Effective Trade Show Planning – Part 1

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Exhibiting at a trade show is probably the most expensive and resource rich activity any company will undertake through the year.  In fact, there are some companies whose management just do not believe that they would ever get a return on their investment and the events are a total waste of time.  Marketers find themselves in this position after previous events show few quality leads and no apparent benefit from attendance.  The main reasons for this are due to the following:

  • Poor planning
  • Poorly defined purpose
  • Poor communication
  • Poor follow-up
  • Poor use of resources

You do not need the biggest booth nearest the entrance to be effective, but you do need to do some pre-show planning to ensure the money invested has the most chance for the best ROI (return on investment) and biggest bang for your buck.

The main purpose a company should consider a presence at their industry signature trade fair is to:

  • Gain visibility and presence in their target market
  • Promote new products and services
  • Meet clients, gain new customers and orders

A trade show is never a stand- alone event; it is more of a contiguous set of initiatives designed to generate leads and move them down the sales funnel until the deal is closed.

The purpose of this article is to review the key plans that businesses should make to ensure an effective and successful trade show.

5 TIPS ON TRADE SHOW PLANNING

  1. Pick the show that best aligns with your marketing strategy
  2. Plan marketing strategies for pre-show, show, and post-show
  3. Reach out to every visitor to your booth post-show via email or phone
  4. Analyze which strategies worked and which didn’t
  5. Calculate your ROI on the event once the sale cycle has closed.

ESSENTIAL PLANNING PRIOR TO THE SHOW

The most important activity leading up to the show is to communicate your intention to be an exhibitor to your customers and to provide compelling reasons for visitors to visit your booth. This takes months of planning, and the most critical part of the communication cycle are the weeks ahead of the show.

To create a buzz ahead of the event, you should be active with social media and inbound marketing.  These tools will maximize the traffic to your booth, and maintain a relationship after the event as your prospects move down the funnel from leads to closed sales.

But to have an effective trade show social media connection, there must be an established presence long before the show, and an understanding of what content will be posted.

Next blog article posting in Part 2 is Promotional Ideas Ahead of the Show.

For more ideas on trade show products, visit our main page Event Displays or visit the Gallery.