Don’t show up to a trade show unprepared and expect a successful outcome – listen to an expert panel and their tricks to creating value from a trade show event.
With so much opportunity for highlighting your brand and expanding the scope of your business, taking advantage of a trade show makes a lot of sense. The problem is, many trade show exhibitors fail to focus on the core drivers of a successful trade show campaign. To help overcome this problem, MVP Visuals asked trade show marketing experts how exhibitors can maximize investment returns. The following tips are a collection of best practices from some of the best and brightest in the small business world, many of them frequent presenters at trade shows around the world.
ENGAGE WITH ATTENDEES
Don’t ignore your audience, engage with those who have taken the time to visit your area and minimize distractions in the booth. The problem is, trade show attendees are often found eating in the booth, chatting or texting on their cell phones, or displaying a sense of general apathy towards the audience.
According to David Spark, founder of Spark Media Solutions, “I’m amazed how the overwhelming majority of people who spend a fortune to go to trade shows, don’t spend the extra time that’s necessary to determine how to engage with attendees.” Barry Moltz also provides the following guidance – “Be prepared. Know who you want to target at the show. Don’t wait for them to come to you, but instead seek them out for a meeting and bring them back to the booth!”
Rob ‘Spider’ Graham, founder and CEO of Trainingcraft, LLC, says “You should be doing everything possible to qualify people by asking them questions about their needs so that you can focus on separating prospects from tire-kickers looking for free swag. You should be doing everything you can to communicate what you do for a living and how you help your customers.”
UNDERSTAND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Showing up at a trade show with a stack of flyers, a box of cheap promotional giveaway items, and the goal of “selling a bunch of stuff” will only get you so far. Understanding three key pieces that are integral to planning the event will help you to create the most compelling value proposition for clients and prospects at your next trade show. These three elements are:
- Aligning your company strategy with that of the trade show.
- Signing up for the appropriate show based on your strategy.
- Understanding how to measure the KPIs that you’ve established.
According to Dan Scalco, founder and director of digital growth at Digitalux, “Measurement” is where many marketers fall short. With trade shows, unlike other forms of marketing, measurement can be a lot harder due to the amount and type of variables you’re dealing with. However, proper measurement is the only way to prove that there was any ROI in the first place.”
ENSURE THAT A FOLLOW-UP PROCESS IS SOLID
While delivering a compelling presentation is fundamental to a good trade show experience, the real work starts once the show is over. Many trade show attendees fail to pursue leads appropriately and thereby leave opportunities on the table. According to Ruth P. Stevens, author of Trade Show and Event Marketing, “Ensure that your post-show follow-up process is sound. If not, don’t bother going to the show in the first place.”
Gene Marks, President of The Marks Group PC says, “To increase ROI every exhibitor must have a CRM (Customer Relationship Database) so that leads from the show can be imported and an automatic process assigned for making sure that the right people are following up and the leads don’t fall through the cracks.”
Creating value for your business and improving the end result of hours of preparation, execution and follow-up time is the ultimate goal when creating a trade show strategy. For more information on how to increase ROI from a trade show, take a moment and read the full article here.