Yes, trade shows come at a cost. You need a booth/display, you need swag, you need to spend a little to leave a lasting impression. All of these things cost money. If you don’t invest the time and energy to make sure every detail is perfect, it can easily turn into an expensive waste of time.
This is your trade show! You’re showing off your brand, your vision, your product. The key is to know that it’s not an expense, it’s an investment! Get out of that negative space and use all of your brain power to come up with how you’re going to make this investment count! We’re heading to our first tradeshow on Sunday! We’ve been scouring the internet, seeking advice and taking it all in to ensure that we have the best experience with the best results possible. We’ve put on booths in smaller venues but this will be our first large trade show. It’s time to get our big girl pants on and time for you to benefit from our experience!
This is part 1 – the plan. Part 2 – the results – will follow next week with a report on what worked well and what we could have done better!
- Set goals. You’re spending on travel, accommodations, actual conference costs, the trade show booth, swag and marketing materials. Your first measure should be your ROI. How many people visited your booth? How many people provided you with additional information (email/phone number). How many people were you able to qualify, demo to and book follow up appointments with? We’ve established solid goals and we plan to measure the success of our attendance by those goals.
- Be memorable. Do you really want to put a booth together and sit behind a table hoping and wishing that people will come up to you to find out what your about. Make sure that you’re booth is interactive, looks fresh and avoids that tired, outdated feel. If you’re 2 attendees, have one person out networking with delegates and driving them to your booth. This is a chance for you to connect directly with customers in a sector you’re obviously interested in (otherwise, why are you there?).
- Do your research. As a vendor, you should be entitled to a map of the event listing all other vendors. Find out who they are. Who else is promoting their product or service? Are there competitors in the room? Is there anyone you should research to determine how your service or product is different or better? An even better list is the list of delegates! Imagine knowing exactly who you will be shaking hands with before the event even happens. You can add to your goals: meet Mr. Smith. I know I have a few people on our list that I plan to go out of my way to meet.
If you’ve got some trade show booth tips and tricks, feel free to leave your advice as a comment! We still have 3 days to implement novel ideas!!!