After visiting ProWein in Dusseldorf, Germany - arguably the largest wine trade show in the world with over 5000 exhibitors from 50 countries - we have learned from experience 10 tips that will make you more successful at your next trade show.
When your company decides to spend money, time and staff resources at a trade show, it is vital that you put your best foot forward and extract as much from the event as possible.
Careful research, planning and time management can go a long way to ensuring a successful outcome.
Here are our top 10 tips to help you make your next trade show a success.
Most trade shows offer prime location sites at a premium price, so if you are willing to pay a little more for a prime location book early, so you don’t miss out. If you plan to attend the trade show for more than one year, this can provide you leverage when negotiating your contract.
Choose a site that will have high traffic. A corner is often good as it will receive exposure from two directions.
Ensure you get the right size booth for your requirements; consider how much room you will need to accommodate staff, meetings with guests at tables and chairs and storage.
People are attracted to good looking stands, so put some time into designing your stand so it stands out. Use bright colours and put effort into your branding. Make your message clear and visible from every direction, near or far. Use clear signs and optimise lighting. Consider requirements of audio visual equipment, literature, merchandise, staff clothing and display items.
Have a variety of different display options to appeal to different people. Some people like printed materials, others are visual and prefer digital displays. Consider what will make you “stand out” from the crowd.
Potential customers will be reluctant to approach your stand if your staff look uninterested and unfriendly. Smiling faces of professional stand attendants are important, so select your staff well.
Many will want to engage with the booth staff and ask questions. Make sure that plenty of booth staff is available at all times and that they are trained in what you are offering.
4. Specials, Contest or Promotions
Consider a special trade show promotion and ensure that it is clearly communicated at your stand. Equally, everybody likes to win something. Consider offering a special promotion or prize draw that will attract people to your stand.
Collect contact details so that they can be added to your CRM for future contact. A business card draw is a simple and effective way to run a promotion. Be sure to check local competition regulations.
5. Social Media
If you are a small business, ensure you have your social media scheduled for your regular business while you are attending the trade show.
You should also have a social media marketing plan prepared for your time during the trade show. Send invitations to your booth through your social media platform, prior to the event and keep followers updated throughout the trade show.If you are offering a promotion, be sure to communicate the details through your social media platform.
6. Promotional Products
Promotional products are a great way to get visitors to your stand to remember your brand. When selecting a promotional product giveaway, ensure you choose something that is relevant to your brand and useful to the customer.
7. Pre Arrange Meetings
Have a lead fulfilment plan prepared before the show starts. Pre-arrange appointments with existing customers and make appointments with potential customers. Advise all customers that you will be attending the trade show and make specific dates and times to meet closer to the trade show date. Leave spare time during the trade show to allow for unexpected meetings.
8. Take Notes
Don’t rely on just collecting business card from trade show booth visitors. How often have you taken a card from somebody and then a week later, have difficulty remembering the details of your discussion?
Have a lead card, note book or electronic notes system so you have enough space to record comments during your meeting at the booth detailing visitors’ wants and needs.
9. Follow up
Don't spend thousands of dollars exhibiting at a trade show without having an effective follow-up strategy to contact visitors after the event.
Always follow up with everybody you meet in a timely manner. Have one person responsible for lead fulfilment, data entry into your CRM database, and lead transfer to sales. Also make contact with visitors to confirm receipt of the information and offer additional information.
10. Post Show Evaluation
To ensure ROI is achieved and continue improvement, gather comments and feedback about the planning, execution and sales achievements post event. Ensure to keep detailed notes so that you can implement any changes required for the next trade show event.
Follow these top ten tips and you will be well underway in preparing for a successful trade show.