This week I had the opportunity to attend a trade show for one of my clients Gatekeeper Business Solutions. One of the items on my checklist at any trade show I attend is to walk the floor and observe how other exhibitors present themselves. Today, the cohesiveness of Bobalu Nuts Inc. caught my attention. They were all dressed in uniform, adorable cowboy hats, jeans, daisy dukes or jeans and boots. Their marketing materials were consistent and they were attentive and friendly, but not aggressive. What are you doing to catch the attention of trade show attendees?
Trade shows are an investment of both time and money for companies of any size. My clients often ask me for ideas to increase the return on their trade show investment. When was the last time you or your company measured results from trade shows? Not recently? Never? Not to worry; today I will share with you my methods to increase effectiveness from trade show exhibiting.
1. Find the right show
The first step to achieving better results from trade shows is to find a show where your target demographic will attend, then set measurable and attainable objectives. A simple Google search will provide many resources to locate shows and decide whether or not your target market will be at the event. Reach out to the show organizer and ask for statistics from previous shows such as number of exhibitors, total number of attendees, costs, etc.
2. Create a strategy
Decide what it is that you want to achieve. The measure of achievement should be based on your goals. Do you want to make sales at trade shows to measure your return on investment, or just gain leads for your database to measure your return on objectives? These are the core ideals to identify so that you can begin measuring your results.
3. Train staff working the booth
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR.org), 85% of the success at trade shows depends on the booth staffers. The size of the trade show exhibit, the literature and the promotions are all secondary. If a staffer leaves a poor impression with a prospect, key chains or coffee cups will not turn that impression around. Therefore, it is important to train all staffers about your expectations as to what they should accomplish at a trade show. They need to learn how to qualify prospects in a short amount of time. If an attendee does not fit your criteria as a potential client, quickly and politely dismiss him or her. When a prospect does fit your criteria, the staffer needs to know what to do next – set an appointment, send literature, schedule a conference call, etc.
4. Promotions need to be memorable
How many key chains or pens have you picked up at a trade show and where are they now? They probably ended up in a trash can at the hotel which is neither effective nor conducive to our environment. A promotion needs to be a memorable accent to your message. Tie in pre-show e-mail campaigns and social media with promotions at the show to remind attendees & clients to stop by your trade show booth.
5. Make a follow-up system
The real work begins after the show!! CEIR has found that 79% of leads generated at shows are not followed up with appropriately. How can you prevent this from happening at your company? It again starts with pre-show planning. Create a plan for following through on leads. It is important to determine how the information will be distributed, to whom it is distributed and how that information will be used to advance the company’s overall goals. It is important to create a follow-through plan to utilize this new information and follow-up within a week before the contact at the show loses its effectiveness.
Trade shows require planning prior to, during and after the event. To ensure a higher return on your trade show investment plan all stages of the show. Selecting the best show to exhibit at is the first step. Booth staff training is a must for companies at all levels. Proper follow-up should be part of the staff training. It’s that easy. Through a few focused steps, and consistent follow up, you will increase your return on investment!
Christine Smith is Founder & CEO of smurkmedia.com. smurkmedia.com specializes in systematic processes to increase website rank & traffic through e-mail marketing, social media, seo, sem, ppc, and public relations. To learn more, visit http://www.smurkmedia.com.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. smurkmedia.com, nor Christine Smith, accepts liability for the content of this article, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.