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Making the most out of Tradeshows

There are many tradeshow opportunities across Australia, but how do you ensure that you make the very best of your attendance at a tradeshow and get the desired results from your industry?

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to research and Identify the most opportunistic trade shows to attend. Think about things such as:-

  • Will my target market be attending the tradeshow
  • Will the tradeshow get your company and product or service in front of the greatest number of potential buyers?
  • Pricing – does the overall cost of the tradeshow compare to the outcomes
  • Long-term opportunities – Even if a tradeshow isn’t likely to give you on the spot sales (Most don’t), will the tradeshow open doors for you, present long-term opportunities and build your professional network? Sometimes that can be more important than sales on the day!

So you have decided which tradeshows you will attend, what do you do next?

You need to evaluate stand size, available locations, design options, and cost for the conventions and exhibitions you are attending. This will help you determine the best display options for your marketing and budget. The old saying, “location, location, location” is vitally important at a tradeshow just like anywhere else. Most trade shows will offer prime locations for an extra charge. If you are willing to pay extra, look into this early. Most trade show’s prime locations sell out fast, some prime locations are even pre-booked based on long term commitments from exhibitors, so you may need to think even further in advance. If you plan on attending a trade show long term, year after year, prime location is something you can try to leverage at that time.

You have your location booked, from here you need to consider how you are going to look.

Customers are attracted to good looking exhibition space, it will make all the difference between visitors stopping or walking by. Make your messaging clear and able to be seen from every direction as well as near and far. Use clear signs and optimum lighting. You need to make sure you use the most effective graphic elements for your stand, images and banners must portray your key messages and communicate with the potential customers. Things to consider when designing your stand:-

  • Your brand
  • Fixtures and Accessories
  • Lighting
  • Flooring
  • Will you take any equipment with you?

Next you need to make your stand approachable, you may look great but if your staff are talking amongst themselves with their backs turned, you are unlikely to get any visitors. You need to also consider that there will be many different types of visitors to your stand and you need to cater for them all. For example:-

  • Have a variety of different collateral. Some people like flyers, pamphlets, and reading materials. Other people are visual and would like to see a video demo on an HD screen or tablet.
  • Many people will want to engage with your staff and ask questions. Make sure there are knowledgeable staff members at the stand and also plenty of room to talk. Perhaps a small table and chair for people who prefer a more formal conversation.

An Industry based tradeshow will contain all industry experts in one place. That is the appeal of the events for customer’s right?! So as well as your location and look you will need to entice people to you, think about how you can be different from the other people in your sector who are also exhibiting. We have outlined some ideas you may wish to consider:-

  • Promotional products and branded gift giveaways are a staple at trade shows. Make sure that the promotional product giveaway you choose is something that is relevant to your brand and useful to the consumer. That is the best combination to ensure that they are kept for long periods of time. Pens, bags, USB sticks and notepads are good example of useful items that will last.
  • If it suits the occasion you could try using an industry ambassador that people will recognise or a specialist speaker at your stand that visitors will seek you out for.
  • Offer a show special rate or exclusive discount. Be sure to highlight your show specials so that customers know that they need to buy at the show in order to receive the discount or special offer. Make sure your show special is posted and very clear, perhaps even in the event brochure if you have the space.
  • Everyone likes to win something and competitions, special promotions, or prize draws will attract people to your stand. Make sure that you require something from the potential customers in order to enter the draw or qualify to win a prize, such as a business card, or filling out a contact form or questionnaire.
  • Trade show visitors are usually walking around all day, often over a number of days. Offering snacks and drinks will be much appreciated. Take advantage of this opportunity by making your drink or snack packaging branded with your company name, logo and contact.
  • Show your expertise by offering something of value to trade show attendees. This can be something like a white paper on an industry topic, top 10 lists of products, newest trends etc… If most people who attend a particular trade show are from out of the area, you could even offer information about the local area, such as top places for dinner, it will get them to your stand and then you can talk business.

IMPORTANT – don’t forget your data capture! When people come to your stand, don’t let them leave without you knowing who they are. A simple business card is enough and where possible write any notes on the back of anything you discussed, so you know how to lead the conversation when you follow up. Perhaps collect an email list or even better invest in a “scanner system”, most of the large tradeshows will offer these. You can scan the barcode on the lanyard of visitors, which holds all of their contact and business information and then download a spreadsheet of “gold” at the end of the event.

The follow-up

You will have spent hours of valuable time a lot of well-earned money to exhibit at any tradeshow. If you have taken all of the above points in to account you will be sitting back at the end of a successful event thinking about all the leads and business you have generated. The absolute worst thing you can do now is walk away, get back to the office and expect people to call YOU. They won’t! Customers will have met hundreds of people at the tradeshow event, they will have pockets full of business cards and bags full of brochures, you will need to call them! If you have notes on your contact list or business cards you will know exactly who you are calling and can continue your conversation where you left off. How you manage the follow up from a tradeshow will impact on your sales conversions and future business.

For further tradeshow advice and assistance with marketing an event and creating your event collateral, call Garnish Marketing on 1300 55 33 21 or contact us

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