Tradeshows can be a fabulously profitable marketing program or a colossal waste of time and money. Careful planning and immediate follow-up are the keys to tradeshow success.
The acceleration of the buying cycle is what makes tradeshows powerful: done right, you can generate leads, set appointments, and build rapport with prospects all in the course of a day or two.
The keys to running an effective tradeshow program are simple:
- Select the right shows: Do in-depth research to find the shows that give you the most bang for your buck. Determine how long the show has been running, attendance trends, marketing program details, attendee profile, types of exhibitors, ancillary events, and other shows the sponsors consider to be competitors.
- Pump up pre-show marketing: What you do before the show determines your success. Send direct mails or emails to registered attendees and include a compelling reason to visit your booth. Advertise in the trade show program. Mail personal invitations to your current clients and prospects.
- Create a booth that rocks: Prospects decide to enter your booth within about three seconds, so make sure there is a focal point that communicates your benefit-oriented message. Use bright colors, dramatic lighting, or movement to get attention. Ensure you have the ability to do demos or presentations.
- Follow up immediately: All your hard work at the trade show will be for naught, if you let your leads get cold. Strive to provide fulfillment materials to the leads you gathered within 72 hours of the show closing.
Following these key steps will help you make the most of your tradeshow budget.