We recently shared an article on the essentials of tradeshow marketing. It covered the basics that you need to think about when investing in a tradeshow – finding the right shows, strategy and goal setting, and what to think about for marketing materials. Today, we are going to dive deeper into some of the strategies your business can use to make a splash by getting your tradeshow marketing right!
This article is written in partnership with Staples, the one stop shop for all your small business needs including tradeshow supplies, office supplies, printing, and marketing services.
First Impressions at Tradeshows are Everything
We have all seen that one booth at a tradeshow where we wonder if they just decided the day before to show up. There’s no signage; only a few white letter-sized sheets strewn across a tabletop and a very unengaged guy or gal sitting in a chair more engrossed in their cell phone than the people walking by. I can almost guarantee you that these folks never see an ROI from participation.
First impressions are everything at a tradeshow. Think of it like window-shopping. If you are walking down the street and you see a beautiful window display that captivates you and showcases something you need, you go in. If the window display is cluttered, dirty, and not appealing, you keep walking.
Making the Most of Tradeshow Signage
Think about your booth like that window display. When people are walking by, how can you grab their attention and get them to come in? Signage plays a massive role in this.
When designing your signage think about your brand:
- Make sure that your logo is front and center and easy for people to see from far away
- Make sure that your business name (if not included in your logo) is clearly visible and legible
- Make sure that the colors you use all follow your brand guidelines for consistency and recognition
Signage is not a place to cut corners on your budget. Use a professional design and printing service like Staples Print & Marketing Services to make sure you are creating high-quality products that represent your business and brand.
Have a Professional Team Presence at Your Tradeshow Booth
While great signage can pull all the people you want into your booth, if the team members you have working the booth are not on point, attendees will quickly walk away. The team members you have working at your exhibit represent your company, so take time to ensure that they are well prepared and prepped to meet your expectations.
Before the show, meet with anyone who will be working the tradeshow booth to share with them the exact goals you have for the show and the exact messaging you want to relay to attendees. This will ensure that everyone is telling the same story, which makes you look more prepared and professional.
Strongly consider providing matching branded shirts for your team members to wear when in the booth. This allows attendees to quickly identify them and once again, delivers a succinct message about your business. Research shows that exhibitors who wear lively colors such as green, red and purple draw more attendees into their booth versus those who wear black, gray and white.
A few other rules you will want your representatives to follow:
- Smile! Nothing attracts people more than someone smiling
- Don’t chew gum or eat in the booth
- Put cell phones away – no phone calls, texting or playing with your phone in the booth except in case of emergency or for sharing social media moments.
- Keep the booth clean
Finally, make sure that the team members you choose are enthusiastic about your products because enthusiasm is contagious.
Tradeshow Marketing and Promotion
To enhance your success at a tradeshow, it is important to promote the event before and during the show. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Send personalized invites to your existing clients/customers to visit you at the show and provide your booth number.
- Promote that you are attending the event on your website, through emails to your list and in local trade magazines.
- Promote the event on your social media platforms. Make sure you include any hashtags or social handles for the event in your messaging.
Marketing During the Show
- Continue your social promotion from the tradeshow floor. Share pictures of your booth, your products in action, your team members with attendees, etc. Don’t forget the show hashtag!
- Hold a raffle or some other contest that gets attendees excited and gives them more reason to go to your booth.
- Give away cool and useful promotional materials that visitors to your booth can use after the show and relates to your products and brand.
This infographic from Staples shares some great tips on using social media to promote your event as well as other useful reminders.
Post Tradeshow Follow-Up
Just because the tradeshow is over, your work is not done. It is now time to capitalize on all the leads you collected and turn them into sales!
- For any ‘hot’ leads, follow-up within three days of the show with a phone call. This will help you to build the relationship and solidify the sale.
- For the warm leads you gathered, follow-up with a personalized email within three days. Thank them for coming by and then put them into a nurture campaign to build the relationship and work towards a sale.
- Follow all of your leads on social media and shout out to them with a big ‘Thank You’ for coming by.
Tradeshows are an excellent opportunity for you to connect further with prospective and existing clients/customers. Make the most of your investment by making sure you leave a positive lasting impression before, during, and after.