Trade Show Don’t’s and Do’s

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A Business Person’s Point of View…

Everyone wants to make the most of their trade show experience. You want to get the most bang for your buck, attracting the greatest number of potential customers to your booth/stand, with the least amount of expense. Driving ROI is critical in today’s economy. Here at Complete Marketing Solutions we have noticed a few areas where it’s easy to get caught up spending unnecessary money on a show, or just going over the top in general. So when you’re gearing up for your next trade show we hope that you’ll keep these five things in mind.

1. Don’t pack the booth with disco lights

Do make your visuals and displays tasteful. Make it obvious what you are promoting. It’s easy to think that the more bright lights and high-tech equipment you can fit into your booth the more customers you will attract. But if what you’re selling or advertising is lost in all the stimulating visuals then you’ve spent a lot of money for nothing. If you are selling a product – bring it with you! In fact, bring more than one. Let your customers try them out, if possible. A hands-on experience makes for a memorable experience. If you’re selling services, find a way to make that service tangible. If you don’t know how, contact us to help you figure it out!

2. Don’t load them down with paper

Do give them something to take away. Paper is heavy and handouts are tricky. You obviously want to give the people visiting your booth information about your company and your products. But if you, and say 50 other booths, hand them stacks of spec sheets and brochures, they probably are not going to look through all of it – let alone lug it home on the plane. Hello, nearest trash can. Put your most imaginative thinkers on this issue and come up with one or two handouts that give the necessary information, in a format that they want to keep. Maybe your business card has a word search on the back. The postcard could have industry “Did You Know?” facts on the back. Maybe your business has a unique name that you can maximize for a logoed item. Consider going to a half-page, postcard-sized piece that displays your business card information and also provides information about your company and products or services. Still stuck? Contact us for more ideas!

3. Don’t give them another refrigerator magnet

Do give away things that are useful. Do you really need another refrigerator magnet? We don’t either. Complete Marketing Solutions recommends that your logoed items be useful, with a high quality logo and contact information, and be something that the recipient keeps around for a while. Give them something just for signing up or stopping by your booth. Showing you appreciate them for giving your company a little bit of time can make a huge, positive connection in someone’s mind. Another thing to remember with giveaways is that immediacy goes a long way. Instead of having people sign up for a large prize that will be given away at the end of the day, have smaller prizes with drawings that occur hourly or periodically throughout the day. Chances are customers will still be in the building an hour from when they stopped at your booth; then you can hand them their prize personally, or celebrate with them in some way. Again, creating this positive and fun experience is important. This will also mean there are more winners, more happy customers and hopefully more buzz about your business.

4. Don’t try to close in every conversation

Do be friendly and informative. Verbal communication doesn’t need to be overly aggressive. Yes, you want your booth employees to be friendly, but not overbearing. Chasing people down or cutting off conversations probably won’t win many customers. Many people buy after the trade show ends, when they’ve had a chance to think, rest, regroup, and consider their business’ needs again. Pushing for a verbal or written commitment can turn people away. A simple smile and a casual, “Hello, how are you?” makes customers feel more comfortable.

5. Don’t get complicated

Do KISS it! We mean the acronym, KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly! This is really the overall theme. We said it more specifically in the paragraphs above, but really we mean it! Don’t think that adding more – papers, lights, screens, couches, employees, or whatever else you can throw in your booth – will make it better. If it is clean, neat, and your brand and products are clearly understandable, you will spend less, get more interest, and create new customers for the long-term.

Is your organization doing the don’t’s or the do’s?