Now that increasing numbers of people are vaccinated against COVID-19, the country is starting to open up more and get slightly back to “normal.” In turn, there are increasing opportunities to exhibit at trade shows and get back out in front of potential customers.
If you’ve had a challenging business year due to the global pandemic and other factors, showcasing your wares at a top industry event can be ideal for generating new leads, connecting with consumers, and building more brand awareness. You want the investment you put into exhibiting to pay off, though, with the highest ROI possible.
Prepare Well in Advance
To get the best results possible from your trade show attendance, allow yourself and your team enough time to prepare for the event. There’s a lot to handle before the show, and you don’t want to rush it or miss anything. For example, determine your goals for the event so you know what you’re working towards.
Then, book in as early as possible to get the best booth spot and the handiest and most affordable hotel and flight bookings, if required.
With plenty of time to prepare, your marketing team can inform your target audience about your attendance at the show and develop ways to entice people to stop by your booth. Being proactive early on is a prime factor in achieving excellent results.
You’ll want to come up with and advertise some event-only special offers, too. Plus, there’s marketing collateral like product sheets, posters, and order forms to sort out. Don’t forget that your team will need to stock up on plenty of products so you can fulfill all the orders you hopefully take during the trade show.
If you plan to launch new wares at the event, this needs organizing, too. Furthermore, allow enough time to ship all your gear to the trade show venue to deck out your booth appropriately.
Find Ways to Make Your Brand and Offerings Stand Out
With likely hundreds of stands for people to wander around and lots going on visually and sound-wise, it’s easy for attendees to get overwhelmed and distracted at a show. When this happens, they’ll miss noticing some booths. To combat this, find ways to make your brand and your offerings stand out.
For example, place eye-catching posters, products, or decorations on the back wall of your stand and out the front to capture interest. Choose things that showcase your company’s point of difference and that you know audience members will likely be attracted to.
Pay attention to all the senses, too, by looking for ways to engage people beyond just visual strategies. However, avoid creating a stand that’s too cluttered, as this busyness can put people off and confuse them. Keep things structured, targeted, and professional in every way.
Interact with Attendees
Many people exhibiting at trade shows make the mistake of sticking inside their booths and waiting for attendees to come to them. This passive behavior won’t get you the ROI you need. Instead, find ways to interact and engage with those who pass near your stall.
For example, have promotional products on hand to give out on the day, such as fun personalized pencils or pens, customized drink bottles or coffee mugs, tote bags, notebooks, caps, and the like. Choose things that relate to your brand and its wares, where possible, as well as your business values.
Everyone likes receiving something for nothing. Your generosity is likely to be reciprocated by people being more open to hearing about your brand and how what you sell can add value to their lives.
Also, you might run demonstrations of some of your products, spruik great deals, or entice people in with information about a competition they can enter and the excellent prizes up for grabs. Be creative with your ideas and friendly and communicative with attendees at all times.
Follow Up After the Event
Lastly, don’t forget a key ingredient in generating a good return on investment at a trade show: follow-up. Don’t just obtain names and contact details of interested parties at the event and leave it at that.
Instead, take the time to call or email people who expressed interest in your business. See if you can provide them with any further information or move them further through your sales funnel, such as signing up for a newsletter, getting a quote, or following your social media accounts.
Trade shows are a lot of work for exhibitors, no matter how organized you are. However, if you follow all the steps listed above, you should notice that your results speak for themselves the next time you buy a booth at one of these events.