Unfortunately, many events had to be canceled during the last few years due to the global pandemic, including many trade shows. However, in 2022 most event organizers are bringing their offerings back to the market.
If you’re keen to exhibit at a trade show this year, it can be a great way to generate new leads, cement your status in the market, do some helpful competitor and target market research, and soft launch new products or services.
However, with these events being a sizeable cost to participate in, you want to ensure your return on investment is worth it. Check out these tips for achieving success the next time your brand exhibits at a trade show.
Don’t Leave Everything Until the Last Minute
If you want to get a good return on investment, plan everything out as strategically as possible. Don’t leave everything until the last minute because if you do, you’re more likely to get inferior positions at the shows and have issues with stock or marketing collateral arriving in time. You might miss out on making appointments with the key people you wanted to meet and find it harder to source affordable accommodation and flights.
Start work ASAP and develop a checklist of tasks to complete before the trade show begins and what you need to do during and after it (such as follow up on leads or send out samples to those who asked for them). Also, take the time to determine your goals for the event.
Develop Sales and Marketing Strategies
Start planning early to give your marketing team enough time to develop all the necessary materials for the event and promote your participation well in advance of the show start date. They’ll likely need to sort out product sheets, order forms, posters, competition terms, and social media posts, among other things. They may also want to source giveaways for attendees, such as quality reusable bags or water bottles, pens, notebooks, or USB sticks.
Give your sales team plenty of time to finalize any new products or services you want to launch at the trade show and arrange for samples to be available. Remember that it often takes more time than usual to ship goods these days, so you’ll need more lead time than in the past.
Find Ways to Ensure Your Brand Stands Out
Most trade shows have hundreds of businesses exhibiting, which means you have a lot of competition for attendee attention. To make your time at the event worthwhile, you need to look for ways to help your brand stand out for all the right reasons. For example, dress up your stand to create visual interest. You could use banners, posters, samples of your top products, balloons, and other elements to do this.
Or, better yet, look for something you can display that’s different from that used by other companies to help you show your company culture, values, or general unique selling proposition (USP). People need to identify what you sell right away and see why they should find out more.
Consider ways to involve all the senses, not just sight, too. Could you have a video running or play some music or have someone talking to explain what you do and why you’re great at it? Could you have nicely-scented items or fresh baked cookies that people can sniff and get lured in by?
Might you have individually-wrapped candies available for people to enjoy or more extensive goodie bags for those who sign up for more information on the day? Are there things people can pick up, touch, and learn more about? Be as creative as you can, provided your ideas relate to what you sell and what makes your products, services, or brand special.
Also, ensure everyone who works on your stand is positive, upbeat, engaged, and knowledgeable if you want your company to create the best impression possible.
Create Targeted Calls-to-Action and Offers
You’re not going to get as much out of the trade show as you’d like if you don’t have a way to get people to take the next step in dealing with your firm. Determine the next step people can take to get further down the sales funnel. For instance, this might be signing up to your newsletter on the day, giving you their email address so you can provide them with a quote, or even placing an order, among other things.
Create some special offers just for the trade show that you can use to entice people to buy or pre-order on the day, too. You might offer first-access deals to new and limited edition products, discounts on products or shipping for orders taken on-site, or value-add extras such as gifts with purchases.
There’s more to getting great results from trade show exhibitions than many people realize at first. However, if you take the process step by step and think everything through thoroughly, you’re sure to find you get plenty out of it.