The Road to a Successful Trade Show Experience

Businesses of all natures and sizes aim to take part in trade show exhibitions at every opportunity they get. While there are numerous other avenues to market a brand and product (such as conferences, seminars, webinars, networking meetings, etc) none of them are quite as successful and economical as trade shows. This is because trade shows equalize the playing field for both smaller and larger firms by bringing all businesses to the same level with similar sized booths. Trade shows present the perfect opportunity for a start-up to compete for the same audience that a well-established enterprise caters to. However, to capitalize on that opportunity, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning to partake in a trade show. Here we’ve gone over some highly effective tips for trade show exhibitors to take advantage of. Pay attention to these and we guarantee you’ll pave the road all the way to a successful trade show experience.

Select the Best Events to Exhibit At

When thinking about trade show exhibits, determine the best one to participate in. Depending on your niche industry and business expertise, there are more than a few trade shows that take place within a year. Based on the location of your business, there may be trade show events that are in your vicinity and others that are at quite a geographical distance.

Take into consideration the size, magnitude and outreach of the trade show in order to correctly identify the marketing opportunity and possible benefits it presents before you finalize your registration for it.

A good idea is to scout the events well in advance so that you have plenty of time to plan and execute the perfect trade show exhibit.

Know Why You Are There

Once you’ve decided on the trade show you wish to exhibit your products and services at, it’s time to define certain parameters. To make the most out of the opportunity with your trade show exhibit, it’s essential that you determine the reason why you’re there in the first place. If you don’t create a plan with tangible goals and strategy you’ll never be able to profit from the event.

Understand and outline the reasons why you would want to be present at the trade show in the first place. Define your goals and know your potential avenues for success and how they will affect your business. Once you have that understanding, you can execute a plan for success.

Understand Your Target Audience

A trade show is the perfect opportunity for a business to meet with potential customers to increase their business outreach. To do this, you need to have a great understanding of your audience.

It’s important for business owners to understand that each event caters to and draws a particular audience and that sometimes the audience that an event attracts may not be the kind that your business targets. It’s crucial that you scout the type of audience that will be present at the trade show and determine whether it will result in any ROI for your business. Then you can tailor your marketing tactics to intrigue and motivate that audience for profitable returns.

Take Inspiration From Others

When planning a trade show, it’s always a good idea to take inspiration from veterans in the industry, especially those that specialize in your particular niche. Competitor research is key. There’s a reason why some businesses are particularly successful in their trade show exhibits. If you know of something a competitor does really well, then it might be a good idea to research and observe their exhibit to learn how to improve your own.

Outline Event Plans

All trade show exhibitors should have detailed outlines of all aspects of the event mapped out. Before you kick off the execution phase of event management, you should extensively cover the outlining of the event on paper.

It’s a good idea to pay particular attention to details such as travel accommodations and expenses, logistics, shipping details, promotion and advertisement requirements, activities, marketing and sales materials, booth displays and set-up essentials including the graphics and décor along with the gifts, contests, and giveaway materials for the audiences. It is in your favor to contact organizers and fellow participants for referrals and sponsorship opportunities, along with conferences, roundtable discussions and seminar presentation prospects.

Script the Trade Show Experience For Flawless Execution

Most people do a great job of pre-planning the event and pay close attention to the appearance and presentation of their booth. However, they fail to actually execute their devised plan on the day of the event. While it’s necessary to have an optimal trade show booth, it’s equally important to have a well-trained staff on hand to generate effective leads and help your business profit.

Expert trade show exhibitors write down a detailed script for the day of the event and practice it plenty of times during the days leading up to the event itself to prevent any mishaps on the day of. Unless you know the definitive ins and outs of what you and your staff are supposed to be doing on the days of the trade show, you cannot expect flawless execution and ultimate success.

Pay Attention to Post-Event Details

A trade show isn’t successful or in any way profitable for an organization if the generation of leads begins and ends with the exhibit itself. Once you are done with the exhibition, it’s essential that you kick things into high gear in terms of data collection and analysis.

Measure, note and quantify your results to accurately establish the ROI – analyze and compare data based on your budget and ROI expectations, which you should have determined well beforehand. Once you have that, you can quantify your growth and successes at the trade show event. Once the exhibit is over, follow up with your clients in a timely fashion as promised to effectively capture their business. Put together packages, materials and proposals and send them out as soon as possible. Reach out to your leads in the next few days following the event to set up meetings to further discuss future business opportunities.

Lastly, share your results of expectations vs. reality executions with the members of your team – whether it’s a success or not, utilize the collected data to improve your next trade show exhibit.

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