Successfully planning for a trade show takes several months. It’s often beneficial to research upcoming local trade shows and decide which one will be the most beneficial to your brand. Sometimes, large trade shows are better, but you also want to analyze what type of attendees will be there. Will they be other businesses or consumers and what kind of clients do you need? After that, begin detailing your goals for the show so you can better plan your exhibition booth and marketing material, including the promotional banners, exhibition stands and signs.
Plan Your Goals
A few months before the show, set some reasonable goals. Make them specific and attainable. Some may include getting contact information for 100 new leads or having 200 interested customers sign up for your blog and email. Once you have your goals detailed, focus on your call to action (CTA) or mission statement. Include your CTA as part of your overall strategy as a graphic or text onto all of your marketing materials, remembering that a good one will bring in more leads.
Prepare Effective Signage
The best way for your business to get noticed at a busy trade show is for you to create a different kind of exhibition booth than your competitors. Since most booths usually give freebies away, consider hanging a promotional banner or sign from the ceiling as that will get attention. In addition, waving some promo flags in front may also bring in some crowds. Remember that your exhibition stands and signs not only have to be catchy, they need to be readable in only a few seconds to catch someone’s eye. Using your company’s trademark colors and an effective slogan helps, too.
Bring Other Promotional Materials
As people stop by your exhibition booth, chat with them about your business and share your expertise with them. Display some brochures on a brochure holder, as well as featuring an interactive presentation or video on a flat screen monitor. In addition, make sure you display a portfolio complete with recent samples of your work.
Besides that, set up a display with at least twice as many business cards as you think you’ll actually need. Keep a few with you at all times so that you can hand them out during engaging conversations. In addition, offer some free promotional items, such as tote bags, pens, or magnets. Tote bags work especially well because attendees can stuff everything else into your bag.
Hold a Raffle
As another way to get attendees interested in your brand and gather potential leads’ information, consider holding a raffle. Make the prize something interesting. For example, if you’re a photography business, and you’re working with customers you could offer $100 off a new package, and if you’re working with other businesses, you could raffle off a training session for Photoshop.
Add the raffle information to your marketing collateral, stating what time the raffle drawing will be. Set a large fish bowl on a table next to the sign, where attendees can fill out their information. Specify that they must be present to win, so those who are really interested will return to your exhibition booth.
After the Show
After you have promoted your business at the trade show and gotten a list of potential contacts, it is now time to follow up with them. You’ll want to make contact within one to two weeks, or it will not be effective. You may wish to begin with a friendly email so you don’t appear too eager. If the contact is a potential customer, follow-up with a sales call, and if they may become a client, suggest chatting over lunch. These follow-ups will help you see how well you promoted yourself and your business.