June 12, 2024

Campaign Marketing Online

Online Marketing Techniques

Preparation Tips for a Successful Trade Show Experience

An exceptional trade show experience requires more than an attractive booth design and engaging digital technologies; it also calls for outstanding booth staff.

Be sure to select team members with expertise in various areas so they can provide optimal answers to questions. This could include PR professionals for handling media inquiries, salespeople who can convert leads into customers and tech specialists who can answer technical inquiries.

1. Plan Ahead

To maximize your trade show experience, it is vital that you understand exactly what goals and objectives are at play for you. Doing this will enable you to effectively set a clear direction.

Prearrange meetings with people you want to speak with at an event; this will give your day direction while making follow-up easier.

2. Be Prepared

At any trade show, all staff should understand its purpose. Mike suggests having sales team members set appointments prior to attending so they can connect directly with attendees and develop relationships and convert them to customers.

Make sure you have plenty of business cards, brochures and other materials on hand as well as a way of collecting leads and recording notes for follow up.

3. Be Prepared for the Weather

As part of your trade show planning process, take weather conditions into consideration. Email or social media notifications could inform attendees about expected conditions before attending your trade show.

Prepare yourself for an influx of swag. Have plenty of shopping bags or folders on hand so attendees can carry their goodies home easily, and follow up with all who visit your booth – personalized emails tend to garner better responses than generic ones.

4. Have a Plan B

Planning is key when it comes to successfully gathering leads at trade shows. Make sure to bring plenty of business cards, and devise a method for scanning event badges or writing notes on them to follow up with contacts after the show has concluded.

Always focus on quality over quantity when meeting new people. Show genuine interest and pose insightful questions.

5. Have a Plan C

Plan ahead for how you will follow-up with leads you will obtain at the trade show. This could involve sending out emails with industry insights and updates learned during your attendance at the show.

Establish and achieve internal consensus around clearly-measurable objectives such as lead generation or brand recognition goals.

6. Have a Plan D

Finally, it’s crucial that you devise a plan for following up with leads collected at trade shows based on your normal sales and marketing strategies.

Be sure to encourage your sales team to set appointments ahead of time and maintain a shared calendar to make marking meetings and booth hours simpler, and help reduce missed opportunities. This can prevent missed sales.

7. Have a Plan E

Many new exhibitors make the mistake of failing to create an effective plan for gathering leads, forgetting they are paying to put themselves and their information in front of potential customers.

Badge scanners or simple apps are useful tools that allow your sales team to capture attendees’ business cards, record notes and provide follow-up information, allowing them to focus on the most critical conversations.

8. Have a Plan F

Mike advises marketing and sales teams to hold a “prep call” the week prior to any trade show to discuss logistics, goals and schedule. Each member should arrange meetings with prospects, customers and partners prior to arriving at their booth.

Finally, he urges attendees to follow-up with those who requested one-on-one meetings and encourages them to provide feedback about their experience and any necessary improvements.

9. Have a Plan G

Once your show is complete, be sure to follow up with each lead by sending them a customized email that touches upon specific conversations or industry insights.

Provide giveaways to attract potential customers, and ensure someone is available to greet and engage browsers in conversation. Exchange business cards and take notes about conversations for tailored follow-up. Track and quantify results so as to establish ROI expectations for future shows.

10. Have a Plan H

Be sure that all team members are on the same page prior to an event. Have marketing, sales and executive teams mark meetings and booth hours in their calendars (ideally taking into account time zones of shows). A logistics document is helpful in making sure nothing is missed or misinterpreted.

Be sure to follow up quickly after attending an industry show with pertinent industry insights and a list of qualified leads.