Taking the plunge and exhibiting at an upcoming trade show/conference or large exhibit? Exciting!
Before you spend a dime on marketing materials and displays, travel and logistics, ask yourself this question:
What is the one action that everyone needs to take who passes by your booth?
If you start out by focusing on what you all of your visitors to DO – whether they do a quick zip by the table or have an extended conversation with you as a potential prospect – then you’re more likely to have a super successful event.
You may or may not recoup your costs by showcasing your company at an event. But you can certainly use the event to build visibility of your company and identify prospects..which is often worth tons in the long term.
Here are two examples that I’d recommend for a first time vendor.
Example #1 – You are an author and get invited to a book fair. There are going to be dozens of authors in attendance and all of them trying to sell their books. (This scenario could apply to other similar types of events where everyone is competing for foot traffic). Here are the “challenges”
- You don’t have a high profit margin as each book is probably under $20
- There are limited opportunities for multiple sales and
- It’s hard to capture interest from first time traffic if you are not already a well known author.
So what do you do? Use it to build your prospect list.
- Focus on getting their contact information for your social media marketing and newsletter
- Give them a free chapter or some other freebie of your writing where you get them to read your content and ideally you can keep them engaged to purchase from you at a later date. (And yes, that means gathering their email to send it electronically. Not photocopying 1000s of pages).
Example #2 – You join as a member of a business networking association and host a table at one of their upcoming events. It’s a great way to spread goodwill as a new association member spending money with the group as well as making introductions. The challenge is only a few people have heard of you and you are afraid no one will stop by your table.
What do you do? Use the booth as leverage to make introductions.
- Ask to present during one portion of the networking event. Make sure you don’t give a sales pitch. Instead share something like “The top 10 things plumbers wish you knew when you called them”
- Offer discounts or some promotional item in exchange for them joining your social media feeds and/or newsletter
I hope these ideas sparked some brainstorms for you on how to maximize your time and money that you’ll be spending on the trade show exhibit. Other questions about this topic? Ask them in the comments section below.