Trade show season is in full swing. For most of our clients, participating in these huge industry events that bring a targeted audience together under one roof is a key element of their annual marketing plan. In just a few days, you get the opportunity to put your dogs and ponies in front of more potential customers than you might encounter during the entire rest of the year.
Trade shows are expensive, though, so you need to take full advantage of those contact opportunities and make a strong, positive impression that will last long after the show has ended. Here are a few ways to assure that you maximize your time and dollar investment:
- Use your social media channels to let people know what’s going on. Use teasers and share details (booth number, featured products, etc.) beforehand, post pictures and activity updates during the actual show and, afterwards, shout out some thank-yous and wrap-up comments (prize winners, your next upcoming event). Be sure to include hashtags that can organically increase the reach of your posts.
- Respond to every lead as quickly as possible. Don’t wait until you get back home to reconnect with someone who stopped by your booth. If you don’t set a follow-up appointment when they’re right there in front of you, send an email that evening with all your contact information and an invitation to get in touch ASAP.
- Get to know your fellow vendors. Some will be competitors, but many may be potential customers. After all, if you’re at the same trade show, you’re in the same industry. At the very least, they may be willing to pass a few leads your way.
- Treat everyone with respect. Just because someone doesn’t look like a promising prospect is no reason to ignore him or her. Everyone who comes to your booth deserves your attention and at least a few minutes of your time. You never know when that sloppy kid in jeans and a t-shirt may be casing products for his father’s newly franchised QSR.
- Think outside the box when it comes to staffing your booth. Not everyone responds well to the typical “Hail-fellow-well-met” sales approach. Make sure your team includes associates whose style is a little more low key; visitors who are a bit stand-offish may feel more comfortable interacting with them.
We think trade shows are a great way to tell the world about your company and, if properly utilized, they can offer a great ROI. If you’d like to discuss how trade shows could become a larger part of your marketing plan, give us a call. We’d love to share what we know.