4 ways to ensure a successful trade show
Having an exhibit in a trade show can enhance your company’s lead generation, increase brand awareness and reinforce customer relationships. Unfortunately, most businesses don’t understand how to make the most of their participation in trade shows and miss terrific opportunities for growth.
There are more than 10,000 trade shows every year with millions of attendees and exhibitors who pay up to $60,000 and much much more for booth displays, installation and travel. If you aren’t using public relations to maximize your trade show participation, you’ll be wasting your time, money and opportunities for prospects.
The challenges of attending trade shows
- You see a show in your industry and want to go, but you can barely afford it. Still, you find money in the budget and attend, giving no serious thought to how the trade show will fit in with your company’s overall strategic objectives and sales goals.
- After the show is over, you have hundreds of business cards and prospects that you received in exchange for a free product or service (another expense for your trade show budget).
- Out of the hundreds of names you’ve collected, only a small percentage may actually be interested in becoming a customer. You have to put in the effort to find these prospects (can you say needle in a haystack?).
- When you return from the trade show, your existing work has piled up in your absence, leaving no time to enter the business cards and leads into your CRM and follow up.
- Without proper follow-up, there is little to no return on your investment. Studies show that prospects need at least four to 10 touch points before making a purchase. Companies neglect to follow up on approximately 75 percent of trade show leads, which means scores of missed opportunities.
Four ways to fix or avoid trade show fails
- Plan ahead.
Many companies create innovative games and contests to drive traffic to their booths. This technique serves you best if you promote it beforehand. You can do this by sending an email blast to current customers and prospects, using social media at the right time with appropriate hashtags and looking for opportunities from the trade show organizers.
- Craft the right messages and content at the trade show.
Be sure any gimmicks you use support your product or service. For example, create a game where people have to answer questions about your product or industry. All signage and information should reflect what your business actually does and attract your buyer persona.
- Gather qualified leads, not just names in a fishbowl.
Set up your booth and offerings in such a way to encourage interaction and engagement. Giving attendees a chance to inspect or try your product and other scenarios where you have an actual conversation with people will help you weed out those who have no intention of becoming a customer and save you time later. A few dozen good prospects beat a basket full of business cards any day.
- Hire a PR firm to help you.
Trade shows provide an excellent way to highlight your product and increase visibility for your brand with prospects that are already interested in your industry. In fact, more than 70 percent of attendees are top decision-makers at their companies. It’s important to get it right.
Let Axia Public Relations help you get the most out of your trade show participation. We will help you stand out, exhibit clear messages and ensure trade show success. To learn more, contact us or download our free e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment.
Lisa Goldsberry is a senior blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.
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