Tradeshow Dos and Don’ts

Thinking of exhibiting your business at an industry tradeshow? Despite the proliferation of marketing options available to businesses, exhibiting at tradeshows is still an amazing way to attract new customers and raise the profile of your operation.

The Importance of Getting it Right

Fact is, exhibiting at trade shows can prove an expensive proposition; especially if the show is out of town. You’ll be expected to cover your travel costs, boothing space, collateral and even shipping if your booth can’t be transported by you. Therefore, it’s vital you get maximum return for your spend. No matter what industry you’re in, there are a number of steps you can take to maximize your chances of success. Alongside our partners at Vistaprint, we’ve listed Tradeshow Dos and Don’ts below:

Establish Why You’re There

The first key to a successful tradeshow appearance is to keenly understand why you’re there. Start by writing down what you hope to achieve from the tradeshow. Are you looking to build brand awareness? Perhaps you’re hoping to secure some big contracts? Either way, understanding the why will inform your whole approach to the event. Share this goal with your entire tradeshow team. Once they understand your goals, they’ll be able to start thinking of ways to achieve them.

Sign Up Early

At a trade show, the location is vital to making the most of your trade show booth. If you sign up late, all the prime positions will be taken. Signing up early often affords you the ability to decide where you’d like to be boothed. The ideal spot to choose is one near the entrance, or around the perimeter near a main artery. The more foot traffic that organically passes by your booth, the more chances your team has to convert into leads.

Don’t be Passive

At a limited-time event such as a trade show, every minute counts. Treat the show as an opportunity to engage with as many people as possible. Don’t sit behind a table and wait for potential leads to come your way. Resist the temptation to deliver the hard sell. Employ the 80/20 rule when speaking to fellow attendees. Listen for 80 per cent of your conversation and talk 20 per cent of the time. This will grant you an insight into what is important to the person you’re conversing with, allowing you to adjust your pitch accordingly.

Prepare a Professional Display

The quality of your booth and your collateral is just as important as a positive mindset. No, it doesn’t need to be the biggest or the flashiest. Instead, aim for a professional design that speaks to your brand and clearly communicates to passers-by who and what your business is. This is one area you shouldn’t skimp on as it makes your entire operation look amateurish. Investing in a quality booth set up can also be amortized across several trade shows, making it a worthwhile investment. Our partners at Vistaprint offer a full range of marketing materials specifically tailored for tradeshow attendees.

Make Sure to Follow Up

Sitting on a pile of business cards you picked up at the show? Don’t forget to follow up promptly! Have a plan in place to reach out to people you conversed with within seven days of the event. If you leave it any longer, prospects are likely to have lost interest or taken their business elsewhere. It also shows you’re a pro-active marketer and you run a well-oiled machine. It’s an impressive touch that doesn’t cost anything to institute.