Preparing for a trade show event?
If you’re preparing for a trade show event, or deciding to exhibit in a trade show you need to know everything facing you. If your participation in the event is to be successful, you must be ready to dive in and get through all that needs to be done leading up to, during, and after the event.
To help you, I’m devoting this month’s Ferrante Speaks newsletter and blog to the subject. I trust that the insights you gain from reading this month’s newsletter will ensure your trade show success!
Ferrante & Associates, Inc.
Preparing for a trade show event is the key to success.
First and foremost when preparing for a trade show event, you need to put together a strategic trade show marketing and tactical plan of action. To do so, you must know and understand exactly what you wish to achieve by exhibiting at the trade show:
- Increase market share with existing users
- Introduce new products and services into existing markets
- Promote new products and services into new markets
There needs to be three parts to your marketing plan: pre-show, at-show, and post-show. Falling short on any one of these three can limit your success. So plan and budget carefully.
Develop the right theme.
Put a fair amount of time and attention into developing the right theme. Make sure it ties into your strategic marketing plan. Doing so will help guide your promotional decisions. To start, ask yourself whom will you target and how? There’s a host of ways to reach them: direct mail, advertising, PR, sponsorship, and the Internet are just a few to consider. In the end, the theme you create should resonate with your audience, and impart a benefit that they can’t ignore, and will want to respond to.
Direct mail is still a powerful tool.
The great thing about using direct mail to direct folks to your booth is that the mailing list you use comes from the trade show itself (this is common practice with companies that run trade shows), so you’re sure to get the names of people who’ll be attending. In addition to the trade show’s list, use your own customer and prospect list to target the people you want to visit your booth.
Design a mailer that makes an impact and offers an advantage to those receiving it. Begin sending out promotional mailers about a month before, and mail three subsequent pieces at regular intervals leading up to the show. Oh, and be sure to send them out first-class. It’s more expensive, but it’s worth it, because it shows you’re a serious and trustworthy company.
When preparing for a trade show event give attendees a BIG reason to Visit
A trade show is a hustling and bustling place. People have lots of choices in terms of booths to visit, and have constraints on how much time they have spent at the event. So let them know what you have and how it’ll benefit them
Direct mail was a good way to start the dialogue, but once they’re actually at the trade show, reach out to them in a big and bold way. Banners and posters are an effective way to get someone’s attention, and to deliver valuable information about your company, and its products and services.
With advances to digital technologies, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve using this big and bold medium to speak (loudly) to attendees. And, it’s more cost-effective than you might think. To learn more about how large format printing can help your business, please read our blog on the subject.
Have plenty of material on hand.
When customers and prospects visit your booth, have lots of marketing materials for them to learn all about you. Be sure that the materials you offer visitors leave a powerful impression of what makes you different, and why visitors should purchase products and services from your company. Marketing materials take time to be created and produced, so confer with a printing professional to assure that you’ll have everything produced and ready to distribute at the event.
Don’t love them and leave them.
The ultimate key to your trade show success is centered on the lead-management process. The best time to plan for follow-up is right after the show. To get the process going, you’ll need to develop a systematic approach to follow-up. Establish a lead handling system, set timelines for follow-up, use a computerized database for tracking, make your sales force accountable for leads given to them, and then measure the results. It may seem like a lot of work, but like all things that are important, the success of participating at trade shows relies on all of your efforts –before, during and after the event.
Keep the conversation with us going and growing.