Trade Show Success Starts With the Invitation

trade show success starts with invitationYou can successfully drive attendance to your trade show booth — and reap the rewards of your efforts with new customers and a spike in sales.

How? By avoiding the single biggest mistake that most businesses make before appearing at a trade show: they fail to prepare initiatives that must occur before, during and after the big event. They often run off the rails because they mistakenly think that merely making an appearance at a trade show will jump-start sales.

Trade show success begins with an invitation to potential customers and prospects. In fact, some marketing studies have shown that pre-show mailings and even phone invitations can triple attendance at a booth. And that’s no typo: potentially triple the attendance at your booth by letting people you will be attending the show. After all, how will people know to visit you if they don’t know where to find you?

That’s part one. Part two involves offering promotions and specials for your business that can be redeemed only at your booth by one of your well-trained and prepared booth staffers!

increase trade show successTo further drive attendance to your trade show booth, launch these pre-show efforts several months before the trade show. If you’re fighting the calendar, try to give people as much notice as possible.

Besides making potential customers feel special and rewarded with your pre-show efforts, you will create the impression that you are not the typical business owner. And you’re not. Following up with prospects after the show is equally important, which means that you must gather a business card (or otherwise gather contact information) from every single person who visits your booth.

Some marketing studies have shown that post-show thank you letters, phone calls and mailings increase their trade show ROI by more than 50 percent. Add a personalized touch with a brief note – “I really enjoyed talking with you about that new restaurant in town” — and increase your sales margin even more.

Remember the marketing maxim: people often need several “touches,” or contacts, before they make a purchasing decision. Count the trade show as one contact and don’t give up. Your persistence will pay off. These “bookend” efforts – pre- and post-show efforts – are vital. But there’s plenty you can do that takes place during the show to drive attendance to your trade show booth. Among them:

  • Choose a booth in a prime spot – if you need help deciding which booth space is best, consult with your exhibit management company.
  • Invest in a quality display that has been well designed by a professional exhibit designer.
  • Hand pick and Train your staff! Select friendly, knowledgeable people to run your trade show booth – those who are credible and can speak intelligently about your business and its products or services.
  • Generate buzz with an in-booth activity. Try an hourly raffle and give away a worthwhile prize. Making your booth fun and lively will help encourage word of mouth and further drive attendance to your trade show booth.

Remember the quote from “Field of Dreams?” “If you build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, that does not hold true when exhibiting at a trade show. You do need to build, invite and generate buzz on the trade show floor -and your trade show ROI will be a home run.

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