Planning For Trade Shows - 10 Can't-Miss Tips for Your Exhibiting Strategy

1) Set Clear Goals

Decide on goals and write them down! Do you plan to sell a particular item? Do you want to obtain x amount of customers? Are you launching a new product or service? What are the goals that you are trying to achieve by attending the event?

Be clear about what you want to achieve at your trade show, because without measurable goals you may not obtain what you are trying to achieve.

2) Research Events & Evaluate the Audience

Research events that appeal to market segments that may be interested in your products and services. This can be a tricky endeavor, and may take time to create your event marketing program. If you have questions about the show, attend the show first. Evaluate the trade show from a participant’s point of view. Event program creation is your road map to success when it comes to return on investment. To obtain customers who want your products and services, you need to choose strategic trade shows. You want to choose a trade show that best targets the audience that you want to reach, and best suits your participation goals. Find out what the particular trade show's objectives are, and investigate and evaluate the show's audience.

3) Make Reservations & Plan Your Space

Understand your space size and the location that you will have on the floor. Even if you don’t have the best location, you can offset that with good promotion. Find out who will be exhibiting around you, and understand the traffic flow (high traffic area is the best). Think about how you will outfit your space, and contact a trade show display company to discuss options on how to market your brand. Start planning by outlining your goals, your budget, and the estimated financial return.

4) Plan Around the Audience

Who is your target audience? What’s the promotion, message, and experience that you want them to have? Needs will vary from show to show. So, make sure you know what your customers want and plan around them. Contact your trade show display supplier and discuss your goals of exhibiting at your shows. Plan creative design elements and promotions that will make a difference and help you achieve the ROI you deserve!

5) Promote the Event

With your audience in mind, develop a trade show promotion that will get them excited about coming to the show! Draw a crowd before the show starts by planning promotions via mail, email, on the web, with collateral, during show promotions and after show promotions. Work in partnership with your trade show display and services provider to plan these events to make the most of your campaign and integrate branding.

6) Your Display

Work with a trade show display provider to design a custom trade show exhibit that is sure to appeal to your audience. Choosing the right structure and planning each design enhancement will be important to luring a crowd to your space at the trade show. Integrating your brand into the display will be crucial to allow your audience to experience your brand. Plan your message, collateral, multimedia, product placement, promotions, and interactive staff areas in relation to your space, traffic, graphics, promotions, and all creative elements.

7) Don’t Just Show Up – Show Off!

Develop a schedule and plan to execute your promotions, entertainment, demonstrations, drawings, and interactive marketing. All of these will be a consideration for creating a draw to your booth. This schedule can be integrated into your pre-show and post-show promotions. Integrate your theme into promotional items! Creating relevant promotional items to give away at the show can be very appealing to your audience. Be different, and think about what your audience would like to receive as a gift for visiting your booth space!

8) Provide Information & Receive Information

Plan your display around the information you would like to provide at the show. Designing additional graphics for your trade show display is a great way to display core elements of your brand and relay critical conversion information. Signage in your booth helps create a sense of awareness in areas of the booth where attention is needed. Planning your collateral is very important, because collateral can be used to relay your capabilities, product features, service offerings, and promotions that are important to your audience. Information is critical for relaying key information to your clients so they can take away the information to contact your again. Think about how you will capture attendee information to measure trade show booth attendance in relation to your goals.

9) Staffing

Be sure that you have trained the staff that will attend the show. A knowledgeable staff can engage in quality conversations, and that is important for doing business. Educating the customer about your business, products and services is the goal for exhibiting at a trade show. Gaining market share happens when your brand is compelling with dynamic staff representing your business. Be sure to staff your booth with people who are enthusiastic about the effort and want to engage your audience. Training staff on attire and active conversation techniques will greatly enhance the customer/prospect’s experience. Have fun at the trade show! Fun attracts a crowd. Be sure to staff your booth at all times to maximize business at the show.

10) Follow Up! Follow Up! Follow Up!

Every lead should be followed up immediately upon return from the trade show. Enter your contacts into a contact management system to assign accountability and track progress. Visitors who have a true interest in your company will appreciate the prompt follow up and will know that you are serious about doing business.