Trade shows can be massive game-changers for your business. If you handle them right, they can be the perfect place to network, swap ideas, and make yourself and your business known. However, trade show marketing requires a bit of savvy and experience is also helpful.
Whether you are gearing up for your first or fiftieth trade show, the Cody Group has the products and advice to help you make the most of your trade show experience.
Remember, you cannot leave your trade show success to chance. An excellent trade show experience depends on months of careful consideration and planning.
A Trade Show Timeline to Help Ensure You are Ready
One Year Ahead of Time
Sit down with your top advisors and decide your objectives for participating in a trade show. Nothing else will matter if you are moving along with no purpose or goal. After you have your objectives in sight, determine which trade show will best serve your purpose. You can base this on various data like attendance, location, and other companies who will take part or have taken part in the past.
Plan your budget with as much detail as possible, and be sure to account for a few unexpected costs. This type of forecast will also help you chart your ROI.
Ten Months Ahead of the Show
Touch base with show organisers, nail down your paperwork and other registration incidentals. Conceptualise your trade show booth by having brainstorming sessions.
Speak with promotional companies to decide on handouts. Not only will you need to choose what you should have, but you will also work on designs and the appropriate number of products. A good promotional company will have staff to assist you with this process.
Six to Nine Months Before the Show
Liaise with the proper departments to finalise your trade show booth details. Topics such as build, lighting, size, and displays must be determined. Also, consider the flow of traffic in and out of your booth, artwork, branded product placement, and the overall scheme of your trade show booth. You want to allow enough space for people to converse while others come in and out comfortably.
One to Five Months Ahead of the Trade Show
The final weeks and months before your trade show should be about watching your plans come to life. Additionally, assign staff to follow up with all necessary details, delivery schedules, training, and advertising.
Now is the time to hype the show and create an anticipatory buzz that grabs people’s attention. Put finishing touches on ads, videos, and other advertising methods.
Create contingency plans so you are ready for anything and will not be caught off guard by the unexpected.
Have your marketing materials ready, and be sure everyone involved with the trade show is trained and understands their purpose.
One Week Before the Trade Show
Delegate specific tasks and plan out every job in detail. Make emergency packs for last-minute repairs, first aid, electronic emergencies, cleaning products, communications supplies, and refreshments for staff.
Always be overprepared for trade shows. They are a significant investment in time and money for your company, so do not take them lightly.
Top Six Mistakes to Avoid at Your Next Trade Show
Of course, even if you get everything from your trade show booth etiquette to your promotional products in order, there is still plenty of room for error at trade shows. Here are six of the top mistakes you will want to steer clear of at your next show.
Insufficient Planning – If you are not working out the details of your trade show 10-12 months ahead of time, you are doing your company a disservice. You already know excellence and success come from planning and preparation. This is true across the board. You are spending money and time to be a part of a trade show. Make it worth your while.
Opting to be Cheap – There is no nice way to say it. It will show if you want to use the least expensive things available, and your peers and clients will NOT be impressed. Of course, you do not have to spend outrageously. However, choosing a better quality booth décor and promotional items will set you apart from the rest of the crowd.
No Pre-Show Marketing – It is vital to let people know you will be at a trade show. Give clients a heads-up so they can plan to stop by your booth. Your results will be unimpressive if you are not excited about engaging clients and potential clients at a trade show.
Old Displays – It is easy to subscribe to the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, when it comes to your booth and displays, you need to make sure you are putting your best foot forward. You do not need to do a total rebuild. Many companies have had great results with pop-up trade show booths, and you can customise your graphics and make something that fits your brand.
Ignoring Social Media – Regardless of your platform (and you should use several), make a point of hyping the trade show and getting people excited. Take a video for YouTube and show off your new trade show booth design and add a few cameos of visitors, with their permission. Ask followers to share information. Social Media is a great way to put yourself and the trade show in front of thousands of eyes.
No Post-Show Marketing – Following up on leads and nurturing contacts are vital for post-trade show marketing. Offer thanks and shout-outs to those who helped make your show excellent. Additionally, you can post images and videos from the show on your company website and social media.
Trade shows can be golden opportunities to grow your business, make new contacts, and solidify your reputation in your niche. Offering the right sorts of handouts is an excellent way to make yourself memorable. If you would like some expert guidance about any of the Cody Group’s products, feel free to contact us. Our expert staff are happy to help guide you to the best options