Months before a trade show, you need to carefully plan the objectives that you hope to accomplish. Approaching the event haphazardly will not only sabotage your efforts, but it can disrupt your brand, waste your time and that of your employees, and cause your business to hemorrhage cash flow.
By investing time upfront to review your objectives and plan the design of your trade show exhibit, you can ensure that your efforts aren’t wasted. Below, I’ll provide the 4 critical questions that you must ask yourself before the event.
#1 – “What Is My Goal For The Trade Show?”
Some exhibitors attend trade shows in order to sell their products on the floor. Others are there to meet their customers and collect leads with whom to follow up afterward. Still others are there primarily to network with trade show vendors, establishing business relationships in order to attract referrals. Surprisingly, a lot of exhibitors attend events without having a clear objective in mind. When you know your goals, you can design your trade show exhibit for maximum impact. You can reserve a conference in which to speak with key customers. Much of your success is dependent upon how well you plan.
#2 – “What Image Do I Want To Project?”
The image that you project to attendees is completely within your control. The graphics that you incorporate into your trade show exhibit should evoke an immediate emotional response as attendees walk by your booth. If your business has recently launched an innovative new product, your graphics and booth construction should project an image that supports it. If you’re already established at the top of your industry, your booth and staff must clearly convey – and even define – that image. Doing this effectively requires spending time long before the event to plan your strategy.
#3 – “How Can I Conserve Cash Flow?”
Your trade show budget is obviously limited. The further you can make that budget stretch, the more you’ll be able to do with the resources you have available. Think about the construction and lighting of your trade show exhibit. Lighter materials will often be more cost-effective and can still meet your needs. Consider the promotional products that you’re giving to your visitors and leads. Think about the marketing collateral that you’re offering. Each of these areas represent an opportunity to reduce your costs.
#4 – “How Will I Attract Visitors?”
You’ll have less than 30 seconds with which to make an impact on attendees. The design of your trade show exhibit graphics, the size of your space, and the outgoingness of your booth staff each play a role in attracting visitors. Plan your strategy months before the event. Train your employees. Consider using a prize wheel, cash cube, or other trade show attractions. Set up a video monitor that captures the attention of attendees. Finding an effective way to bring targeted prospects to your trade show exhibit is at the heart of your success.
Planning For Success
Once you’ve spent several years attending trade shows, you’ll notice that many exhibitors seem to approach the events recklessly. In some cases, their efforts will seem stretched in too many directions; they’ll chase multiple goals and meet none of them. Or, the image they’re conveying to attendees might be confusing due to baffling use of colors, graphics, and typography. You’ll notice some vendors hemorrhaging cash flow while others seem unable to attract visitors. These things are within your control. By asking yourself ahead of time how you’ll approach them, you can improve your chances of success at the show.
About the author:
Jonathan Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques, and using trade show marketing strategies to boost revenue.