Actually, it’s not about what I did; it’s about what all of us should do. The number of tradeshows dwindles during the summer months. Many folks take vacations, and we can all catch our breath after the busy first months of the year. Sitting back and relaxing seems tempting. However, now is the time to take action. One of Sales & Marketing’s Golden Rules is that when work slows, you must step up the marketing. This means that now is a great time to plan for your next round of tradeshows.
Sure, maybe you have reserved your booth space and booked your hotel. But there’s more to it than that… much more. You have to plan for collateral (literature, handouts, business cards), prepare your products (if needed), set goals for each expo, train the booth staff, evaluate sponsorship opportunities, schedule your marketing campaign to drive booth traffic, inspect your displays… I could go on and on. Take the time this summer to carefully plan the rest of your 2012 shows, and you could see a smoother exhibiting experience, as well as ROI in the form of new customers or prospects.
Start with the thing that will pull in attendees from the aisle – your displays. Inspect the hardware for damage and make sure that it’s functional. If any damage is found, you have time to get it repaired. Contact the manufacturer to see if the repairs are covered under warranty. If not, call us; we repair many brands of displays. Also inspect the graphic panels – not only for damage and wear-and-tear, but also for the marketing message. Do your graphics convey what you need them to convey to the attendees of this expo? If not, call us; we retrofit any and all brands of displays with beautiful new graphics.
Also think about if you have a special product or service you’re unveiling. If so, you may need a supplementary display, such as a banner stand, which is more cost-effective than reprinting panels for your primary display. We feature many options from several top manufacturers, printed by us in our Chicagoland facility.
Be sure to devote sufficient planning time to your communication efforts for each show. Your methods will depend upon your target audience and your budget. A good general plan is to send an e-mail and/or a direct-mail piece (such as a postcard) to all of your customers and prospects a month before the show. Include your booth number, and invite them to come by your booth for a special sneak-peek or giveaway just for them.
If your client/prospect base relies on trade publications, consider sending a press release or offering to write a white paper. Both offer virtually free exposure.
After the show, send a quick thank-you e-mail to everyone who visited your booth. Finally, you should plan a more in-depth, personalized followup to all of your leads approximately one week post-show. This could be anything from phone calls to meetings. Having a schedule in place for all of these points of contact will help make the carefully orchestrated symphony of coordinating exhibits more pleasant and effective!
These pointers are invaluable, but they barely scratch the surface. For more tips, visit our web site’s Tradeshow 101 section. Or call us – free advice for all clients!
Helping Exhibitors With Tradeshow Preparedness One Booth At a Time!