There's a lot more to your trade show booth than the giveaways. To make sure you're marketing smart, we created this list of valuable to-do's on budget preparation, defining your objectives and hitting all the right marketing channels. Because creating a unique, unrivaled marketing strategy is about as easy as finding the best promotional product from a 3-inch thick catalog, for part three of this guide, we have outlined some helpful notes to get you started.
Conduct Market Research: If you are attending a trade show with a new audience, location or industry, take time to do the research before you do anything else. You don’t want to miss the mark on your trade show booth presentation or the way that you communicate with them, especially because of all the new business opportunities.
Obtain List of Attendees: It is common for trade shows to send a list of attendees to the vendors ahead of time. Find out if and when that will be available, and once you’ve received it, decide on around 10 companies and/or individuals that you want to directly connect with while at the trade show. If you’re not already acquainted, take care in how you make your ask. Be sensitive to their busy schedule and be flexible with your response. It could be productive to pre-schedule a breakfast or dinner meeting with them.
Deliver Pre-Event Correspondence: Before the event, let attendees know you’ll be there! This can be done with a direct mail or email campaign. However, be sure to not overwhelm them. If there will be dozens of other vendors, there’s a chance they are going to connect with the audience too. Be unique. Stand out. Stay professional.
Advertise and Share your Trade Show Participation: Work your channels, paid and unpaid. Most industries have at least one related publication where you might consider advertising in print or online before or even after the trade show. Additional advertising opportunities may also exist at the trade show, such as in the program or on sponsor banners. Cultivating existing relationships is also a must at trade shows. If you have customers who are in attendance, let them know you’ll be there! You might find this easy to do by sharing free posts on your audience’s favorite social media platform, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr and YouTube.
Plan a Presentation: You can absolutely keep it casual at your trade show booth, working the crowd and learning about their needs. It is still critical to review these methods with your team so they know how to approach attendees, and how to react to their verbal and non-verbal responses. In other words, the overbearing salesman stereotype is not going to work. If you have a demonstration or want to walk your visitors through an experience, prepare a presentation. What will you say? What points need to be made? How will you engage them? What questions will you ask? The success of these conversations comes with planning and practice.