Is attending trade shows on your organization’s agenda for the year? They are great opportunities to get your brand out there and to get to know other companies and groups that work in your industry. You have a chance to get your message out to a very receptive audience whereas other marketing goes out to a larger group of people but many may not have any interest. Typically, nearly 32% of the average company’s marketing budget will be spent each year on trade show booths and materials. The only problem with this is that while nearly $24 billion is spent each year on exhibit design and other trade show work, at least 70% of companies do not have an actual plan for what they want to accomplish when they use exhibit design services or even attend the trade show.
- Plan your exhibit design. Do you want to use an interactive exhibit design service? Your custom exhibit design is a lot like a giant business card. It will be your face for the duration of the trade show. You also need to plan what materials you will bring and showcase in your trade show booth. Do you have promotional materials that you are going to give away? If you do, think about what the other attendees will need. People always need pens and pads. Also think of fun things that they will take with them and use so that you can get the most from your marketing and promotional items. Think about what you are trying to accomplish and decide how you are going get that done.
- Do work on marketing before the trade show. The minute you reserve your space at a trade show, you need to start sending out information about your attendance. You need to promote yourself and the fact that you will be at the trade show. Every time you have new information, send that out via your social media channels. When you sign up, put that information out. When you get your booth space and location, put that out. If you really like your exhibit design, you can put something out about that. If this is a trade show you attend every year, make it a point to reach out to colleagues or prospective clients that you know will be at the trade show and let them know you will be there and where you will be able to be found.
- Get your staff ready. The staff you have going and who will be working in your trade show booth need to be trained. They need to stay on message. Make sure they understand what you are trying to accomplish by attending the trade show. If you have a new product that you are introducing or a event you are announcing, the staff that is going to be working in the trade show booth needs to know everything about it. At least they need to know what you want prospective clients and customers to know about it. Make sure you have enough people to adequately staff the booth. Your people need breaks and to walk around the trade show themselves. When you pick staff to go to the trade show, send your staff who good at dealing with the public.
- Your work does not end when the trade show is over. Follow up with people and organizations who showed an interest in what you do and produce. Send out photos and information about your participation. If people expressed an interest in your booth, make sure someone follows up with them within one to two days after the end of the trade show. Make that a phone call, not an email. You need to act when the iron is hot, so to speak. You can undo a lot of your hard work and progress that you may have made at the trade show if you do not follow up with leads or use your participation at the trade show to promote your brand.
Trade shows can be great to expand your client base and raise awareness of your brand.