Preparation is key!
We’ve compiled a list of often over-looked steps when preparing for a trade show. Ensure success by checking out this list of tips to help you prepare for the show, during the show, and after the show.
Before the show even begins, be sure to set yourself up for success.
- Objectives of the Show. Write out what it is that you want to accomplish as a result of attending the show. Ensure that all of your booth representatives are aware of these objectives, so everyone knows why your organization is there. For example, you may want to capture new leads, create more brand awareness or use the event as a PR opportunity. Be sure to be specific and clearly outline your expectations.
- Drive Attendees to your Booth. Try to capture the attention of the attendees before the show even starts. Some tricks on how to achieve this are:
- Provide free passes to the event to potential and existing customers
- Advertise your appearance at the show through your website or social media
- Ask for a registration list and reach out to those who already registered
- Become a sponsor of the event as this leads to greater exposure to the attendees
- Offer a high-value door prize (i.e. gift certificate or discount)
- Advance Shipping. Utilize advance warehouse shipping so that you know your materials will be there on time, and help you to save on handling costs. Shipments that are delivered after the advanced warehouse shipping dates are subjected to additional material handling charges.
- Move-in Date. Check the date and time that you will be allowed to have access to your booth space. Arrive as early as possible to ensure that your space is set-up, organized and ready to go as soon as attendees start to arrive.
During the Show
- Lead Retrieval. Nowadays, capturing leads has become a much easier process. Instead of manually handling business cards, most shows offer a way for you to scan attendees’ badges. It may be through an app you use on your phone, a device you rent through the show or may be automatically provided to you. These tools scan badges, collect the attendees’ information, then sends you a report once the show is complete.
- Giveaways. Have smaller giveaways on hand that can be handed out to anyone that visits your booth. Offering useful and unique promotional items is a great way to have people remember you after the show ends. Offer higher-value items as prizes to help draw people to your booth. Ensure that your logo appears on your giveaway!
- Your Objectives. Review your objectives during the show – remember why you are there!
- Your Display. You only have 4 – 7 seconds to make an impression! Your space must attract the attention of people passing by, project your company’s desired image and impress people with a quick glimpse.
Make your booth space stand out by creating a unique space by utilizing table tops displays, pop-up banners or pop-up booths. Keep it simple so that you keep your set-up and tear-down time to a minimum, and keep your space clutter-free. Purchasing a display ensures that your booth space looks professional and gives you the portability you will need. The initial cost for a display may seem high, however, you should look at it as an investment as you will use it for years to come.
Be creative! You want people to see your booth and think ‘WOW!’
After the Show
Now that the trade show is complete, you have three important tasks to tackle:
- Road Home. This is a critical step so that your team can be ready to go for the next show. Ensure your display is returned to you on-time and in proper condition. Making the proper arrangements is critical so that your display and other show materials are not damaged during transportation as this can lead to unexpected and costly repairs.
- De-brief. Take a moment with your team to review what went well and what could be improved upon. Don’t forget to compare your results from the trade show against your objectives.
- Follow-up. If one of your objectives for the trade show was to generate new business, be sure to follow up on the leads you collected in a timely manner. Contact them while you and your booth are still fresh in their minds. If you used a lead retrieval during the trade show, don’t forget to utilize the information that was collected.
Always thoroughly review the exhibitors’ guide you are provided with as every show is different and tidbits of information can be found there. Be sure to use trusted and reliable vendors, so your materials arrive on time and just how you expected them. Good luck!
P.S. Wear comfortable shoes!