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Double Your Trade Show Results With a Roadmap To Success

Roadmap to trade show successDo not underestimate the power of face-to-face marketing; it is not dead!  It is the key to new customer acquisition and increased customer loyalty.  

Recently, one of my clients more than doubled their leads from their previous year’s show!   How did they achieve this turnaround?  By spending the time planning and creating roadmap on the front end! 

And what does this roadmap look like? 

  1.  Set measurable goals prior to the event.   Ask important questions such as:
    – What is the average revenue generated from one sale?
    – How many qualified leads need to be obtained for the event to be considered a success?
    – What does a successful show look like?
    – What are the key messages that need to be disseminated?

  3. Integrate a direct marketing campaign tied to your event to create buzz and awareness.  Most attendees decide who they are going to visit prior to the event, not as they are walking the show.
    – Spend the time reaching out prior to the event via multiple mediums. 
         – Utilize social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
         – Create multiple touch points prior to the event with direct marketing (standard postcards and
    – Provide a teaser or incentive. 
    – Create a compelling reason for attendees to come by your booth.

  5. Design a trade show booth that matches those goals.  Cut out the clutter and create an environment that facilitates conversation and compels attendees to stick around for the full story. 
    Incorporate multiple tiers of messaging:
    – the beacon that can be seen across the hall.
    – the eye-level message drawing the attendee in as they walk down the aisle.
    – the in-your-face messaging that continues the story as the attendee enters the booth.
    – Decide what activities need to be held within the space to insure that your exhibit advances the experience and moves prospects through the space logically and effectively.

  7. Utilize Edutainment (Google it – it’s a word!) within the exhibit space.  Incorporate entertainment that also educates attendees on your brand and offerings.  At-show entertainment should not only excite the audience into participation but tie in your overall show goals and objectives. 

  9. Hire a trade show certified team to handle installation and logistics for your exhibit.  Overseeing freight, installation and dismantle, electrical, show orders, etc… takes up a lot of valuable time.  Let the people that work in this environment all day, every day handle Murphy’s Law on the trade show floor.  An installation alone can drain you and your team of the energy required to execute at the best of your ability on show opening day!

  11. Do not forget the importance of human interaction.  Organize your team accordingly. 
    – Schedule certain team members to be crowd gatherers.  You know…those crazy members of your team that have never met a stranger, that are parties waiting to happen!  Send them out to chat people up and direct them to scheduled staff within the space. 
    – Take your team’s cell phones away!  OK that might be a little extreme but seriously, make sure your team is alert, not compromised with outside conversation so that they do not miss the opportunity all around them.

  13. Be personable!  People are just that…people!  Talk to them, make a joke, start the conversation.  I was at a recent show with a broken foot and I had more people crack jokes about my dedication and share their absurd speculations as to how the injury occurred.  When the laughter subsided, their next question was …. “So what do you do?”  Now I am not recommending breaking members of your team’s leg to increase leads; however, it reminded me that laughter and personality break walls down quickly and open the floor up for more directed conversation.  People buy from people they like; invest in the conversation and strive to help increase attendees’ comfort levels.

  15. Create a strategic method for follow up and tracking. 
    – Respond to your contacts with a thank you within a week of the closing of the event. 
    – People like to be recognized.  Send personal thank you notes, a complimentary gift, or a video email. 
    – Build your database; keep track of the attendee lists and information provided from the show!

Is all this effort worth it?  Just remember the very important questions you answered at the beginning of the process: How much is your average sale?  If you increase leads by 10%, 20%, or even 100%, that translates into how much additional revenue? 

It never ceases to amaze me how many opportunities are missed on the show floor but just as importantly how unprepared we often are at the opening of an event.  Unfortunately, lead scanners that telescope across the show floor scanning contact information from unsuspecting attendees without the requirement of social interaction have yet to be created.  Therefore, we must evaluate our current approaches and plan for our 3-5 day event opportunities accordingly!

You are investing many resources:  monetary, staff, and energy.  Don’t take chances with your marketing budget!  Create an experience that expands your brand footprint and provides memory markers for your attendees.  A well executed trade show roadmap will revolutionize your face-to-face marketing results!

What's Working In Exhibiting White PaperFind more ways to increase your trade show results! Click here to get your free 32-page What’s Working In Exhibiting White Paper to give you insights into proven methods for boosting your results and stretching your budget.

About the Author

Laurie Hight was an Exhibit Design Consultant at Skyline Exhibit Source in Nashville, Tennesee.

One response to “Double Your Trade Show Results With a Roadmap To Success

  1. After working with Laurie on several projects I recognize these steps as the ones you support your customers with. We have also more than doubled our contacts and the quality of our new prospects with your assistance in show planning. I highly recommend your services and the pre-show and post show follow up support from you and Exhibitor Source. The ROI on your show will more than double with the small investment of pre- and post-show support and you will have the emperical metrics to show value to your internal team which are typically subjective without this feature.

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