This is the time of year for trade shows and just like any other marketing strategy, planning and goal setting is critical to generating a positive ROI from your tradeshow investment.
So many companies don’t take the time to strategize prior to the show and then the deadline creeps up and we miss many valuable opportunities. We’ve created a quick tip list for you to scan to help you get the most from your upcoming trade show.
Preparation and Planning is the Key.
Choose the right tradeshow and send the right people. Before you sign up you should know why you are attending. Having a clear understanding of WHY will help you maximize the ROI. You want to be where your customers are NOT your competitors. Sometimes they are both in the same spot but there may be other opportunities with a higher return where your competitors aren’t there. Think outside the box.
If you’re like most companies, the purpose is to generate new business. Then , do your research on the general demographic of attendees. If it will be 70% colleagues, competitors, and vendors it might not be worth it other than to show face. But if a large majority of attendees are from companies that could become customers or strategic partners then that is where your focus should be. If that’s the case you should consider sending executives, subject matter experts or speakers, and your business development team.
The best way to tackle a tradeshow is to spend a good month planning your method of attack. All tradeshows are different, but usually with various levels of sponsorship come certain perks such as the attendee list (GOLD), whitepaper submission, branding at the conference, and often a speaking role. Take advantage of all of them. You’re paying for it anyway. Once you have the attendee list, have a team go through the list and identify good potential customers and make a list for outreach.
Set up meetings in advance. The purpose for outreach of course is to do just that, set up meetings. Schedule dinners and invite a handful of potential clients. Plan a cocktail reception in a hotel suite and give a small (and very brief) presentation. Whatever it may be, make it fun and relaxed.
Branding is key. Think about how you look and be consistent across all area. Have clear prominent signage and check that its visible from all angles of the show. Your printed material should be consistent with the colours and branding on your signage and it should look like your website. People will check you out online on their phones while they are looking at your booth. Remember consistency in branding builds trust quickly and remains the key to building successful relationships.
Build relationships, don’t sell. If you are going to invest the time and energy to attend, send your relationship builders. This seems like common sense but the tradeshow floor is not where you will close a deal -its where you start a relationship. At the very most you should work towards scheduling a follow up meeting for as soon as possible. Regardless of how exciting the conversations may be and how deep the level of interest is during the event, remember this will dwindle substantially the following week when everyone is back to “real life.”
- Do proper marketing before and AFTER the show. Again, if you are investing the time and money, make sure you plan accordingly. Prepare some content about your presence at the upcoming tradeshow and host it on your site. Use all of your social channels and schedule various announcements as the tradeshow or conference nears. Use these social channels during the tradeshow. Tweet. Post on Facebook. Even blog if you can find the time. Have someone there taking pics and video that you can use for marketing purposes later.
NEED SOME HELP?
Need some help with your branding at an upcoming tradeshow? Maybe you just want to improve your look or add a little extra presence this year. In most cases, tradeshows are one of the best ways to meet and interact with new customers. Make sure your spend a little to have the best image and presentation possible – first impressions and consistency in branding will maximize your investment in the show.
Contact us for a review of your tradeshow assets. You can even send us a picture of your booth from last year and we can help you tweak and update the look.
How did we do?
Every customer we work with is an opportunity for us to build our reputation. Thank you for your business. If we’ve helped you with your signage needs please let us know how we did?