If this is your first time heading to a trade show, I certainly hope you are not doing it last minute! There is quite a lot that you can do ahead of time to maximize your experience at the trade show and end up being more successful than you thought you could. I’m not saying you have to prepare for years, but you should definitely give yourself a few months to think, plan, and carry out the plan in an effective way. The following seven tips will help you to find that success.
Make A Plan
The first thing that you should do is to make a plan. Gather everyone that you find to be an important part of your team and sit down together to brainstorm. Ask yourselves some important questions such as:
- Who is our target market?
- What is our goal at the trade show?
- How much do we have in our trade show budget?
- Who can be the most effective in our plan and where do they fit in?
- What is our time frame?
- Who should we contact beforehand to invite to the show?
As you consider these questions, you can come up with a general outline of what you are going to try to accomplish at the trade show and before.
After you have the plan in place, make sure that every single aspect of it will be carried out. Give specific assignments to everyone who is helping to make it all happen. Assign every last detail down to who will purchase coffee for you the morning of the show. Otherwise, you might find yourself running around town looking for a coffee shop when you should be setting up for the show.
Choose A Booth
Another reason why you should plan in advance is so that you can choose a booth at the exhibition that will best suit your marketing needs and your budget. Waiting too long will sometimes get you a small booth in a secluded corner where nobody will really notice you. Look into sizes, locations, designs, and even the lighting, so that you will choose the best booth for your needs.
When you are laying out the design for your booth, don’t forget the graphics. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a huge collage of pictures and words, but simply that you have a graphic that people will remember and connect to your business. If this means a distinct logo, then that’s what you should use. Check out some companies that provide graphic design so that you will have the best graphics at the show. Make sure to print your graphic on the Four B’s:
Use Space Effectively
Along with the best graphics, you will want the best layout for your booth space. There are a variety of places online where you can go to get ideas for trade show booth layouts. When you plan the layout, take into consideration the lighting, the flooring, furniture, and audio-visual equipment. A booth that welcomes people is typically one that is not cluttered with seats and counters, but one that is open so that people can freely move in and out of the booth. Consider using a rug so that your booth stands on its own.
Have Giveaways and Promotions
One way to allow your potential clients to remember you is by effectively using giveaways and promotions. Rather than just handing out your business card, give them a Frisbee with your information on it. If there is a product that relates to your business and you have it in your budget, use that as a prize for a promotional drawing.
Employ Impressive Staff
Not to say that good looks are what make a company, but they sure help! Whoever you have manning the booth at the trade show, make sure they are well groomed and well trained. After all, they represent your company, and you don’t want the impression to be that you are sloppy, dirty, irresponsible, or lazy. Enforce a dress code. It might be a company polo with khaki pants, or it might be an all out suit and tie. Whatever it is, make it uniform among all the staff you have at the trade show.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to think about going into your first trade show experience. If you’re like me, the time will pass so quickly that you will soon find yourself on your way home from the show, remembering the day you read these tips! Follow them, and you’ll have success. Good luck!