Like many things in the marketing world, there’s a debate on the validity of trade shows in growing actual sales. We’re not convinced that trade shows are dead and we certainly think you can utilize them (the right ones) to make an actual impact on your growth.
Here’s the thing…
You get out what you put in. Isn’t that the case with pretty much everything? If you show up with a lazy booth, a bored sales rep, and no plan of attack, you won’t win. It’s like working out. Just because you went to the gym and walked on the treadmill for a few minutes, doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you want. Here are 3 things you must have to make a trade show actually work for you.
- Find the right show – Not every show is right for your business. It may be too big or too small. Maybe it’s not the right clientele or geographical location. If you’re B2B, you probably don’t want to be in a home show meant for consumers. Find a show that is full of potential customers. But, think outside the box. Several years back, we (Kyle’s marketing agency) had the opportunity to do some marketing for a trade show and they offered us a booth. Normally we wouldn’t go to an HR trade show, but because we were the only marketing firm in a sea of Insurance, Payroll, and Compliance companies, we got a lot of attention and walked away with more business. This worked well for us because at certain size businesses, the HR director can be tied in with marketing.
- Have a plan – If your plan is to send a salesperson to sit on their phone all day and look bored, you’ve got no chance. Don’t even bother. Just like any other marketing tactic, you must set goals and plans. Make plans to visit with other vendors that could be a customer or referral partner. If you can, set some meetings with potential customers in the area. Have them stop by your booth to chat. Have goals for your team. How many people should they talk to? What does the sales pitch sound like? How many follow-up calls should they schedule? How can you acquire emails to market to after the show. These are some of the types of questions you need to ask. Set goals, make plans, and for crying out loud, smile. 😃
- Design an eye catching booth – You saw this coming, didn’t you? Your booth design matters, and much more than you think. An old and uninteresting booth will not cause attendees to stop and talk with you. If they don’t stop and talk, you lose. This is like a billboard, you have mere seconds to grab their attention. Unlike a billboard, if they do stop, you can use the plans from step 2 to schedule a follow up or make a sale right then. Tips: 1. Use large and clean graphics. 2. Have a screen with video, the motion grabs the eye. 3. Brand the whole booth with your primary color. 4. Use physical elements that are relevant to your business if possible. 5. Make sure it’s super clear who you are and what you do.
We’ve seen customers do it right and win. We’ve also seen customers do it wrong and lose. We know these 3 things will help you make your next trade show better than ever. Just make sure you’re putting in the effort.
And of course, when it’s time to design and print your booth materials, give us a shout. We can help with everything from backdrops, table cloths, pens, promotional items, business cards, brochures, apparel, and so much more.
Bonus Tip: If you can incorporate some sort of interactive experience at trade shows, you will take your booth to the next level. Some sort of game or drawing. Food is always good. Maybe a selfie contest. This can take your show experience online and we know that’s a good thing.