A company’s approach to their involvement in trade shows has evolved in recent years, due to resources available to consumers on the Internet. However these exhibitions are still unique to any other type of marketing and have great value for that reason. A trade show is a place that opens your mind and broadens your network of valuable connections. Vendors and exhibitors are brought together because of their shared interests in a particular industry, and both parties can learn a great deal about the other. As a vendor, you have the opportunity to connect with your consumers in a more personal way, and learn about the variety of needs and challenges those consumers face. You are also sharing space with some competitors and other industry experts who are trying their own set of alluring techniques that you could learn from.
The Holmes Team has had wide-ranging experiences with trade show events, both attending them as vendors, and helping clients execute their event presence and follow up to spur business growth. We have witnessed first hand many ideas that proved successful, but we have also seen some practices that should be avoided. Here is a list of tips from all of us, based on our trade show triumphs, as well as some ideas that we are excited to implement at future events.
PLAN BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Assess different exhibitor interactions, and visualize how your booth design and promotional materials will represent your company at a glance. Treat your display graphics like a billboard. Your message should be clear to viewers as they pass. Have a unique, memorable booth with exciting visuals, such as video or interactive features. Utilize enticing giveaways and the “birdfeeder effect.” Have unique products out front to get attention and bring exhibitors into your space. In their bags of “free stuff,” yours should be the one they reach for first.
Alert your social media followers and website viewers of your event attendance before, during and after the event. Share booth numbers, giveaway items and drawing information to encourage booth activity. This is cross-channel marketing at its best, and you should take advantage of these overlapping avenues.
BRING YOU’RE A-GAME
The personalities and actions of your company representatives in the booth can absolutely define the success of your event. You have three seconds to make contact with someone as they pass your space. Smile, stand up and welcome them. Be inviting, well rehearsed and informative. Have fun and make conversation on relatable topics beyond your sales pitch. These efforts will be remembered and valued when you are following up after the event.
THE SHOW IS DONE, BUT YOUR WORK IS NOT
You should follow up in some way within 2 days after the event has ended. You will still be fresh in the exhibitor’s mind, and despite the many conversations you will have, they will still be fresh in yours. Think of the long tern engagement that should follow every contact.
If you have never been involved in a trade show, first attend one as an exhibitor to experience it from the perspective of potential customers. Also ask other companies in your industry about their participation in the events. Again, trade shows are beneficial to a company’s marketing strategy, and no matter what your role when you attend one, the most important thing to do is learn. Learn what everyone else is doing to be cutting edge, what your customers want and don’t want, and what you need to do as a company to better your service and continue to grow.