branded bottle of water) or surprising or witty enough to be kept.
- Keep your display clean and uncluttered Nail that key message. Select one or two key pieces of collateral for display, and keep the rest hidden (for use when you have a relevant enquiry).
Lastly, don’t forget to check out the other stands during the show. Who’s busiest, and what are they doing? Add these ideas to the mix for your next tilt at trade show success. ExcitePrint creates customised packages of print collateral for trade shows. Check out what’s available here http://exciteprint.com.au/event-print-collateral/