Once you’ve paid for your exhibit space, you can’t assume that people will just magically appear in your booth. You need a solid communications plan to optimize your exhibiting efforts, before and after the show, to ensure a return on your tradeshow investment.
You shouldn’t rely on the tradeshow promoter to get people to your booth. Their job is to attract a broad audience to cover the variety of exhibitors for the whole show. Your job is to get the right people to your particular booth by creating a compelling reason for them to stop by. Then you need a meaningful conversation in your booth, and most importantly, you MUST follow up with people, or what’s the point.
Entice People to Your Booth
As part of your communications plan, you need to promote yourself well before the tradeshow begins, so that people will put you on their list of must-visit booths.
Think about your target visitor and why they would take the time to stop by. Do you have a special offer? Are you giving something away? What features or product are you launching, and what are the key benefits?
Whatever your ‘hook’ is, try to make it intriguing. Use words like “secrets”, “revealing”, “never seen before”. Always promote what’s in it for them.
As with any marketing promotion, people need to see your message several times (7 to 20) before it sinks in. Before the show, display your booth number and ‘hook’ in as many of these communications tactics as possible, dependent on your budget.
- Show Program – maximize your listings
- Advertise in Industry Publications – “visit us in booth #382”
- Social Media – Twitter, Google+, Facebook Page, and Linkedin
- Your Website
- Press Release – what are you launching/revealing
- Customer Newsletter
- Other events you are participating in – other shows, workshops, presentations
- Direct mail to your client list – invitation, discount, or free ticket
- Networking or membership groups
- Your email signature
Can you think of other ways you can get exposure?
They’re In The Booth. Now What?
Your brilliant pre-show promotions have people lined up to talk to someone in the booth.
Are you ready for them?
Based on your promotion hook, be prepared to educate or entertain with the same language you used to entice them to be there. They want to know they are in the right place.
- What do your booth graphics look like?
- What printed information are you handing out?
- Do all your materials jive with what you promoted?
For example, if you said you were revealing a proven, new superfood that would help your chicken lay more eggs, make sure that’s the information they see. It should peak their interest enough that they provide their email address to receive details after the show, bringing them closer to a sale.
Your booth display and content should also attract people walking by the booth; people who may not know who you are. Your word power can reel them in.
If you are selling something in your booth, make the buying experience easy. Ensure any forms, or technology processes, are easy to manage. Try using a dedicated person for the transactions, so you can continue to talk to other prospects.
The checkout process should be painless.
Success Is In The Follow Up
Tradeshow attendees visit so many booths, that they get inundated with so much information, and infinite distractions. It is ESSENTIAL that you follow up within 48 hours to ensure you and your business remain top of mind with each prospect.
BIG TIP! If you have received permission to send a follow up email, have that email written before you even go to the show.
- What content do you promise to send?
- How do you want to continue the conversation?
- What is your call to action?
Getting organized after a tradeshow, is like coming back to work from vacation. There will be so many distractions, and urgent matters to attend to, things that didn’t get done while you were exhibiting. Things that will delay you from keeping the momentum going on your potential sale from your booth visitor.
So, have your email ready to roll. Once you have your tradeshow prospect list, you can send it immediately, and watch the results roll in.
It’s Not Just About Your Booth
Exhibiting can be a very successful marketing strategy, but tradeshows are an investment. Don’t take them lightly. Map out every detail and maximize your investment by having a solid communications plan, for before, during and after the event.
If you need help with communications for your next tradeshow, I’d be happy to help.
Woman with sign – Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net