If your company has made the decision to exhibit at a trade show, good for you! This is a wonderful opportunity that allows you to market your brand to a highly targeted audience. While there is competition from other exhibitors, it’s less than what you have online. By creating a high-quality exhibit, hiring knowledgeable booth staff and featuring the right promotions, you should have no trouble making your brand stand out.
When attending your first few trade shows, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Some exhibitors think that all they have to do is show up and the people will come. However, trade shows are a lot of work, and they only pay off if you’re prepared to get your hands dirty.
Below are five things to know before attending your first trade show.
You won’t succeed if you just show up to the event.
Just because you spend thousands of dollars on an exhibit doesn’t mean that success will roll your way. This is only to put you in front of a highly targeted audience. Your booth needs to attract the right people, and all promotions and interactions should be related to your products and services. Consistency is key. Also, you need to hire the right people and train them properly so that they can answer questions and nurture prospects through the funnel.
Trade shows are hard work, so hire your staff carefully.
Trade shows may look like a free vacation on the outside, but they actually require a lot of labor. There’s the setup and takedown, dealing with vendors and standing on your feet for three days straight. Pick employees who are up for this physical challenge. There’s also a lot of small talk and smiles, so choose people who are friendly and people oriented. If someone looks bored or has their arms crossed the whole time, visitors won’t want to approach them.
You can easily blow your budget if you don’t plan accordingly.
Trade show costs can add up quickly. The best recommendation is to start planning early. This way, you have more time to compare costs, work out better pricing and take advantage of early bird specials. When you’re in a time crunch, you have no choice but to pay rush fees and late charges. The more shows you attend, the more you will know what’s worth spending money on and what you can skip.
Always have a clear trade show objective.
What do you hope to gain by attending a trade show? Be clear about your goals so that you can focus on them during your event. You should also have a way to track your progress, such as by downloading lead tracking software. Common trade show objectives include:
- New product launch
- Generate leads
- Retain current customers
- Build brand awareness
- Enter a new market
- Recruit new employees
Give the same attention to all of your exhibit days.
Some trade shows only last a day, but many others last several days. If you’ll be at the event for an extended time, be prepared to give the last day the same amount of attention as the first day. Usually, staff is energized and motivated on the first day of a trade show, but this quickly drops off. It’s understandable, considering people get tired of being on their feet and making small talk. However, some of the best connections are made on the last day of a trade show.
As you attend more trade shows, you’ll get more comfortable with the routine and what needs to be done to stay on track with your goals. In the meantime, focus on proper planning and budgeting, training the right employees and dividing your resources among all days.