Trade shows can be a great place to reach prospective customers in a personable way, to forge new relationships and to raise brand awareness with the right people. Creating an environment for clients to interact with you in person can be a huge benefit alongside your other traditional and digital marketing efforts. However, planning for a trade show takes time and can be costly, so it is important to ensure you get the most out of your booth. Here are five common mistakes made at trade shows and how to avoid them.
Not attending the right events
It is easy to get caught up in the idea that if the competition is at an event, you need to be there as well. When selecting trade shows to participate in, make sure that you are at events that apply to your target audience and align with your overall objectives. It may sound just too simple, but know why you are at an event. Whether it is to promote a new product or garner more brand awareness, sales and marketing efforts need to be aligned in order to optimize effectiveness.
Not utilizing pre-trade show marketing
Don’t just show up. Build anticipation before the event by notifying attendees of your presence at the event and setting up meetings beforehand to make the most of every minute at the show. Utilize social media and email marketing to notify your database and target audience about something unique you’ll be doing in your booth or maybe offer an incentive like a discount on a product or service to get people to show up and engage with your brand.
Not sending a clear message
Prospective buyers should be able to stand in front of your trade show booth and immediately have a clear idea of what you have to offer. Check that your display and other promotional assets all communicate your vision and objective simply and effectively. Some people will be curious and visit your booth to inquire what your business is about. Others will keep walking if they can’t figure out who you are in about 5 seconds. You are there to make a positive and lasting impression in person, not be another booth that people walk by without a glance.
Not staffing the right people
The people who will be representing you at the trade show are the most important aspect of your event efforts. Be sure to carefully select the employees who will be in attendance months before the event and make sure that they are all fully trained to handle the job. These people will be your contact with potential customers and business partners, you need to be sure they are putting the best foot forward for the company. Are they ready to handle all kinds of questions, can they provide information on all services and/or products, and are they able to provide a nonexhaustive supply of smiles to each new passerby? Don’t wait until the last-minute to decide who is going.
Focusing on quantity and forgetting quality
No matter how amazing your product is, the reality is it will not fit the needs of everyone at the event. Tailor your questions directly to determine which prospects would genuinely benefit from what you offer. Collecting leads and/or business cards is fine, but knowing where your quality potential customers are in the buyer’s journey will make follow-up much more effective and worthwhile. Providing materials that can address questions and concerns at each stage of the journey can go a long way to showing how well you understand your prospective clients.
When executed effectively, trade shows can provide your business with a rewarding platform to connect with customers. For help engaging prospects and making the most of your trade show appearance from start to finish, contact us.