If you’ve registered for a trade show, and you have limited time and resources to attend, it may be a great opportunity to consider training your team members to organize and facilitate trade shows on your company’s behalf. We’ve got some great tips for effective marketing strategies that you can pass on to the team members staffing your trade show booth.
Outline your company’s goals: Why are you attending?
This seems obvious, but if you’re going to spend money on an exhibit marketing booth and entry fees, you should have a solid understanding of why you’re attending, aside from the general goal of networking, gathering leads, and promoting your product(s). It’s crucial to include your team in every step of the process to ensure they are ready to execute on the day of the show.
This can start with a simple team brainstorm to map out your promotional plan and develop a story that ties into your company’s overall mission and business plan. Here a few questions to ask yourself and your team to get the conversation started:
- Who is your target audience and why?
- What tactics will you use to gather leads and convert them into customers?
- What, if any, marketing collateral would you like to develop for the tradeshow?
- Are there any speaking opportunities that should be considered?
- Are you sure the trade show you have decided to attend is the right one for the goals you have in mind?
- Does your team have enough notice to create and carry out a plan?
Once the above questions are answered, and a plan is in place, prepare to take action. Establish a pre-show, during-show, and post-show plan and call to action. Again, determine who your target audience is. Consider a social media hashtag to come up with for use throughout this process, and obtain a media list prior to the event. You may even consider setting up a landing page on your company website promoting your booth at the conference.
It’s also a good idea to scope out the competition if possible. Ask organizers for a list of attendees and plan accordingly so you can secure the best possible spot for your booth. Decide what type of booth you’d like to use in the first place (e.g., dimensions and, based on how many shows your company plans to attend this year, whether you’ll want to rent or buy a booth).
The next step is to determine what kind of signage and collateral you want in the booth and how your booth is going to look. As trade show marketing technology has evolved over the years, booths have become much more streamlined; less is more. By planning how you will you optimize the space, design, and visuals to attract your audience you will be in the right direction to collect quality leads.
Have a predetermined follow-up plan in place so that once the show comes to a close your team can begin the follow-up process quickly. It’s best to reach out to existing and potential customers within 48 hours so they remember you.
Train your team and make sure they get some practice
By including your team in every step of the process, they will develop a deep knowledge of your product that will enable them to interact with potential customers. Make sure your team knows your product well and has a clear key message to communicate.
Training with your sales and customer service team is essential. Have your team participate in as many rounds of training as possible so they can become accustomed to understanding potential client pain points and needs – and be able to thoroughly answer common questions about your product on the spot.
If possible, make sure your team has the chance to mirror the trade show exhibits experience by handling the logistics of an internal company event, this can be anywhere from registration, organization, dissemination of information, and follow-up.
Be organized, have a logistics plan in place for the day of the show, and diversify
Again, preparation is key. As you continue to coach your team, make sure they have a list of every last thing they may need when the day of the show arrives, down to extension cords. Place a team member with leadership abilities to be in charge of printing business cards and remembering them for the day of the show. Ensure every team member’s duties are clearly outlined the day of the show to eliminate miscommunication and planning gaps.
Last but not least, diversify your trade show marketing team. Decide who will attend early on and take them through the entire process outlined above whether they are trade show veterans or first-time attendees. When the day comes, one of the best ways to ensure success is to “mix it up” in the booth. Pair up the veterans with those who are less experienced so they can learn by doing. Putting in the time and effort to plan a trade show for your team members may seem like a task that can be put on the back burner, but remember the benefits of thoroughly preparing your team for any curve ball that will come their way without you. Contact us if you’d like more information on event marketing and trade show best practices.