A tradeshow is an investment, so approaching it the right way is a must. Make sure you consider the following items, from the way you approach the show to the swag you bring and even your behavior on site before your next big event:
Make Sure the Event is Worth it
Every event has to generate enough ROI to pay for your team to attend. Analyze last year’s (and any previous year’s) returns to be sure the show is really worth attending and use social media to set appointments and generate leads before the show even begins. The leads you capture are what makes the event worthwhile.
Be on your Best Behavior
Even if you are a dedicated introvert, go out of your way to be friendly and helpful to everyone you meet. Consider the trade show to be your stage – and you need to be performing from the moment you leave your hotel room until the moment you return. Make sure you and your team are on your best behavior and that you go out of your way to be kind to everyone you meet – you never know who is watching or who you are sharing an elevator with at a big show.
Speak or Join a Panel
Make your mark on the event (and invite all your contacts to attend) by speaking or joining a quality panel. You’ll position yourself and your brand well, showcase your expertise and get an in with new prospects if you speak at the event.
Track your Data
Who is coming, what kind of leads are you generating and what are they responding to? A nightly look at leads captured can help you make beneficial changes right on the spot and ensure you are truly resonating with your prospects.
Set Appointments in Advance
When everyone in your industry is traveling to the show, you have a great chance to make appointments for in person meetings. Set these in advance, have a great perk to give away and you’ll make a connection that will benefit you for years to come. If your reps typically travel to meet a client, this can help cut your travel costs and ensure they get the meeting in an exciting location with lots of activity and buzz.
Offer Unusual SWAG
Give away items that will actually make it home with your prospects and make them want to come to your booth. Use your swag as a compelling reward for those who stop by – it needs to be tempting enough to stop them in their tracks and ensure they take the time to stop by. Will a pen with your brand name really pull them in, or can you do a little better? This is a great time to bring the creative marketing types in and see what they come up with free of budget restraints.
Be Memorable and Buzzworthy
Make sure your booth is the one people are talking about after the show ends by creating a memorable and relevant experience for guests. From hands on demonstrations and trials to entertainment that relates to your booth and resonates with your prospects, make this an event to remember. Recent popular booths included everything from on-site video gaming to a handmade cotton candy station and even live, swimming mermaids (all features related directly back to the products and brand) and visitors lined up to have a chance to interact with the booth.
Bring your Best Reps
Make sure your best reps are there and watch them in action. Set performance goals with coveted prizes and watch your top performers spring into action. This is the chance to let your sales team shine, whether you have some established pros or fresh new talent.
Promote the Event (Like it’s your Own)
Use event hashtags, talk about it in your blog and market the event like you planned it yourself. The more press and coverage the event gets, the better it is for you; promoting the event to others benefits you in the long run.
Follow Up Right Away
Make sure you respond right away to questions and requests and try to set appointments right at the show. Instead of relying on paper business cards, use a trade show lead capture app to capture leads in a fun way and ensure that you have a way to follow up with every prospect you meet.
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Great list! I’m always especially excited by the unusual swag – everyone likes getting cool stuff!