Unfortunately, just showing up at a trade show with a booth is not enough. A successful appearance depends on many steps taken before and after the show itself. Here are five of the most significant ways to get the most from your trade show exhibit.
1. Set Goals
Go in knowing what you want to get out of the show. It may be as general as building brand awareness, or as specific as collecting qualified leads to increase sales. Without a goal, you won’t be able to measure success.
2. Send Invitations
Get visitors to make plans to stop by your booth. Request the attendee list and send out email and direct mail announcements. Encourage booth visits by offering a discount or gift. Set up a landing page for your email campaign to start capturing customer leads before the show.
3. Stock Up On Swag
We all love to get free stuff, or “swag” (stuff we all get) at trade shows. With the right item, like a branded tote bag, booth visitors can become walking advertisements for you. T-shirts, hats, pens, clocks, flash drives, and thousands of other promo items can be customized to carry your logo and message and serve as a lasting reminder to prospects.
4. Print Marketing Materials
Plan to bring plenty of printed materials for booth visitors to take home. You may need a range of materials, such as brochures, product data sheets, postcards, business cards, posters, catalogs, customer interest forms. Start before the show by sending out reminder postcards to attendees. Media representatives will need press kits, both printed and digital. Place signs or posters in the vicinity of your booth to help attendees find you (as permitted).
5. Follow Through
After you’ve collected all those business cards and customer data, use it to build a relationship with your customers. Send an initial follow-up email a week or two after the show. Thank them for visiting and let them know you’re available to help as needed. No need to pitch. Not everyone who expressed an interest will be ready to purchase right away, so be patient but diligent. Some may need to be contacted six months later. Remember to follow through and ask for the sale.