Trade shows give us all the opportunity to present our companies, our products, and our services to a large prospective audience in a short period. Although they are an expensive endeavor and require a significant time commitment, if you are prepared your company can reap great dividends from your efforts. Here are a few thoughts to consider that will give you the greatest bang for your buck as well as ensure you have a successful trade show.
What is our goal?
Send out a mailing inviting your prospects as well as your existing clients to stop by and say hello. Don’t forget a “call to action” in your mailing. This is some type of incentive for them to come by. A gift, a drawing for a cool prize, etc. Try to do the mailings approximately 2 weeks before the show.
Giveaway and prizes.
Most visitors will come by just for the giveaways. This is an opportunity to get your name in front of them as well as an opportunity to get their contact info. Pens are nice to get them to your booth but consider a quality prize to raffle off. Something unique and not company or business-related (make it fun). This will entice them to come over to your booth and create a drawing list that can be used to contact visitors after the show. Use that time to ask questions and educate them. You may want to consider a higher quality gift in smaller quantities to keep behind the booth to give to the visitors who spend time talking with you. Always remember that gifts, prizes, and giveaways are there to bring prospects to your booth and then allow you a chance to gather their information and the opportunity to present your company. Make sure you do your best to do one or both when they stop by.
Follow up right after the show. Very important!
Make sure you take the time to follow up with every visitor who came to your booth (that’s why it is so important to get their contact information). You have spent a lot of time and money to get their information, don’t make the mistake that many trade show participants do and stop the communication process after the show is over. Your timely thank you can have a great impact on their impression of you and your company. Don’t waste that opportunity; you may not get it again.
Remember the responsibility to get prospects to your booth is all on you. It is not up to them to just show up. Be engaging, be interesting, and be funny. Getting them to stop by your booth is the first step, what you do after that will determine if they stay.