We love it when a client understands that the quality of marketing materials presented to your customers is a direct representation of your business. Shoddy presentation can send an underlying message without your speaking a word, much as one might make assumptions about a job candidate who shows up for an interview in a stained, wrinkled shirt and sporting two days’ worth of stubble.
While we encourage our clients to be on top of their game at all times with regards to good marketing strategy, it’s particularly important that this advice is heeded for the ever important event of tradeshows.
In the overcrowded arena of a tradeshow floor, it’s imperative to stand out from your competitors. Since you’re investing the money to be at an industry-specific event and network, it’s equally important to invest resources into your appearance and develop tactics to ensure foot traffic and buzz at your booth. Over 60% of small business owners cite in-person interactions as the most effective tactic for developing relationships, and a tradeshow event where you are granted access to a specific target audience, however brief and minimal, is a prime opportunity to spark some in-person communications.
With tradeshow season upon us here are some tips and tricks for planning your next tradeshow appearance:
- Think of the design for your booth as cohesive elements. Too often we see clients eager to put everything they can fit onto their booth backdrop, treating it as an open portfolio for case studies. This gut reaction is wrong. You only have a show attendee’s attention for a few seconds. They should be able to look at your booth and automatically know what you do and who you are. Consider how your booth looks from a variety of angles. Is the logo visible? Does something on the show floor obstruct an important message on the backdrop of the booth? Does the one message you are trying to convey “read” easily and clearly within a few seconds, not necessarily through words?
- Looking current is also an important consideration. Need new booth hardware or graphic panels? The latest craze is all about tension fabric displays. They are increasing in popularity because of their modern look, exceptional quality and cost effectiveness. Their main attraction is easy portability. They are easy to assemble, as well as light and inexpensive to ship to your tradeshow destinations.
- Pay attention to the flow of your booth; people are attracted to spaces that are inviting and open. Don’t try to cram too many storage casings, chairs and tables into a 10 x 10 booth space, as it will make it too easy to walk by a space that’s too crowded or cluttered.
- Be the booth that creates the floor buzz. Simply put, strive to be the booth that the other attendees are talking about. Provide an interactive demonstration, offer a great prize or incentive to quantified leads in attendance, provide some type of novelty activity like a photo booth or give a unique, premium item people might actually value. Play a game! The possibilities are endless.
- Pay attention to the people who will work your booth. It takes a certain type of person to successfully work prospects at your booth. You want your most personable and knowledgeable employees on the show floor. If your staff looks uncomfortable and unfriendly within the space, they are going to have very little luck striking up conversations or engaging anyone, and if the employees can’t sell your product or service with conviction, everything else about your booth will seem false.
- Providing seating at your booth? Consider bar stools. They allow your people who are working the booth to get up quickly in order to engage prospects. For larger booth settings consider lounge areas; these areas often become meeting places and promoting longer and more meaningful conversations.
- You’ve paid a lot for those brochures. Don’t just give them away! Keep your literature away from casual trick-or-treaters. Qualify the people to whom you give your literature, or consider taking information to send out high quality brochures within a creative follow-up package.
- Create buzz before the conference promoting your presence at the show through pre-show mailers, along with e-blasts to prospects and current clients.
- Finally, and this may be the most important, stay connected. Too often clients return from a conference and don’t keep up the momentum they worked so hard to muster at the actual conference. Send post-show mailers, follow up for that face-to-face sales call and at the very least, add promising prospects to your database immediately upon return.
Tradeshows can be overwhelming, but when you approach an upcoming tradeshow with a solid pre AND post strategy in addition to actual event plans, positive results can be achieved.
Please contact Mallory Joseph at BBR Creative (337-233-1515) if you are interested in meeting to discuss any tradeshow needs with which we may assist you.