To be successful with your trade show marketing efforts, you need to have a clear plan about what you will market on the day, and how you will make the most of the opportunities that come from being involved in the trade show.

For those of you who have run a trade show booth before, you may or may not have a process by which you make the most of your time and money attending the show. If you have never run a trade show booth before or you would like to improve what you do, then read on.

Trade show marketing, or event marketing, is a successful marketing strategy. However, it’s success is based on 3 key issues – how popular the trade show is, how well planned your trade show booth is and what your plans and actions are following on from the trade show.

The first issue needs to be considered mainly because it will help you understand the likely number of people that will be visiting the show and be a potential visitor to your booth. Depending on the popularity of the show and how many people are expected to attend, this will influence where you book your booth and how large a space you have.

Whether the trade show booth is big or small, your planning will make sure your efforts prove successful. So, what should you be planning for?

You need to plan how you will attract your visitors. Once you have attracted them, you need to be able to deliver an effective and compelling message about your product or service in a very short time; otherwise your potential customer will keep on walking to the next booth. You can make your booth attractive with thoughtful displays,
interactive content such as videos or your website on a large screen, or simple, no-risk activities that people can do in very little time. These activities might help them solve a problem or identify a need, and then your product or service is presented as the solution to the need.

Usually, whatever activities or methods you use to make your booth attractive and engaging you MUST capture the person’s contact details. If you do not do this, then your success rate from attending the show
will drop dramatically. Helping people solve a problem on the day will take you one step closer to successfully receiving their contact details.

But, to help you get started, here are some ideas:

•       Run a competition
•       Offer a free quote on your product or service
•       Offer a free demonstration at their office
•       Offer a purchase incentive if orders are received during the trade show or in the following week Provide a giveaway (which needs to be of high perceived value)

For each of these ideas you can ask for contact details (name, email, phone).

When the trade show has finished and you have packed up and gone home for some much needed rest, you now have a list of prospects you can follow up with and add to your direct marketing campaigns. As these people can be classified as ‘hot leads’ (interested potential buyers), the week following the trade show is the best time to make contact and
deliver your promise.

Here’s what I mean.

You decide to run a trade show offer where you will provide a free assessment on someone’s current digital printing solution. From past experience, you know you can do this either over the phone or in person in 15 minutes, so you think that this is a great way to get some direct time with a hot lead and it has a perceived high value to them (as it may help them save money, time, etc). You set up an inquiry sheet and clearly explain the offer to all those that visit
your booth, and at the end of this show, you have approximately 60 names of people who would like you to contact them to provide the assessment.

In the 7 days after the show has finished (and it must be this soon, otherwise people will forget about you), you make contact to set up appointments and deliver the assessments. Of the 60 people, 43 have agreed to meet you.

After visiting all 43 people, about 12 people buy your service because they can see how it will help them solve a problem or meet a need. But (and here is the most important part) you must not neglect the other 48 people who gave you their details. Add their information to your marketing mailing list and send them your monthly email newsletter. You can also send them an initial email after the trade show thanking them for visiting your booth and letting them know you
will add them to your mailing list. Be sure to outline what information you will send and how often you will send it.

Of those 48 people that didn’t initially buy from you, some may unsubscribe right away, some may remain as passive readers and some may be active readers and go on to buy from you down the track. Your initial 60 inquiries could grow to provide leads and sales long after the trade show has finished.

Any efforts you make in attending a trade show or marketing event is best supported and leveraged by thinking and planning how you will gather contact details and what you will do with the contacts you make during the show. Having a good business marketing funnel already established in your business will help manage the leads that trade shows can create, helping you get more business and provide a tangible return on your efforts at trade shows.

Author’s Bio (HTML)
Matthew Tibble has over 15 years’ experience in marketing and running
his own business and is passionate about helping small businesses
achieve success. Use the free resources he offers to write your
business plans
and learn how to market your business online and
offline. For more information, check out his
business planning website

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