As with any event, it’s the thought and work that happens before that makes the most impact. A tradeshow is one of those events that requires time to allow it to be a great success. There are a few simple steps that can be addressed in a targeted three step approach; Pre Show Preparation and Promotion, At the Show and After the Show.
A tradeshow is not all about shell schemes and stand size. Once you have booked your space, take the time to ask key questions and undertake some important steps:
What is the purpose of your presence at the show? As with any element of your marketing campaign there needs to be a purpose to any tradeshow presence. Are you attending the show to launch a new product; introduce a new brand; create brand awareness or to generate sales?
Nut down the goals of your presence to help you gain the greatest return on investment. Establishing clear goals and objectives gives you and the team clear direction.
Dedicate some time to read your exhibitor pack. Exhibitor packs include policies and procedures, and ideas and steps to help make your time at the show a hassle free experience.
Stand Design – you’re booked in, you know what you want to achieve and you’ve read your exhibitor pack. Now is the time to think about how to create the greatest impact and stand your company apart from your competitors.
Conduct a pre-show briefing to train the staff who will be hosting your stand. The briefing should cover the show including layout and amenities; the stand and what it will look like; behaviour expectations, any special promotions you will have at the show and last but not least why you’re involved and what you want to achieve.
You’ve booked your space, now it’s time to let everyone know you’ll be there.
Invite your clients. Tradeshows are a perfect opportunity to invite your clients (current and prospective) to take another look at your company and your brand as well as starting a new conversation with them around new products; new team members and new ideas
Take it online. Whilst your presence at a tradeshow is very much physical, use all the online resources you have to promote your participation in the show:
Website – Add a blurb to your website about the show and share your stand number
Social Media – Create a series of social media posts in the lead up focussed on what your key messages will be
E-news. Use your own internal and external newsletter to start sharing information about your time at the show
2. At the show
When you’re at the show there are so many more opportunities to making the most out of the show then just your stand
Be Interactive. Encourage visitors to your stand with vibrant displays, videos, giveaways, tastings and most importantly, a refreshed, fed and energised team.
Be Approachable. Tradeshows are not a case of if you build it they will come – you need to design your approach to start the conversation with attendees. Make sure all your team are aware of the conversation starters and confident in their own individual approach.
Lead Generation. Make your team’s life easy – provide them with an easy to use lead sheet. Lead sheets that are simple to use help your team start the conversation with prospective clients at the stand and also capture the information you need to continue the conversation long after the tradeshow.
Come Prepared. Ensure the collateral you have on your stand tells your story simply so that when visitors walk away they understand what you do but are not victims of information overload.
3. After the Show
Follow Up. The success of your time at a tradeshow hinges largely on your ability to continue the conversation with those you met after the event. Assign the responsibility of follow up before the first day of the tradeshow and ensure it happens within 48 hours after the completion of the tradeshow.
De-brief with your team. A tradeshow is a learning experience for everyone. Sit down with the entire team involved and discuss what you did well and what could be improved for next time. It’s amazing what ideas a fresh perspective can inject into your planning process for next year.
All that said tradeshows are the perfect opportunity to show off your company’s personality through the team, the ideas and the inspiration that represents your brand!