Trade shows, conferences and exhibitions of all kinds clearly illustrate how traditional online marketing is as powerful and influential as ever. There’s something uniquely appealing about face-to-face networking that never fails to benefit B2B and B2C companies alike.
The question being – what can you do to kick your next exhibition experience into overdrive?
From the quality of your pop-up stands to the game-plan you devise weeks in advance, every effort you make (or don’t) will have an impact on your performance. As such, it’s advisable to plan your attack in accordance with the following little-known yet highly-effective exhibition marketing tips:
While it’s natural to vie instinctively for the largest and most popular shows, this isn’t always a good idea. Not only is competition at the biggest shows dangerously intense, but there’s also much to be said about standing out from the crowd at a slightly less-obvious show.
First impressions are everything – your stand or booth determines how you’ll be interpreted. If you plan on using portable pop up stands, they need to be the highest quality money can buy. Your visuals need to be eye catching and professional and the whole thing should be a direct reflection of your brand.
Rather than buying into the usual trade show company hype, see what past attendees have to say about the show in question. You’ll find all the honest and impartial information you need online to choose shows that are actually worth attending.
If a trade show you’re considering attending is brand new, it’s also untested. In turn, there are no guarantees it won’t be a spectacular failure. Tried, tested and approved trade shows being a much safer bet.
When it comes to the leads you connect with at a trade show, quality counts for more than quantity. A handful of qualified prospects being far more valuable than 10,000 strangers you’ve no hope of converting.
Trade shows are marketing ‘tools’ in their own right, but they still need to be marketed. Or to put it another way, you need to let people know you’re going to be there in the first place if expecting them to pay you a visit. Plenty will stumble across you by accident, but few will be as valuable as those who find you out of choice. Add details to your website and place event information in the footer of your email. Write a blog on your events and share details on social media.
One of the best ways of generating a real buzz when it comes to trade shows is to use the platform to debut something new and exciting, the idea being that you give those in attendance some kind of motivation to check you out and pay attention to whatever it is you do. Most people being powerless when it comes to the opportunity to take part in some kind of premiere!
What’s forgotten by many businesses is the fact that you don’t necessarily have to exhibit at a trade show to succeed. Instead, you could go along as an attendee, spinning the entire event, wandering around and networking with other attendees and those standing the show. Particularly useful if your budget is rather on the restricted side.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when standing a trade show is taking random members of staff along for the ride. Or worse still, those who don’t actually work for you, but are nonetheless happy to lend a helping hand. Once again, it all comes down to those all-important first impressions. Only ever allow your best and your brightest to represent your company, providing ample training on what to expect long before the show rolls around.
Last up, far too many businesses wait until several weeks (or even months) down the line to get in touch with their respective trade show leads. Unfortunately, even just a few days can be enough for the buzz to die, your good impression to wear off and the appeal of whatever it is you have to offer to become rather diluted. If they had even the slightest interest in your business, you need to call them while they’re hot…so to speak. If not, you could be throwing away the most valuable leads you’ve gained access to.