The Center for Exhibition Industry Research found that B2B marketing at trade shows is still one of the most valuable marketing methods out there. Trade shows ranked second in their study.
That being said, don’t take your next trade show for granted.
“Preparation precedes power,” so start your marketing engines with these five trade show planning must-do’s.
1. Plan Ahead
Trade shows are no time to wing it and assume your charisma alone will garner more clients.
If registering for a trade show several months in advance, set several reminders long before the event’s start date to effectively plan. Avoid registering for a trade show last minute or as a reactionary choice.
Companies that give an impression of professionalism through organized booths, presentations, and obvious planning, tend to fare better when it comes to attracting other businesses.
Give advanced thought to tactics for the pre-show, during the show presentations, and post-show follow-up and events.
2. Create a Kick-Butt Booth
Contrary to what Michael Scott might say, a single sheet of white paper does not a booth make.
Having a customized trade show booth doesn’t have to be expensive, and can help your business stand out among a line of other box-like booths. Create a space that is open and inviting for people to stroll into or take a seat.
Avoid placing tables or other obstacles at the front of your booth. These right up front close off your space, making people feel trapped.
The location of your eye-catching booth is essential as well. Review the layout of the trade show before selecting a location for your booth, and choose a space with plenty of foot traffic.
3. Be Engaging
Trade shows are the time to bring your most articulate and enthusiastic employees who can explain well what you have to offer.
These individuals, in combination with interesting visuals like videos or graphics that can quickly and clearly explain what you have to offer, can maximize the mere seconds you might have with a potential client.
4. Advertise in Advance
Don’t forget your business’ social media efforts. Inform followers ahead of time.
Let them know what you’ll be presenting on, giving away, or offering there. Just be sure to spread the word in advance so interested parties can make plans to attend.
5. Follow Up
It’s not in your best interest to assume anyone who attended your booth wants to be sold to immediately following the trade show.
Create a strategy for how to approach those who left contact information at the event. Send an initial email simply thanking them for visiting your booth.
From there, you can gauge truly interested leads from the list of those who don’t immediately unsubscribe from your email.
Whatever strategy you create, be certain not to let your trade show efforts fall flat just because the event is over.
More Ideas for Trade Show Planning
You can do all the trade show planning on earth, have an amazing booth, presentation, and employees staffed, but it does little good if interested parties aren’t aware you’re there!
For even more detailed help on how to advertise in advance, check out our post on social media campaigns and how to manage one effectively.