5 Secrets to Creating a Successful Trade Show Strategy

If you have ever attended a trade show, you know how overpowering the show floor can be from the time you walk in to the time you walk out.  With the buzzing crowds of people walking around and the amount of vendor booths set up, who wouldn’t be overwhelmed?

Now, let’s look at it from an exhibitor’s perspective (aka your perspective).  As an exhibitor, it’s your job to make sure attendees come visit you, right?

Knowing how attendee’s feel walking in, how do you think you can stand out from the other vendors? How can you get attendees to want to come visit you over your competitors? Is it even possible to attract attendees to visit you above all other vendor tables? The answer to these questions lies in your strategy.

You simply need to focus and create a plan of action to ensure you have a successful trade show. A successful trade show means you provide brand awareness of your product or service and are able to collect proper leads from those who are interested in your product or service.

The following five “secrets” will help you create a trade show strategy that will allow for a successful show.

1.  Lay It All Out On The Table

Figure out the ins and outs of the entire show from what to expect from your target audience, to how to market yourself to other vendors exhibiting.

The purpose of creating an engagement strategy is to attract attendees to your booth, educate them about your products and services and collecting their information for the follow up!

In order to create an effective engagement strategy tailored to your audience ask yourself the following questions.

  • Who is our target audience?
  • What message do we want them to take away from our booth?
  • How will we follow up with our leads?
  • How will we measure results after the show?

2. Market Before the Show

This is crucial to generate interest before the show so attendees will make a it a point to see you when they show up to the show.  Direct mail, social media, your email signature are a few ways you can market yourself pre-show.

Offering an expo discount, coupon or sending one part of a two-part promotional item (where the attendee will visit your booth to redeem the second part) are all methods you can use to help entice attendees to visit.

3.  Create an Experience for Attendees

When exhibiting, you not only want to attract visitors, you want to engage them and educate them. Create an experience they won’t forget because if they remember their experience, they will remember your brand over all others.

First, focus on creating a welcoming exhibit display that is on brand and sets a good tone for your company.

Second, plan on how you will engage and educate your attendees.  Cool promo products, surveys, contests, prize wheels and other games will help you make sure your attendees will have a fun and memorable experience at your booth.

Finally, make sure you take time to talk to attendees to educate them about your product or service.

4. Make an Offer

An offer provides a way for you to stay in contact with attendees.  This is the information collection stage.

Find out what you are going to offer to attendees and find out what they will get in return for taking advantage of the offer.  For example, offer to enter their name into a drawing to win a free gift if they provide their contact information.

5.  Follow Up!

Always, always follow up!  This is one of the most important steps to a trade show and one step many exhibitors forget to do or choose not to do.  This is a mistake! In order to have an effective trade show, you must do something with the leads you generated during the show.

A few ways you can follow up are to simply call all the prospects that gave you their contact information within a week of the show.  Send out prizes, materials, samples and even thank you letters for stopping by.

If you follow these secrets, and go that extra step to make sure you plan everything before you exhibit, your chances of having a successful trade show experience will be very rewarding.


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