If your company’s main focus is business-to-business, most likely you will be participating in some kind of an industry trade show. How can you set apart from your competitors at the trade show and find prospective clients at the show? For starters, let’s look at these pointers:
Before the show – generate interest for your booth
Being at a trade show with a booth is not enough. You want to encourage the attendees to drop by your booth. Send out direct mail and e-mails to invite them to your booth and create a call-to-action link on your website about the upcoming trade show. Be different on your direct mail piece. Your competitors will also be sending the attendees direct mails and e-mails. Use odd size or something 3-D as your direct mail piece. Perhaps use the direct mail piece for the attendee to drop by your booth to collect a prize. Obtain a pre-registration list of the trade show attendees and find out if there is a press room and put out media kits.
During the show – give them a reason to come by
Name recognition and booth design/display will be the key in drawing attendees to your booth during the show. Have materials ready at your booth for the attendees to take. Limit your materials to just the essentials and make sure they are something easy for the attendees to carry and for your sales team to hand out. Be specific on the give-away piece for the show. If the show takes place in Las Vegas, be creative and create a give-away piece that is specific to the theme of the show or where the show is held. Make sure your booth design looks and feels consistent with your company’s brand image. Perhaps a product or software demo can help communicate your products and services effectively. Take a walk and take notes of your cometitors’ booths and gather intelligence.
After the show – follow up, follow up, and follow up
Now that you are done with the show, the critical thing is to get in touch with those who dropped by your booth, attended the show, or even those who missed the trade show. If you can personalize the follow-up, do it! Meaning, address them specifically and any specific info they requested at your booth. Ask them more questions and find ways to generate more interest on their part to inquire about your services and/or products. Send follow-up thank you cards to every attendee. Don’t wait too long before the follow-up process. Take actions within two weeks. Lastly, track ROI of show results and evaluate actions before the next show.
Your may or may not land the biggest client at the show, but you are one step closer if you follow these pointers.