Spring is the time for tradeshows. I have been helping one of my clients, Citizens Mechanical Services, with three tradeshows so far this month. Tradeshows are a lot of work, from designing your booth graphics to conducting pre- and post-show marketing. But what better way to generate brand awareness and attract highly qualified leads to your company than an industry tradeshow? And even though they are a lot of work, tradeshows can be a cost-effective and profitable way to market your business.
Here are four key ways to make the most out of your tradeshow experience:
- Don’t spend a ton of time on your booth graphics. You want to have a brand presence at the show, with your logo or business name displayed prominently. Highlight your main benefits and services on the booth, but keep in mind that most attendees don’t actually spend time looking at your booth graphics, but in talking to your booth representatives. Save most of the marketing messages for your brochures and other handouts.
- The early bird gets the best booth space. Sign up early to exhibit at tradeshows so you can have your pick of the prime exhibitor spaces, which are typically high-traffic areas near entrances, on corners or off main aisles. This can make a significant difference if you would like to attract a greater number of people to your booth or if you want to generate great brand awareness.
- Get into the tradeshow theme. If a prospective tradeshow has a theme (such as Casino night or Secret Agent), play up that theme by having your booth representatives dress up in costumes. This attracts a lot of attention, and if anything, can get people to stop in their tracks. You can also place themed props around your booth, coordinate special offers or giveaways around your theme, or create marketing handouts that incorporate the theme of the show. This will help to create a more memorable experience of your company for attendees.
- Beware of the giveaways. I received this tip from a colleague of mine, who has his own tradeshow consulting practice. Prize drawings can be a good way to generate traffic to your booth, and many tradeshows even require exhibitors to donate a prize. But keep in mind that when you do this, you are taking the focus off of your company, and you may attract only persons interested in the giveaway. The same holds true for promotional items with your logo, such as pens, mugs or notepads. Try to reserve these items for the truly qualified folks who spend some time in your booth and have a genuine interest in your product or service.
There are many other ways you can use tradeshows and conferences to your advantage. You can exhibit at a show for as little as $100 (plus booth and marketing) or simply offer to be a guest speaker for an industry conference. Be sure to incorporate some of the above strategies to ensure success at your next tradeshow or event.