1. …Spread yourself too thin
Many factors contribute to making a trade show exhibit into a successful event. You have to pick the right shows (i.e., the ones attended by your targeted prospects and clients); set goals; train your booth staff; acquire and manage your displays; do lead follow-up; and SCORES of other details. So don’t commit to more shows/events than you can EFFECTIVELY exhibit at. Anything more is a poor investment.
2. …Automatically go with the lowest price
While the bosses will like the fact that you purchased the “least costly” display, that low price may end up costing more further down the road. You need to understand that buying based on the best combination of quality, price, and service will be the BEST VALUE for you. If you exhibit at a small tabletop show once a year, you don’t need the most durable display out there. If you’re outfitting outside salespeople with displays, you want something very durable and easily transported. Value is much more than just a dollar amount.
3. …Simply choose the biggest show(s)
This is a case of quality over quantity. Just because the big show has more attendees does not necessarily mean they are the RIGHT attendees. You need to dig deeper into the show demographics and find the shows that have the highest concentration of YOUR target audience; these shows are more likely to deliver a good ROI.
4. …Neglect your leads
Trade shows are great for brand building, product intros, and more. Much of the value created from exhibiting lies in the stack of QUALIFIED leads that were generated. Don’t simply send them over the sales transom and hope for the best. Create a plan, make sure the leads are being followed up, and see if sales are happening.
5. …Assume they’ll come
Pre-show and at-show promotions are critical in driving the right prospects to your booth. Remember, you don’t want every attendee to storm your booth– just the RIGHT attendees. Targeted communications can help facilitate this. Get the attendee list from the show organizers ahead of time, and pre-qualify them to receive a packet in advance of the show (or a letter, postcard, email, etc.) Use social media as well; tweet using the show’s hashtag. Get the word out!
6. …Force people to staff your booth
Face it: Not everyone likes manning a booth. If you don’t want to be there, it will show. Staff your booth with people who want to be there, and then train them.You can’t teach someone to have a positive attitude, but you CAN teach someone to ask the right questions! Enough said.
So, make good choices and pursue effective marketing strategies to achieve your goals and maximize your trade show ROI.
What are YOUR thoughts on all this? We’d like to hear your comments!
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