6 Ways to Be Ready for Your Next Trade Show

Two women posing with promotional products at trade show

We’ve entered a brand-new decade, ripe with opportunities to grow your brand and realize your vision.

Part of growing your business may involve attending industry events, like expos or trade shows. While these events are often a big undertaking, they can also have major benefits for increasing awareness of your brand and connecting with fresh leads.

If you’re heading to a trade show in 2020, here are 6 tips you can use to make the most of the experience.

1. Get the Word Out

Trade shows are an ideal opportunity for you to meet in person with many potential leads, including contacts you may not normally get face to face time with. Before the show, it’s a good idea to find out what other companies or contacts are registered to attend, as well as those contacts in the area of the show that you’d like to connect with.

If you have contact information, send these contacts an introductory email or direct mail letter inviting them to attend the show and meet with you while they’re there. You could also create a direct mail piece that doubles as an invitation and an incentive. If those recipients stop by your booth at the show, you’ll have a special promotional item just for them.

And, don’t forget social media! Before, during, and after the show, share content that highlights your attendance and the experience you had.

2. Prepare Your Team

Group of smiling employees meeting to prepare for trade show
Business photo created by drobotdean – www.freepik.com

At a big event with high lead generation potential, you want to put your best foot forward. Identify which members of your team are the best candidates to speak about or demonstrate all that your company has to offer. You might consider having employees from a variety of departments attend, so that all services of your company are accounted for. Should a lead have questions about a specific branch, someone will be on hand to speak with them.

Once you’ve got your A Team, make sure they’re prepared for anything. Create and practice answering a list of anticipated questions your team members are likely to be asked at the show. Also consider questions they may want to ask booth visitors and potential leads to start conversations and make connections.

3. Decorate Your Booth

Man standing next to branded trade show booth

Whether you’ve got a small table or a large booth, you’re starting your trade show journey with a blank slate. Many of those who attend the show may be encountering your brand for the first time. You’ll want your booth to reflect the true essence of your brand and who you are as a company.

There’s a lot going on at a trade show, including a lot of distractions. Working to make your booth display bright, colorful, and interesting will help your booth get noticed, and keep the leads coming by. Consider branded signage, banners, tablecloths, or mats to help your booth pack a punch.

One way to attract visitors to your booth is with games, such as a spinning wheel, corn hole, raffle, or other fun activity that engages attendees and makes your booth memorable. You can tie these games to prizes, too, with winners receiving a select promotional product.

And, don’t forget your print collateral! Having business cards, brochures, and flyers on hand helps conversations to flow and builds your brand’s professional image.

4. Choosing Branded Items for Trade Shows

When selecting items to use as giveaways, there are a few things to consider:

woman holding an apple behind table of branded promotional products

Choose Lightweight, Non-Breakable Items

As attendees explore an expo event, they’re traveling around to different booths, each offering a variety of items. If they choose to pick up any of these items, they’ll have to carry them around for the remainder of the show.

And, those attendees may be flying back to their locations, increasing the time they’ll have to carry around a promotional item. If an item is bulky, prospects may not pick it up, limiting the effectiveness of that promotion. And, if an item is breakable and gets broken, it will be thrown out rather than used.

Choose Items for Your Audience

It’s important to consider the demographics of visitors to the trade show you’ll be attending. What items are they likely to use/not use? Would this audience be confused by your giveaway? For instance, a college fair would call for different promo items than a health and wellness conference.

Check the Event Rules

Before you consider any branded giveaways, read the event rules. Some items, such as food items or items that are sticky, may not be allowed in the venue. You don’t want to spend valuable marketing dollars on items you can’t use!

Create Tiers of Giving

Promotional product collage

At a large trade show, you’ll likely get a lot of foot traffic passing by your booth. But, not all of these visitors are qualified leads. When it comes to the promotional items you have as gifts, it can be helpful to create tiers of giving based on how qualified a lead is. You may have inexpensive branded pens available on your table for anyone to pick up, a higher-end item such as a coffee thermos for those who you have a conversation with, and something uniquely special as a raffle item.

5. Set Trade Show Goals

black and yellow dart board with multicolored darts
Business image created by Waewkidja – Freepik.com

You’re registered for a show, your team is prepared for anything, you’ve chosen branded giveaways…but a major piece of the puzzle is still missing. What are your goals?

Like any marketing endeavor, you can’t understand how successful something is unless you start with measurable goals. Maybe your goal is to acquire a certain number of qualified leads, or 10% more leads than your previous trade show. Whatever goals you decide to set, make it easy to track them so that you can determine whether this trade show is the best use of your brand’s marketing dollars.

6. Don’t Forget to Follow Up!

Woman working in office speaking on phone

Here’s a surprising fact: 80% of trade show leads are never followed up on. You put in work to acquire those leads—don’t let them get away!

Within a few days of the show, reach out to leads with a personalized message. Maybe it’s a simple thank you for taking the time to talk with you at the show. Or, maybe you’re offering to set up a meeting to discuss a need or desire that lead mentioned during your conversation. Add these leads to your email and direct mail lists and continue to engage with them on a regular basis. You never know what will spark a conversation!

Paw Print & Mail has all the print, promotional, and direct mail collateral you need to be ready for your next trade show. Call us today at 802-865-2872 to start the conversation!

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