How to Plan for Your First Trade Show
Almost all marketers agree that contractor trade shows offer unique value that’s not present on any other marketing platform. By providing email sign up sheets, video tutorials, and ramping up your social media presence before a conference, trade show events bring together online marketing efforts into a face-to-face offline setting.
For companies looking to showcase a new product or meet new customers in an industry-focused setting, trade show conferences offer a great opportunity.
For first time trade show attendees and exhibitors, we suggest hiring an exposition company who can help you get the most out of your investment. Trade show contractors can offer you a professional presentation that will make your brand stand out from the rest and provide you with leads for your sales funnel.
Most importantly, you need an exhibit that stands out from the competition and marketing materials that will help you capture high quality leads. Yet, there is so much more that goes into trade show planning. That’s why we’ve outlined a few strategies to help generate the biggest impact from your first trade show conference.
Before you actually attend the trade show, it’s key to outline your marketing goals. This will not only help you decide on the right trade show conference, but whether it’s the best option for your budget. By outlining your goals, you’ll also be able to track how effective your trade show exhibit performs and give you insight into new ideas for future conferences.
Research Trade Show Conferences
There are literally trade shows for every business niche you can think of, and then some. It’s key to find a trade show that applies to your industry, although broad trade show conferences can also be a good opportunity to meet new customers. Research keynote speakers and exhibitors attending the trade show to get an idea of who is going to attend and whether they would be interested in your brand.
Prepare a Budget
Once you register for a trade show conference, you’ll need to prepare a budget that you can actually follow through. We suggest preparing a budget about 6 months from the show so that you can start purchasing merchandise and marketing materials to display- as well as the display itself. If you have the budget, we always suggest hiring exposition services and professional staff to man the booth. Of course, these are extra costs, which is why it’s good to sort these details out early.
Determine Booth Size and Location
It’s always ideal to go huge, but not every budget can afford this opportunity. This will make booth location even more important to your success. Being a small pop up banner stand next to a full sized exhibit will distract your customers from your message and end up losing you leads. Aside from direct competition in your niche, you are also competing for the attention of attendees with every single exhibitor at the conference. Compensate for a small display by negotiating on an advantageous location for your brand. If not, you’ll just need to get creative to stand out.
Prepare Marketing Materials
Use this opportunity to collect email or newsletter subscriptions to remarket to attendees following the show. Crank up any social media, advertising, and SEO campaigns you have to draw attention to your tradeshow booth before the show and generate some buzz for your brand. This will give you a competitive advantage and establish an audience before the event.
Create a Dazzling Display
The key to a successful trade show is separating your brand from the pack. Opt for custom modular booths instead of prefabricated booths or boring banner stands. A good trade show exhibit is equal parts design to equal parts storytelling. Your exhibit should be used to catch the eye and also provide valuable information to attendees that they were not aware of previously. Be sure to present a consistent message across your display and always brand it.
Find an Affordable Vendor
One way to make your booth memorable is by giving attendees merchandise that they can carry with them. With the right merchandise, this will increase brand recall and word-of-mouth advertising outside of the conference. Shop around amongst vendors to find a custom merchandise supplier who can fit within your budget. You will also need to find an affordable vendor for all of your marketing and display supplies.
So how do we learn from our mistakes and optimize for our next contractor trade show display? Measure impact. More specifically, measure impact through impressions, leads, and conversions. Research how many people attended the conference to measure impressions. By having an electronic, email sign up sheet you can measure leads and research how many of these leads led to conversions following the trade show. This will provide invaluable information into how effective your trade show display was and whether the trade show was a profitable investment overall.
Search for Additional Opportunities
Perhaps the best way to generate an impact at a conference is to sponsor it. Better yet, a keynote speech will provide you with a unique opportunity to reach more customers then the other exhibits. This is also a great opportunity to prove authority in your niche and industry to capture more leads for your business.
Prepare for After the Show
Finally, a trade show conference is absolutely pointless without follow up. Be sure to reach out to any booth sign ups and attendees you interacted with before the competition does.
Trade show conferences are a great way to capture leads and showcase your brand. Capitalize on this opportunity by targeting them with your existing marketing channels to convert skeptical or even forgetful attendees.
As always, be sure to speak with an exposition company to help you maximize your engagement at your first trade show. At Alliance Exposition, we work directly within your budget to find you the best custom display for your brand.