Some people feel awkward in trade shows. However, trade shows provide a unique opportunity to any brand owner. An opportunity to meet with competitors, know what is on the market, forge partnerships, connections and, of course, meet new prospects. Unlike traditional advertising which is faceless, trade shows present the opportunity to meet face to face and cut a lot of the red tape involved in setting up meetings.
Getting a booth at a trade show, therefore, is a very good idea. But with so many booths out there, how will you stand out from the crowd? How will you draw attention? You have to have a trade show marketing strategy.
Here are some trade show marketing ideas and things to think about:
Pre-Trade Show Preparations
Plan way in advance. It might take you a few weeks to prepare. For a trade show marketing to be productive and with an ROI that justifies the expense, preparations are a must.
Determine your goals. What do you really want to achieve from this specific trade show? It might be to generate buzz or promote a new product. Or it might be sales related objectives like generating leads and opportunities.
Announce your participation – spread the word in advance of the event through all your contacts. Use email, social media and any other platform you are active in. Ask people to come and see you.
Invite customers and prospects to stop by your booth and give them a good reason to do so. That will make your booth active and attention grabbing.
Schedule appointments with qualified leads, but make sure there is someone to hold the fort while you meet in private.
Select a Location
The key to any trade show marketing strategy is where you are. The best location is where the people congregate. Traffic is plentiful around the refreshment, the food, or the bar. Another prime location is by the entrance when people enter fresh and curious.
Get Enough Manpower
Make sure you have help when you need it. Hire extra staff to cover marketing and sales.
Hire Promotional Models and Brand Ambassadors
A great trade show marketing ideas is to have booth models to help you attract attention. Having hostesses can free you to do the things you need to do. Even more, the hostesses can become your brand ambassador, walk around and increase your exposure.
Hire trade show models that can walk around when the trade show is at its quietest time. Equip them with promotional material, some samples, or an iPad that shows what your product does. A little bit of training beforehand will make you a smart trade show marketing strategist.
Ask the Right Questions
Think about your potential clients – what questions may you ask that will tell you if indeed he or she is a potential client? Avoid wasting your time with people who are not interested in you what you have to offer. What would you ask a competitor? Or Someone you want to partner with?
Focus on things like targeted and personal question first, before you start ‘selling’. No one likes a hard sale.
Opt for promotional tools that make you stand out, which means use visuals and colors. It is a well-known fact that about 90% of brain signals focus on visuals, and in our hyper-connected world visuals can tell a story quickly and effectively.
You will meet many people and it will become difficult to remember who said what. Take notes to remind yourself. An easy trade show marketing idea is to write on their cards and their promotional material or use one of the many apps which make it easy to write quick notes.
The going wisdom says it takes about 3-5 calls to get people’s attention. Sales may not come right away and it doesn’t mean your trade show strategy is not working. You’ll need patience and perseverance.
Maximizing your exposure at a trade show is easier with the right brand ambassadors. Your trade show marketing strategy should include hiring the best booth models to grab the attention of visitors, and brand ambassadors who will walk the floor and increase you exposure. Then watch how these great promotional models help you generate a greater return on investment.