Trade shows are an excellent opportunity to find new customers, to meet new business partners and build new relationships. So much work goes into planning and preparing for a trade show. You need to make sure your booth is interesting, informative, fun, and staffed with team members with the right skills and personality to represent your whole company.
Trade shows can cost a lot of money. In addition to the price you pay for your trade show booth space; there are often travel expenses involved, as well as the cost of designing and building the booth itself.
However, your investments of time and money will be worth it if you exhibit properly. You need to figure out how to keep benefiting from trade shows and how to keep your trade show booth “alive” even after the show is over. Below are some tips and guiding principles to make sure you are maximizing the effect of your trade show booth.
Have an Eye-Catching Display
This seems like it should go without saying, but if you want people to remember your booth after the conference has ended, you need to make sure your display is memorable on a number of levels. First, all the basics must be done right. Proper lighting, an open entry space and a visually attractive display are absolutely necessary. Next, you need to get creative to draw attendees into your booth space.
What about an interactive visual display? Or host a contest in your booth with prizes that get people wanting to participate? Make sure your freebies are creative and are convenient to carry. Instead of handing out pens like the majority of other booths are doing at the show, why not something a little more interesting? A memorable booth is the first step to making sure the people you meet at the show will remember you.
Include Your Social Media Information in Your Materials
No matter what you are handing out at your trade show booth, make sure that whatever you are hoping your attendee is bringing back to the office has more than just your basic contact information. It is possible that your potential customer wants to get to know you better before committing to making a purchase or putting in an order. Give your social media information — your Facebook page, your Twitter handle, etc. — so that your customer can get to know you comfortably.
Make Your Social Media Interesting and Fun!
Now that you are bringing people to your social media pages, make sure they will stay there and hopefully visit again, or possibly even share the page with friends. To do this, consider posting photos from the trade show booth and ask thoughtful questions that will elicit more than one word answers. Here are five ways social media can make your trade show a success.
Link to Photos of Your Booth on Your Website
Make sure that you are actively photographing your booth and the activity happening inside of it.
Get pictures of people showing interest in your goods and/or services, asking questions, and of you listening to their responses. On your website, add a link from your homepage to a new page with these photos and other interesting information about the booth.
Consider a tagline including how many people stopped by, how many giveaways were taken, or how many new customers signed up.
Ask People If They’d Like to Receive Your Newsletter or Other Free Information
One of the best ways to keep your trade show booth alive is to stay in touch with the people who came by to check it out. Ask people to sign up for your newsletter or do a lottery drawing of business cards for a prize giveaway.
Make sure people know why you want their email address and then they will be more likely to share it. Your company has spent a lot of money on marketing at the trade show. Make the most of the opportunities to stay in the minds of the people who’ve visited your booth.
Trade Show Photo via Shutterstock
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I agree. It is not enough to refer people to your social pages. Your pages must be interesting and must be socially engaging to get people to follow them.
I know we are in an age of social media, however I find the best and most remembered follow-up from a trade show or event is using more traditional media. Before allowing them to depart your exhibit make sure, if they are qualified, that you have an agreed upon plan for what will happen after the show. (1) send a postcard with a handwritten note thanking the vistior for coming to your exhibit. (You can have the body preprinted, but a short note referring to your conversation and a signature goes along way to showing how much you value them.) (2) call them the week after they get back from the show. Give them the first week to clear their desk, then call them to follow-up. (3) send them the information they requested via email. (4) put them on your mailing list for your newsletter. (get them to opt in either in the exhibit or during the follow-up call. A mix of traditional and digital keeps you interesting to them so they will remember you when the time comes to buy.