How to Prepare for a Trade Show
Trade shows are great places to showcase your product, increase brand awareness and develop new business leads. They help potential customers get to know your company on a personal level and, if planned correctly, can achieve tremendous return on investment. So, what can you do to increase your company’s chances of making a good first impression? Read on for some helpful tips on how to prepare for a trade show.
Choose the Right Trade Show
There are thousands of different trade shows taking place each month around the world but most of them will not be appropriate for your business. Make sure you do plenty of research before booking a place to ensure that the trade show you decide upon will be brimming with people who fit your target audience.
Remember, there are two types of trade shows:
Consumer Shows: attending these shows is great if you are trying to do market research, as you will be amongst consumers and will be able to make connections in a different way. It is also beneficial for making sales.
Trade Only Shows: attending these shows will work in your favour if you want to reach multiple channels. You can mingle with influencers, purchasers and buyers from different companies. You can also talk to other vendors to find out more about what you can do to improve your marketing and products.
Plan in Advance
As a general rule of thumb, it is prudent to book a space at a trade show around one year in advance. This should give you the chance to plan your travel economically and pick one of the best spots. There is nothing more frustrating than attending a busy show that is perfectly geared towards your industry and then discovering that your stall is tucked away behind a corner near the emergency exit. You need to book your place as early as possible and talk to the event organisers about the layout to ensure maximum footfall.
Design Your Stand
Depending on the skillset of your marketing team it may be necessary to outsource the task of designing your trade stand. But whether you decide to design in-house or not, these are questions you need to ask yourself;
- Does the stand fit my overall marketing strategy? Or is it a tool that exists in isolation?
- Does the stand design make my exhibit stand out? Does it contain bold enough colours to attract people who are walking past?
- Do the images target the right segment of the trade show’s attendees? Or are they too vague?
- Is my Unique Selling Point clear and obvious?
Suppliers like displaywizard.co.uk can help print your stand artwork.
Brief Your Staff
At a trade show, it is so important that all of your staff are on the same page, communicating a consistent message to everybody that comes into contact with your brand. It can be a good idea to hire temporary staff for trade shows to help promote your product or service without disrupting the work carried out by your core team. However, these temporary team members will need extra briefing to ensure they fully understand your business and what it offers.
Some of the most crucial factors that your staff need to remember include:
- Body Language – stand up straight, smile and speak to attendees
- Sales Scripts – some companies provide customised greetings for staff to memorise
- No snacks or drinks should be visible at your stand
- Adequate seating needs to be provided for attendees
- Adhering to the dress code
- Displaying all products correctly
- Taking care of cleaning your stand area
Agencies like eventstaffing.co.uk can help you hire event staff on demand.
You need to think about the technology you are going to need at the event. Giving away freebies such as branded USB sticks or portable power banks is a great way to gain brand exposure, while also offering value. Another thing to consider is how you are going to capture and organise new leads. It can be really helpful to have a laptop at your stand to store the details of each prospective new client in a coherent format. Companies like smart.uk.com can help you rent a laptop if necessary.
Another way to attract potential leads is to offer a mobile phone charging station. When people are all their feet all day, looking at different trade stands and talking to various companies, it can leave them tired and struggling to focus. Obviously, this is not what you want when they eventually come to your stand, so try to win them over by offering to let them charge their phones at your booth. While waiting for their phones to charge, people will then look at what your business has to offer, and it will make it easier to strike up a friendly chat rather than relying on a robotic sales pitch.
Follow-up after the Show
It is crucial to follow-up on your leads after the show has finished. Make sure your sales team has full access to everybody that your team spoke to within 48 hours of the show. This way, you can keep the conversation going while your business is still at the top of their minds. A study determined that fewer than 70% of exhibitors actually have a process in place for how leads are followed up after the show. Ensure you don’t fall into this category, and utilise your technical skills to create a foolproof follow-up campaign.
Follow-up emails are handy for reminding the prospective leads of the impact your brand made at the show. Make sure it is easy for people to contact you immediately, either by personalising all your emails with the assigned rep’s name and phone number or also include personal emails. You want to show that you are eager and immediately available. It’s also worth talking over the phone, rather than constantly relying on email, as a phone conversation can be more to-the-point and less formal if you’re unsure how to word your email.