While the online world seems to dominate our daily lives, it will never equal physical interactions, and this is an important factor that marketers must never forget. As such, despite the fact that they have been around for ages, trade shows continue to be among the most effective marketing strategies. Not only does real contact with potential customers create long-lasting impressions, but such events provide numerous other opportunities for a brand. They are a great way to showcase new products, to close new deals, to keep an eye on the competition, to network and to get an overview of the evolution of an industry. Nonetheless, it is not enough for a brand to just be present at a trade fair. To get the most out of this experience, you have to put some effort into it. In the following lines, we will share some simple yet effective tips that will help you maximize your exhibiting experience at your next trade fair.
Establish your goals
As we already mentioned, trade shows can provide numerous opportunities, but don’t just go with the flow on these events. Decide from the start what you want to get out of this experience and set some clear goals. Do you want to increase your customer database? Make sure you plan some activities that will convince people to share their contact info with you. Do you want to approach new business partners? Make sure you bring an existing partnership deal to the table before approaching them. Whatever you plan to get out of your next trade show, you need to plan for it in advance to ensure your success.
Advertise your attendance
While being present at a trade show is a great way to increase your brand’s visibility, you should also make sure people know in advance that you will be there. If you go to a b2c show, advertise heavily on social media and other online channels, informing your audience of a few of the many surprises and special deals that you will have at the event. For b2b trade shows, ask the organizers for a list of the attendees and send them an introductory e-mail before the event, inviting them to stop by your booth for short business talk. Make sure to also stay active on social media during the trade show to keep people engaged in your experience.
Put together a great team
The team that you send to a trade event will be the face of your brand, so you must make sure that you are sending your best people. Keep in mind that at these types of events, discussions will be very specific, so you should bring some tech experts. However, this is a marketing event, which needs to be handled in a specific way and tech experts don’t always have the soft skills necessary for such an event, so you should also bring sales and marketing staff. Moreover, instruct your team on how they need to behave and put together a plan for attracting people at your booth.
Build a great booth
First of all, it pays to invest a little extra money into a personalized booth construction which will catch the eye of the attendees. Furthermore, make sure your booth has not only an interesting product display but also a comfortable space that will convince attendees to stick around for a while. It helps if you have some seats and lounge space. Drinks and food are also a great way to get people to linger at your booth.
Bring plenty of marketing materials
Whether we are talking about business cards, brochures, catalogs or any other type of contact materials, make sure to bring plenty of them to the next event, as running out of them could cost you a lot of new leads. Interacting with your brand directly will create a long impression on your customers, but you must also give them a physical reminder of this interaction.
Give away free stuff
Needless to say, all people love free stuff, but at trade shows, visitors actually expect to receive gifts, so don’t disappoint your audience. Nonetheless, just because something is free, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be appreciated. Try not to waste your money on generic promotional materials like branded pens or caps, but instead invest in things that people might actually need and will enjoy using.
Plan fun activities
The main activity at your booth should be focused on getting people to try your products. However, generic product tests or samples are a little outdated, so try to turn the testing process into a fun activity. Aside from the main activity, it doesn’t hurt if you also plan some extra fun. Contests are always welcomed and they are a great way to generate more leads. If you also get people to share the contest on social media, you will also gain some extra online exposure.
Establish yourself as an industry expert
Once you have participated in a few trade shows, you might want to consider taking the experience a step further and try to establish yourself as an industry leader. You do this by attending workshops and discussions, and why not, you could even become a speaker or plan your own workshop.
Utilize a solid lead management system
You will get in contact with a lot of people at such an event, but don’t count on them contacting you just because you gave them your business card. Make sure to keep all cards, and try to take notes on each contact so that you can approach them in a personalized way after the event. There are also apps that let you take pictures of business cards and attach a note to each picture. This takes us to the last and most important part of the trade show experience.
Qualify Leads at the Show Floor
42 GameChanger provides trade-show exhibitors with the most unique, fun and captivating way solution to attract visitors to their booth, break the ice, and convert them into leads, effortlessly. Our real-time marketing automation solution allows you to run all aspects of your trade show marketing strategy with ease, from the initial welcome notification to multi-step engagement funnels. Significantly increase your total event ROI and reduce your overall lead acquisition cost. Optimize your event, Effortlessly.
Follow up Quickly and Accurately
As we already said, you can’t count on your new contacts and potential customers to come to you after the event, so you will have to contact them yourself. For business leads, send them personalized emails and invite them to a direct meeting to dive deeper into the specifics of your possible collaboration. As far as customers are concerned, offer them special deals for having participated in the event. Don’t wait for more than a few days after the event to contact your new leads, as the momentum built during the event is vital for closing the deal.
Find Out How 42 GameChanger Can Help You Generate Trade Show Leads