Top Reasons People Succeed at Trade Shows
Like any business investment, your organization wants to see a return on the money and time it puts into a trade show. Many make the mistake of thinking that merely showing up and talking to a few people is enough. Another common mistake is that an organization puts a lot of effort into the trade show without determining how to measure success.
Knowing that you’ve succeeded during a trade show requires a careful approach and hard data. Without that, you’re going on nothing but a gut feeling. You won’t know what you did or how much it benefited or hindered your business.
We’re here to help you understand why people succeed at trade shows, how you can apply these practices to your own trade show experience, and how you can prove your return on investment and objectives so that you can build on that success the next time around.
Choosing the Right Events
Whether you’re slating the calendar full of events you’ve been to before, are trying trade shows for the first time, or are branching out into new shows, it’s important to plan ahead. As tempting as it is to take every opportunity to get your company out to the public, remember that quality is often more important than quantity.
If you’ve been to an event you’re interested in before, look back on how it went for you and other exhibitors. Also look at how many exhibitors are returning. For new shows – and shows that are new to you – look at the event’s marketing and keep an eye on prospective attendees to make sure it’s worth your time. If you can check out a prospective event as an attendee before exhibiting, all the better.
Creating an Attractive Display
Your booth design can make or break the success of a trade show. It’s one of the most important factors in how well you do at any event. Your display will draw people in or turn them in the opposite direction. You want something eye-catching and appealing, with a clear visual representation of who you are, what you do, and what you’re offering.
Your display should relate to your brand in full, from colors to fonts to display images and giveaway swag. At the same time, don’t overdo things with too much text, information, and visual clutter.
If you can find an interactive element to anchor your booth, you’re sure to draw in visitors. It could be as simple as a charging station, lounge area, or snacks for busy attendees. Screens with information, tablets to engage with the company, or a unique lighting setup are eye-catching and affordable solutions to making your booth more inviting.
Saving Money on Trade Show Expenses
Spending more than you have on trade show displays and other show expenses makes it really difficult to see a return on investment. While it typically takes money to make money, it’s all too easy to see your budget balloon out of control, putting your organization in a tenuous position before the trade show even happens.
Your organization may be tempted to cut costs by taking the DIY approach, but avoiding professional trade show experts often costs more in the long-term. A professional company knows how to create a compelling display without breaking the bank, using tactics like reusable components, affordable rentals, and quick set-up and tear-down to make the most of what you have without sacrificing quality.
Bringing the Right Staff
Not everyone is a trade show expert, and that’s okay. What is most important is ensuring that your organization has staffed the trade show booth with the best people for the job. No matter how good your display is, if your staff isn’t there to interact, engage, and establish relationships, any interest in the booth will fizzle out the moment prospective clients are met with a sub-par team.
Be sure that anyone staffing the booth is well aware of the company’s goals, both overall, and for the show in particular. They should be ready to greet every visitor quickly, introducing themselves and offering a quick script about the organization and its benefits. They should find out why the visitors are there, what they need, and translate that into a personal conversation about how your organization’s products or services are a good fit. Staff needs to be ready to act, securing contact information for follow-up discussions.
Be sure that staff is also well-versed in general trade show etiquette, so they don’t turn people away by eating, drinking, or sitting down on the job.
Calculating Your Return
Even if you follow all of these tips, unless you have one or more metrics in place to measure your success and return on investment and objectives, you won’t know for sure that they worked for your particular organization, the trade shows you’ve selected, and your goals. People who succeed at trade shows break down the experience afterward to understand what went well, what’s worth repeating, and what you could have done differently for better results.
Before you head into a trade show, clearly outline your goals. Go beyond things like “reach out to X number of attendees.”Try to track what happens to those leads after the show with a customer relationship management tool. The behavior of potential clients is what you’re looking for. Ideally, you want these people to head home and make a purchase. You can make things even easier with an exit interview right at the booth, perhaps with an interactive tablet display versus in-person, so people feel free to answer honestly.
Let us help you create the most successful trade show campaign yet. Tell us more about your upcoming trade show or the challenges you’ve faced with other displays, and we’ll show you how we can tailor our products to your needs. Fill in our online form or call us toll-free at 800-576-0018.