Here at Super Color Digital, we have worked with many of today’s industry leaders and have provided stunning visual solutions for countless events and trade shows. We take great pride in the prep and attention to detail that goes into exhibiting at shows like CES, NADA, NAMM, and many others. We’ve seen it from all perspectives as an exhibitor, an attendee, and a branding partner who creates visual solutions. Here are a few tips and best practices to help you make the most out of your next event and trade show.
Before the Show
Planning for success: You should be planning months ahead of the event itself. Trade shows are a huge investment in both money and time. In most cases, you will need to pre-register giving you plenty of time to come up with a strategy. Set your goals and determine what your agenda is, know what you hope to accomplish, and make sure the results are measurable.
Design your booth / Determine your message: This is the time to plan your engagement and follow-up strategies. Make sure your message is clear and that you have a well-defined call to action.
Promoting the event: Drive attendance to your booth by taking to social media, advertising online, and possibly starting an email or a direct mail campaign. Finding as many ways to let the public know where to find you and how to contact you is the key.
During the Show
Putting the plan in motion: Now that you’ve determined your goals and designed your booth, it’s time to put it all into practice. Make sure you have a designated team to run the booth who are also qualified to answer questions, make sales, and schedule follow-up appointments.
Send additional reminders: Social media is the perfect way to reach attendees during the show. If the event has a designated hashtag, be sure to use it! Post photos of yourself in conversation with attendees in front of your booth to encourage others to visit you. Live-tweet gems from the keynote or workshops that strike a chord with you. Remind attendees of the benefits of visiting you (e.g., personal consultation, discount, contest entry).
Giveaways: Everyone loves getting free swag but make sure to limit your giveaways. If you are going to give away significant items or discounts, make sure they go to qualified potential customers, not every random passerby. If you insist that every visitor to your booth receives something to help remember you by trying smaller promotional items like a pen, sticker, button, or business card.
After the Show
Follow up promptly: This is where many fail, the most important trade show marketing strategy should be following up with your prospects but many exhibitors take too long to or don’t follow up at all. Make sure to reach out via phone to all of your hot leads, build a relationship and a repour to solidify the sale.
Document everything. It’s essential to document all of your follow-up correspondence and results from start to finish. For successful campaigns, you’ll want to be able to re-create your strategy and for the coming year. If your results are less than what you were hoping you will want to use that information to avoid making similar mistakes and can revamp your strategy for next time.
Measure your results: Once you have worked your leads to completion you will need to look back at the goals you set for yourself before the show to see how you performed against your expectations. If you exceeded your goals, look to optimize and fine-tune similar tactics for the next show. If you underperformed try to see where the error or fault lies and look to avoid similar strategies next time. In some cases, you may want to reconsider the event was the right event for you or if your business.