Recently, I’ve gotten to work a lot on trade show designs. I thought I’d share some insight based on my experiences designing supporting marketing collateral. Perhaps you are considering participating in an upcoming show or you have one in your near future. Let the work begin! I hope these tips help jump start the planning process.
BEFORE AND DURING THE SHOW
- If you have an existing client list, use it! Keep that list clean and up to date. That is a whole other post regarding data maintenance. Put together a mailing and/or an email blast announcing your participation in the upcoming Expo to your data base. Invite them and include a teaser of what is in it for them if they come by and see you. Consider a give-a-way or a special discount. Be sure and include your booth number. You’ll want to send this shortly before the expo to allow for arrangements and also for keeping it top of mind. If you don’t have a data list, some shows offer a list of registered participants pre-show. Be sure to ask.
- Decide how you’ll collect data from interested visitors at the show. You can collect names through a promotion, newsletter sign up, a coupon or a promotional drawing. Decide which one you’ll offer and then design a form that meets the needs to collect the appropriate data for your use after the show on your follow up.
- Handouts: Don’t rely on your company website for visitors to learn about your company when there is a warm body in front of you. Have a simple handout to provide a visitor during conversation to capture what your business is about. You can use this as a tool to help direct them to your website by plugging in your contact information or by using a QR code. Also, be sure to have your business card handy for the individuals who engage in conversation with you.
- Signage: Don’t skimp here. You’ve got a lot of competition everywhere the eye glances around your booth so making a statement and accurately reflecting what you are offering is key. One of my favorite is a Roll Up Pro pictured here:
These are an investment for the hardware but they make a strong, professional statement and they represent your brand. If you’re interested in this product, ask me about renting the stand and purchasing your own banner for use to see if you qualify.
- Think about even the small details. Wear your brand colors the day of the show or mute colors, you don’t want your outfit clashing or distracting from your booth.
- Enjoy yourself and engage with as many people as you can. It will be worth it after you’ve built a healthy follow up list.
AFTER THE SHOW
- Now that the show is over, you’ve got to pack up and catch up on the work you’ve missed. Before you know it you have a lengthy to-do list and it is possible the contacts you’ve made haven’t made it on your to-do list for follow up. When this happens, you’ve lost opportunity.
- Plan your follow up and make it happen. Consider sending an email blast to attendees thanking them for visiting and extending a special offer to them. Include links for your social media outlets, like Facebook, to offer additional ways to keep in contact with you. If you’ve collected mailing address, plan a follow up mailing and add the names to your database to be included in future mailings. For those individuals you personally connected with, send them a personal email.
- When it is all over make sure you take a few moments to analyze how you felt about participating in the show. Track responses on your promotions to decide if your investment was worth it. Take notes so that when the opportunity comes up to participate again you’ll be able to recall your thoughts and make the best decision for your business.