shows – develop your plan
shows are everywhere. Every
week, thousands of trade shows, expositions (expos),
conferences, and seminars are held in the United
States, and they vary tremendously.
Trade shows vary in price, in complexity, in cost, and of
course in effectiveness. However,
it should be noted that only a part of the success of any trade
show will be within control of others.
You will have an incredible amount of control over the
success of your business at any given tradeshow if you know what
to look for and how to do it.
shows offer an opportunity for your company to gain a lot of
exposure in a short amount of time.
They allow prospective customers to greet you face to face
without the personal discomfort that many feel in an appointment
setting. Other future
customers visit trade shows not having any particular goals in
mind, but there nonetheless to get ideas and see what services are
shows do have many challenges including limited space,
fatigue, limited time, and distractions.
People keep moving and at best, you have a few minutes with
them before they move on. But
keep in mind, this is where thousands of your potential clients
will come if you pick the right trade shows.
with any project, you need to know why you are going to be at the
trade show. The
answers are not necessarily all that obvious.
You may be looking at introducing your new company,
increasing sales, be there as an information (educational
resource), recruit potential business partnerships, hire new
employees, sell franchises, or do market research.
one thing in mind however; you cannot do it all!
Focus on your trade show goals and don’t let anything
else come in between. If
your goals are to pick up new business, you will only frustrate
yourself if you spend most of your time talking with other vendors
or polling the crowd.
the RIGHT trade show
it comes to trade shows, you will soon find out that most
of them will find a place for you and your money will be
“well-spent” at this show according to the event staff.
This is not true however, and only you can take a look at a
show to see if it is the type that would be focused on the kinds
of clientele that you are looking for.
You could potentially get a customer out of any crowd.
But since shows often run $500 - $10,000 to participate,
you are going to have to pick and choose which trade shows will be
your best bet.
a trade show that meets your marketing goals.
If you are a local business, there’s no sense
participating in shows that are national or international.
They are generally noisy, expensive, and unfocused.
Only a small percent of customers at that show would have
the potential to be your clients.
Even those would wonder why a local organization was at
their trade show.
those in the home care services sector, goals that are aimed at
increasing sales or market penetration should focus more highly on
consumer oriented trade shows where other local merchants would
companies that are looking at building local business
relationships also do well at these kinds of shows. There will be many attendees who are looking for business
questions to ask before you book a trade show.
your trade show space
much trade show space will you need?
If you book a large space, it can make quite a statement
and be impressive. But
it will also be expensive. And
if you don’t staff it properly, your trade show’s
“statement” may be that you just weren’t prepared.
second consideration in booking a trade show is the
location of booth space within the show itself. Where are the booths located? For this, you will have to
study traffic flows and who else is already exhibiting.
show booths at the back of any venue typically do not do as
well as those in the front and down the center.
That’s why these booths are typically the first to go at
any tradeshow. Look
for traffic and visual impediments.
If there are oddly formed rows or dead-ends, booths in
these areas will not get nearly as much traffic.
Booths stuck behind posts, in dark places, or standing on
their own will not do well at all.
Booths near freight doors will not only do very poorly,
they stand the risk of bad smells and people moving in and out and
to determine who will be near you before you book.
If you are on a row of dead and boring businesses, those
few that move through will do so very quickly and you may pick up
guilt by association. On
the other hand, if you are set up right next to the guy that wants
to run crowd demos like the guy selling the knife sets, you are
likely going to have people blocking your booth all day long.
for neighbors who have respectable and established names, and
those whose reflection on you will be most positive.
your trade show booth display
you purchase a trade show display, look at pricing and what
you want to do with it. There’s
no sense in selecting a system that is smaller or larger than you
will typically use.
several trade shows and kind of feel out the booths, ask questions
of vendors and determine which accessories you may want.
Most of all, try to keep everything flexible so that you
can cut back or add on as circumstances warrant it.
of the things you want to consider is how many people you will
bring with you to the trade show and where you want customers to
stand. If you want
them to come into the booth to get personal and show them
displays, don’t plan to put a table in front.
If you need to keep your space open and there’s no reason
to invite them in, then plan for a table up front to place all
your brochures on. There
is no “one right way” to set up for a tradeshow.
not forget to add carpet and padding to your booth for extra
comfort and for that added bit of class.
Many booths come with a small piece of carpet, others do
not. Regardless, if
you have your own, then you aren’t taking chances.
trade show message
of the biggest mistakes that people make at a trade show is
to look and sound just like the competition. There may be comfort in that, but melting into the background
rarely gets you noticed.
customers go by, they should be able to quickly see who you are
and what you are about. You
have about 5-10 seconds to make this impression. Needless to say, if they don’t understand, they will walk
right on by.
message needs to say who you are and why you are different.
Try putting it into different forms, commonly known as the
tagline and the elevator speech.
The tagline says what you are about in only a few words.
The elevator speech is named because it is what you can
tell someone in a 30 second ride in the elevator when they ask you
what your company is all about.
This may be all the time you have to distinguish yourself
at a trade show. Everyone
in your company should have at least one elevator speech.
your trade show message clean and well-organized.
It’s easy to get lost in words, but tradeshow
participants are bombarded with thousands of messages.
You lose them quickly if you make it complicated or too
present brochures, keep them simple as well.
Big brochures will go into a bag and never be read.
However, a small brochure that is attractive and that has
bulleted points will have much better chances… even between you
and the next booth.