How to Prepare for a Successful New Year with Trade Shows

trade show marketing


The new year is here, and the first quarter brings with it a great chance to revisit your company’s trade show and overall marketing strategy. Your team is probably revisiting the issue, ‘How can we best-maximize ROI on the trade show circuit?’ That depends on many factors including your company’s current and future goals, its marketing plans, and overall awareness of your company brand.

Generally speaking, attending at least one or more trade show exhibits a year is one of the best ways you can market your brand; there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction with potential clients. Just by showing up, you’ve increased your ability to retain new and existing customers, build awareness around your brand, and of course, network. Max out your reach by implementing some of the following strategies into your trade show event marketing strategy:

Set Your Goals

First and foremost, you should have a very clear idea of why you’re going to attend a show in the first place. Consider what you achieved, or did not achieve, at past trade shows and what you plan to do differently this year. It may also be a great time to consider speaking or participating in a panel if at all possible; this is one of the quickest ways to build brand awareness and expert authority in your industry.

Think through how you are going to measure whether you’re getting good ROI on the money you’re spending on staffing and attendance fees. What milestones and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) will you use to quantify this?

This is also a good time to go back to the basics. What is your product’s core value proposition? What is the purpose of your company and/or its products? With all of this in mind, you’ll begin to formulate a tradeshow plan you can execute.

Borrow From the Boy Scouts by Being Prepared

Once your goals are nailed down, preparation is next. First, reserve space as early as possible and ensure you have good visibility for your brand.

Once you’re confirmed, you’ll want to start spreading the news. Let people know which trade show(s) you plan to attend and build a marketing campaign around it. Start reaching out to attendees about four to six weeks prior to any show. If there are any specific contacts you’d like to reach out to pre-show build a list and reach out to them personally.

Set up a landing page on your company’s website to let customers know you’ll be there. Build buzz through social media, blog posts, and even consider adding the tradeshow logo with a hyperlink to back your website in your email signature. Come up with a catchy hashtag for your company and start using it in all social media posts before, during and possibly after the trade show.

Think Strategically About Your Trade Show Booth Display

When planning your booth, take time to think about what kind of display will best help you reach your goals. First impressions are formed quickly, and an innovative booth with engaging technology will certainly draw attention to your brand. Keep it simple and streamlined. Including branded touch screens is a great way for clients to become familiar with your company and have customers input their information to subscribe to your newsletters.

Train Your Team

This is the most important part of trade show events preparation. Your staff must be knowledgeable about your product and be able to answer questions beyond talking points. The best way to do that is practice. Make sure they have thoroughly reviewed training materials and collateral, but also make sure they participate in several discussions or round tables and have ample opportunity to rehearse. Once the show is in full swing, plan on a quick, daily staff “pow-wow” to help them iron out any issues, review the day’s activity, and keep them focused.

Follow Up Quickly, and do a Post Trade Show Review

Once the trade show has concluded, and you are armed with quality leads, it’s imperative that you follow-up with them quickly; within a few days if possible. Consider electronically capturing leads during the show and reaching out to clients before they get back to their offices. It will certainly help them remember you.

Of course, one of the best ways to learn and prepare for the next show is to do an honest post-mortem with your team. What worked well at this specific show, and what failed? Start working on the next show’s strategy immediately thereafter. The more trade shows you have under your belt, the easier it will become. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about trade show marketing and how our products can help you stand out from the competition.


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