Preparing for your company’s first trade show can be a daunting process. There’s the cost of designing and developing a booth. Then there’s the cost of renting floor space and paying the exhibitor’s fees. Then there’s electricity, online connectivity, and making your trade show booth design ideas come to life.
To put it simply, most small and medium-sized businesses are overwhelmed when it comes to preparing for their first trade show. Luckily, the process is far less challenging than it can seem, and it only takes a modest amount of planning to make it far simpler.
Below, we’ve provided five tips to help your company better prepare for your first trade show as an exhibitor. Apply all five and you’ll avoid the common panic and instead go into your first trade show with the confidence you need to get the most out of the event.
Research and understand which trade shows are worth it.
While some trade shows can be valuable marketing assets for your business, others just aren’t a good fit. Before you consider exhibiting at any trade show, it’s important to research the event to ensure you’ll reach the type of people that can help your business grow.
For example, a B2B electronics company might have a connection to an event like CES from a manufacturing sense, but connecting with the B2C audience that attends the event isn’t likely to produce meaningful results.
Before you prepare a plan for any convention or trade show, check that the target audience for the event matches your company’s own target customer audience. If it’s a good match, proceed; if not, it’s best to spend your marketing budget on a more suitable opportunity.
Prepare a thorough budget for the event as early as possible.
Trade shows are all about return on investment, and you’ll maximize your ROI by preparing a thorough budget as early as possible. This means calculating the costs of attending the event before you start spending.
At a bare minimum, you should know the cost of renting exhibit space, as well as the location of your exhibit space within the event. You should also know which companies you’ll be exhibiting around, and how much space you’ll have to work inside.
From there, you can begin to prepare a budget for developing a custom trade show booth or renting your booth. You’ll also need to consider costs such as travel, accommodation, electricity, mobile Internet, product demo costs, and anything else that will affect the cost of exhibiting.
It’s important to remember that while trade shows can feel expensive, they’re an investment in your company’s growth. With a budget, you’ll have a better understanding of how much you’ll need to spend in order to take part in any convention, trade show or industry event.
Use your customer profile data to design and develop your exhibit.
The ultimate goal of any trade show booth is to convert foot traffic into leads, deals and revenue for your business. The most effective way to achieve this is to design and develop your booth to appeal to your target customers.
If your business has customer profile data, you can use it to determine how your booth should look and what it should contain. Does your target audience have an interest in a specific new product? If so, is it cost effective to demo it at the trade show?
By building your booth around your target audience’s interests and priorities, you reduce the risk of blending into the crowd. Put yourself in the shoes of your target customer and ask yourself if you’d walk into your booth from the event floor.
Let your customers, clients and supporters know about your presence.
As the saying goes, your most valuable customers are the ones you already have. If you’ll be in a city or area in which you already have a customer presence, make use of social media to tell your current customers that you’ll be exhibiting at the trade show.
This way, you’ll have a built-in audience at the event, giving your booth foot traffic right from the beginning. You’ll also gain the valuable opportunity to talk, connect and network with the people you do business with, creating the opportunity to make new deals and generate more revenue.
Social media is a valuable promotional tool even for businesses that don’t have an established audience in the area. Tap into event hashtags and you’ll gain access to a hyper-local audience of attendees, many of whom could visit your booth after seeing your tweets or status updates.
Set measurable, achievable goals for the event and post-event sales.
Finally, it’s important to set measurable, achievable goals for both the trade show and the follow up period after the show. This way, your team will go into the show knowing exactly what needs to be done in order to consider the event a success.
From new leads to total value of new deals closed, the best trade show sales goals are easy to quantify and measure. This means that “generate 500 new leads” is a better goal than “expand our reach in the area.”
To make the event more exciting, you can create a sales or lead generation competition to give your team some competitive motivation. Often, a small bonus for the most effective salesperson is all it takes to turn the event into an opportunity for your entire team to shine.
Exhibit At Your First Trade Show
We specialize in helping California businesses prepare highly effective trade show exhibits. Feel free to contact our experienced and professional team to learn more about San Francisco trade show display ideas, exhibiting advice and event preparation tips.