Let’s face it, tradeshows are not cheap! No matter what your booth size or budget, the bottom line is that it still costs a lot to attend. So how can you attend a tradeshow and have your best booth/exhibit no matter what your budget is? There are three key points that every exhibitor should follow to ensure they have their best exhibit no matter how many dollars have been forked over!
1. SET GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Goals and objectives define everything about your exhibit. They answer the hows and whys, and what it is you are trying to accomplish by attending the show in the first place. If you don’t know what you’re setting out to achieve, then why attend? You can spend the money sitting in your cubicle just as easily, so make it worth every penny!
I recommend all of my clients set at least five goals when attending a show; this gives a guideline to follow not only before the show, but during and after as well. Your five goals can be simple, as long as they have an overall objective:
- ” I want to get seven solid leads from attending the show.”
- ” I want to schedule three follow up meetings out of my seven leads”.
Your goals can be knowledge based as well:
- ” I want to educate at least 10 customers about our company, so they walk away knowing something different about us.”
- ” I want to inform every person that steps in our booth about the most important factors of our product”.
You get the point… Now practice, and apply these ideas to your company and product. When setting these goals and objectives, you automatically set the standard high for your show, you go into it knowing you will get something out of it.
2. EFFECTIVE MARKETING
In a fast paced environment we tend to forget what truly effective marketing is, we get so wrapped up in the idea that we have to reach our customers via all outlets such as social media, or through print ads, or e-blasts, etc. that we don’t focus on the most effective way to market to our specific target. However, effective marketing targets your specific market and reaches out to them in a way that will get them to your booth at the next show. But how is it that you get those attendees to log on to those nifty interactive floorplans, and pin your booth?
You reach out to them, and make yourself available to them at all times. If you have no budget for those creative direct mailers, then you get on the phone and call, or you email! Start the relationship before the show, you want the customer to be well aware of who you are, and where they can find you.
If you have a large budget, then explore some of the avenues that require more time and money such as the mailers, or giveaways at the show. Be careful with giveaways, there has to be a value associated with it, or else your going to be dealing with what as Tradeshow Managers we call the “booth trick or treaters”, and trust me, you don’t want these kind of visitors, they do you absolutely no good!
Another effective way to market your booth at a tradeshow is by TAKING ADVANTAGE of all free advertisements. If there’s a New Product Showcase, an Online Listing, a Printed Directory, or ANYTHING that comes from the show association, and it’s complimentary with your booth space purchase, take it!
Check out this link for PMA’s upcoming Fresh Summit in New Orleans: All the Good Stuff That’s Included.
Truth be told, you won’t be wasting your time if you take advantage of marketing in associated press. Most attendees who are serious about taking the time to attend a show will do their homework, and you need to be their assignment. So, be in their sight at all times possible.
As exhibitors we have a tendency of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of just getting to the show, working the extensive hours, packing it all up, returning to the office, and moving on to the next show. Seems logical, right? No. The biggest mistake exhibitors make is not pursuing their leads after the close of the show. If you don’t pursue the leads, then what was the purpose again? No matter how big or little the budget, it’s still time and money wasted if you don’t follow through on the pursuit.
These three simple tools can help you have the best exhibit, no matter what your budget is!
Breanne Loyd, CTSM
Certified Trade Show Manager, Marketing Plus