To kick off the New Year we selected our top picks for exhibitor-proven tips to help you get the results you seek from your trade shows and events.
Before the Show
1. Set goals. Every exhibitor should know that management wants measurable results. If you haven’t set goals for trade shows and events before, start now. Goals express what you want to achieve - leads, reinforce customer relationships, add social media followers, recognition as a market leader, etc. The more specific your goal, the better you can measure your ROI and plan for the future. These free planning and measurement tools can help.
2. Make appointments before the show. Start every show with a full appointment calendar and you'll cover your costs before the event opens. Target individuals you want to meet. Locate them in your database, on LinkedIN etc. Contact them to make appointments 3-6 weeks prior to the event. Set your appointments for unusual times ( e.g. 9:45 a.m.) to make them memorable.
3. Offer to speak at shows where you exhibit. It positions you as an expert and thought leader. If you can't speak as part of the official program, create your own in-booth, theatre-style presentation and promote it to attendees.
4. Train staff. Even the most experienced exhibit staff needs preparation before every show. Make sure everyone understands the objectives and their role in reaching them. Make sure your staff is confident stepping out into the aisles to greet attendees and introduce themselves. Get more staffing tips.
During the Show
5. Promote your booth location during the show. Today's successful exhibitors keep the conversation going throughout the event using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other social media channels to generate buzz and traffic. Get a free social media guide.
6. Network. During seminars and hospitality events, connect with peers who are eager to share their experiences. Meet with industry experts who will listen to your challenges and offer insights and ideas for solutions.
7. Stand out, be memorable and relevant. Grab a great booth location. Use eye-catching colors. Thank visitors for their time by providing a giveaway that aligns with your brand and message. Get more ideas for standing out from the crowd.
8. Build your following with good content. Ken Krogue of InsideSales.com says, "If your content and research are really good, people will flock to you. But people hate sitting through a sales pitch masquerading as a seminar." Use show presentations to provide new insights, answers to questions, and solutions to problems. Give great presentation with powerful content.
9. Deliver an experience. Invite attendees into your exhibit to touch, feel and watch your products in action. Use touch screens and live demos to encourage longer visits and more interaction with your booth staff.
After the Show
10. Follow up fast and often. Speed is the name of the game in lead follow-up. Scan visitor badges at your booth to expedite capturing contact information. Set after-show appointments with prospects before they leave your booth. Send an email follow up that night with a LinkedIn invitation. Exhibitors often aren’t persistent enough in following up averaging only 1.5 phone call attempts. Research indicates it takes 6 to 9 phone and up to 3 email attempts to establish a connection.
Find more free exhibiting resources.
Gwen Parsons is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.