Tradeshows gives businesses an amazing opportunity to connect with new customers. These industry and niche specific events are a goldmine of opportunity. Tradeshows are so effective because the audience is highly targeted. Attendees are already primed to be interested in your business and they typically understand what you do. There is also ample opportunity to connect with key industry influencers, the press, vendors and potential customers. You can make new friends at tradeshows and also dig in old relationships leading to more money in your pocket.
But exhibiting in a tradeshow is not cheap as there could be many factors affecting the expenses for participating in the whole event. It is therefore important to plan everything from the beginning to ensure the tradeshow does not become a missed opportunity leading to loss of your investment.
If you are planning to exhibit at a tradeshow for the first time, here is a step-by-step strategy to ensure the ultimate ROI. And in case you have participated a number of times, these steps can help you to correct your strategy leading to a much better outcome.
- Start with Why.
Why do you want to participate in a specific tradeshow? Why is the location where the tradeshow is taking place important for you? Why should/will the attendees visit your stand? Why will the attendees take interest in your offering and want to do business with you? Think of more ‘whys' and make sure you answer each and every ‘why’ appropriately as that will create the foundation of the brand messaging at the tradeshow.
Don’t fall for superficial answers like – “I want to participate to get more customers”. This may be your ultimate goal, but it does not give you a stronger reason to help you lay the foundation of your exhibition.
- Reconnect With Older Connections.
If you have exhibited in the same location before, or know people in that location who belong to your industry, make sure you inform them that you are participating. There are many solutions that can automate this process so that you or your employees don’t result in spending hours on this step. Make sure to include ‘why’ you are participating and ‘why’ they should come and meet.
- Warm Up The Mystery Audience.
It is important to let the attendees of the exhibition know you are participating and why they should come and visit your stand. This can also result in getting inquires prior to your exhibition. To do this, invest in a little LinkedIn marketing. Rather than following your ‘Do-It-Yourself and save money’ instinct, assign a reliable digital agency or an expert to carry out this work for you. You can also ask the organisers of the event if they can share the contact details of the attendees who had` visited in the previous year.
- Design The Appropriate Exhibition Stand.
The visual appeal of your stand will speak for you and your company. In a big tradeshow, there will be hundreds (if not thousands) of exhibitors and the exhibition stand appearance help the attendees decide who they should meet and who they can skip. It also make them make biased decision on whom they should be interested in and whom they should not take seriously. Design is a visual language that speaks both consciously and subconsciously with your targeted audience and you have to make sure your exhibition stand is created appropriately to speak in the right tone.
- Pay attention to visitor experience
How do you greet visitors when they come to your stand? What if you are talking with a prospective customer and the visitor has to wait for you to be available? How do you provide details of your products to the visitor? There are many such bits and pieces that you can work on to make the experience of your visitors more enjoyable and memorable.
- Set Up Smart Data Entry Process
Do not wait till you finish the two or three days of exhibition and get back at your office. Data entry of the prospective has to be done the same night if not instantly. Details of the rest of the attendees can be entered into your CRM later.
- Reconnecting With Qualified Leads
Start with an honest thank you message (you should send an email rather than a WhatsApp message as it will be easier to automate and track) on the same day, that is compelling enough to get a reply from your visitors. Be sure to stand out with your message because your contacts will be getting a lot of them and they aren’t going to read or answer everyone.
Wait for two or three days before sending your first follow-up email. In the days after the show, your qualified leads might still be traveling or be swamped with follow-up work of their own. You should then extend the wait period by a few days for each subsequent email.
The above strategy should help you find the best prospects for your business as well as leave a good and promising impression in their minds.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and we will answer them for you.