The tradeshow is over. You’ve made sure the booth is packed in the crates and will be picked up by the shipping company. You’ve gathered the leads and have them in a safe place for transport back to the sales team. You’re ready to relax on the airplane and order up a well-deserved adult beverage.
Whoa! Not so fast! You’re not really done, are you?
While it’s great tying up loose ends at the show and getting off the floor in one piece, it’s just the beginning to your follow up.
First off, thank the folks that helped out. This ranges from the booth staff to the lead person on the set-up crew to the pre-show marketing team that helped out prior to the show. Send out a thank you card or an email (cards make more of an impression!) or thank them in person – just be sure you do it.
Next, go over the leads with the crew that gathered them. This may take place within a few days of the booth staff returning to the office. This confirms the follow up method, the value of the lead (cool, warm, hot), and when the follow up needs to commence. Then deliver that information to the sales team.
Now, go over any feedback or survey results you may have as a result of the show. Even if you don’t have actual in-booth survey results, check any feedback you may have gotten through social media posts during the show. Take screenshots and file them in your show folder. Make notes on what people liked and what they didn’t.
Depending on who’s in charge, it’s also time to document all of the costs associated with the event: travel, salaries, booth rental/purchase/upgrade/I&D, booth space rental and associated costs. Add in the cost of samples and giveaways. Now that you have this figure, when another six months have passed you can get sales figures that came as the result of the show appearance and determine the return on investment. Then do it a year later to see what’s changed.
Record-keeping is one of the best ways to track trends in your tradeshow marketing, so keep detailed accounts of as much as you’re able.
Did you and your team take photos, create videos and upload them to social media sites? Document all of the photos uploaded, keep copies of booth photos (especially any misfit graphics or booth pieces so you can get it repaired before the next show) and videos, client testimonials and associated documents.
Finally, look ahead. Do whatever planning is necessary for the next show, whether it’s a small regional or local show or if it’s the next big national expo. Make note of graphic updates that might be important, booth fixes, and prepare for whatever promotions might be coming down the pike.
Last fall I put out the book “Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level.” I’ve done several promotions around it, given away a bunch of copies, and use it as my main calling card.
But I’ve never done a webinar on the book. Until now. Check it out:
Of course, it depends on what your task is. But if you’re part of an exhibiting team that’s working to promote products and services and generate sales leads, being somewhat of an extrovert is almost required.
Face it: you have to smile, greet people with a handshake or a question, and be friendly. All of those things are important. And if you’re not up to the task, maybe you shouldn’t be there. If you’re the company boss or owner and are an introvert, it probably makes more sense to hire someone to represent you. If you’re a little quirky, with an odd personality and somewhat of an introvert, perhaps your personality is an attraction and people will put up that the quirks to get at the real you.
Extroverts on the other hand are outgoing, lively, engaging, showy and like to draw attention to themselves. If that kind of personality can be channeled into promoting a company’s products and not themselves, they can be a good addition to the staff. In fact, they might be the best kinds of folks to have around. Extroverts love the spotlight and love talking.
The upside of introverts, though, is that may often be more detail oriented and better at listening and communication.
The downside of extroverts is that they’re often tend to not have the attention span to take care of paperwork or write lengthy notes about contacts when necessary.
No doubt you know introverts and extroverts. And maybe you’re one or the other, but likely you’ve got a little of both in you but tend to lean one way or the other.
I’m more of an introvert and am comfortable with my head down. But when showtime comes and I have to put it out there, I’m capable of at least pretending to be extroverted and outgoing. It’s not a big stretch, but it works. And it gets the job done.
So when you’re choosing a booth staff, a general rule of thumb would be to lean towards the outgoing and friendly and stay away from the shy introverts.
They’re just more approachable and that counts for plenty in the fast-paced chaos of the tradeshow floor.
Tradeshow Sales Trainer Andy Saks of Spark Presentations spent 30 minutes with me this week to discuss engagement at tradeshows. We called the webinar “Make Yourself Memorable: How to Attract and Qualify Tradeshow Attendees.” Andy is great at showing how important it is (and offers a handful of tips) to properly engage folks at tradeshows so you don’t miss out on opportunities.
This is a guest article by Blair Pettrey of MeetingPlay.
1.) Do One Task at a Time!
You have heard of multitasking, but have you heard of solo-tasking? Instead of trying to accomplish multiple items at once, put your full focus and attention into accomplishing one task at a time. Research shows that solo-tasking can not only result in better task efficiency and results, it can also help you get more done! (Bonus, it can even make you happier!)
2.) Prepare in Advance
Odds are, you have an annual calendar in your office, showing all of your trade shows for the year. But do you have an individual calendar for every single trade show? Having an annual calendar for each of your trade shows – with what exactly needs to be done and by what date, helps keep you on track. An easy (and economical way to do this?
Use Google calendar – set up each trade show to be a specific color- and set up every single task that you need to do for each trade show, by when, with reminders and alerts (which can also be set up in Google calendar!)
3.) Remove the Distractions
We fail to realize how easily distracted we are – until it is too late. Whether it’s the frequent notifications buzzing from your phone, the email notices showing up on your monitor, or the latest news update blaring through your television. Turn off the interruptions and focus on the task (that solo task!) at hand. You will be far more efficient– and accomplish more by being able to give your full attention.
4.) Track Your Time
If you know you only have 30 minutes to type up your next proposal, or only 15 minutes to send out an email to a potential sponsor for your trade show, commit to that amount of time and get the endeavor done. A great “pressure” is to know if your laptop only has 30 minutes of battery left, it is a perfect time to pump out that 30 minute task
5.) Utilize Chrome Extensions
If you know that you are easily distracted with growing vegetables on Farmville, or by browsing your favorite fashionista dog page on Facebook – Google Chrome (and Firefox) have multiple extensions you can install to restrict the amount of time you can spend on pages you pre-define.
Our favorite? StayFocused (for Google Chrome).
6.) Consider Outsourcing
Whether you choose Upwork or Elance or Fiverr there are several websites that have professionals who can do exactly what you are in need of – whether it is producing a video, publishing a blog post, or delivering an automated report – these freelance professionals can do it all. Just make sure you are employing someone whose first language is yours. Even though your primary language may cost a bit more – the peace of mind of knowing someone says (for example) “Trade Show Booth Design” vs. “Trade Show Designs Booths” is worth the price difference, all while still saving you critical time, at a small fraction of the cost of your worth.
By implementing these tips and suggestions trade show professionals can maximize their time, accomplish more tasks, and open up time and opportunity for further success!
Author: Blair Pettrey is the Senior Marketing Manager at MeetingPlay – a mobile event app. With over 10 years of experience in all areas of online marketing, she is committed to ‘paying it forward’ for trade show and event professionals through resourceful marketing tips and content.
Event planning is no easy task, but it’s a vital part of marketers’ jobs. Companies spend about 20 percent of their budgets on marketing for events. Plus, 67 percent of business-to-business marketers find marketing at events as one of the most effective ways to meet future clients and customers. This is your opportunity to shine as a brand at the exact moment customers are most open to new relationships and budget allocation for upcoming initiatives. Don’t let that opportunity slip away by making these easily avoidable mistakes.
Mistake #1 Being Invisible
Blending into the background is never a good idea. The whole point of attending events is to advertise, so standing out is a must. With so many others at your events, get creative to draw some attention to your booth. Don’t just show up with a white tent. Make sure to invest in one that has your logo. You can also consider adding giveaways or games to your booth to make it more interesting. Even a little music can go a long way. Finally, make sure to bring business cards so that it’s easy to swap contact information and follow through on next steps.
Mistake #2 Sending the Wrong People
Your staff represents you and your company so send team members who really know what they’re talking about, and that you would feel comfortable speaking to your best clients. If you send people who can’t speak to your brand or products, your company may appear incompetent and could hurt your image.
Mistake #3 Poor Location
It’s your job to select the perfect spot for your event. Locations depend on the nature of the gathering — you probably wouldn’t choose a small, quiet cafe for a big tech conference. The easiest way to avoid this? Aim for high-traffic areas. Put your booth near anything that could end up with a long line. You can feed off the success of free booze bars, or big swag giveaways, and infiltrate those lines to strike up conversations with everyone.
Mistake #4 Difficult Booth Setup
There’s nothing worse than having to rush through setting up a complicated booth. The simplest solution is to look into easy-up tents. Custom outdoor event tents, or even custom canopy tents for indoors, are a great answer. Not only will this take some stress out of the event, but you’ll have greater visibility with custom printed graphics.
Mistake #5 Ignoring Social Media
Social media has become vital: Eighty-four percent of event organizers promote their events on Facebook, and 61 percent use Twitter. Don’t think that because you’re attending in person, you can bypass social media. Instead, design a custom hashtag and encourage booth visitors to use it. Many events promote their own hashtags that can help advertise your tent and company. Posting photos of your booth/tent and posing for photos with other social media active attendees will give you a deeper reach into the community, so don’t be shy. Be the life of the party online and off.
Mistake #6 Underestimating Costs
Events are expensive, and not allowing wiggle room in your budget is a vital mistake. Maybe there’s an entry fee you didn’t know about, or one of your props breaks and needs replacing. Fact is, you can always have to expect the unexpected so be prepared to spend more than you planned. Plus, with event costs increasing by between 2.5 and 5 percent each year, this year’s booth will likely cost a little more than last year’s.
Mistake #7 Not Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Because 44 percent of attendees use their phones at events, it’s vital to have a mobile-friendly website. That means moving away from tiny font and photos, aiming for data that is visible, and clickable, on a Smartphone. Chances are that your booth visitors will be looking at your website to view your product line, but if your website is not mobile- friendly, you could end up losing out on sales. This is a risk, you do not want to take and must avoid at all cost.
Mistake #8 Leaving the Booth Unattended
You went through all the trouble of signing up, paying for, travelling to, setting up, and planning your day around manning the booth …. Why are you wandering around and abandoning your booth? What if you walked into Starbucks and no one was behind the counter? What if you went into Best Buy and there were no nerds in blue shirts around to help you find the giant TV you probably don’t need? Event booths are useless without you at the help.
Mistake #9 Paying Full Registration Price
Event registrations take up a big chunk of cash. But because nearly 65 percent of event planners believe early-bird discounts are a great way to promote events, by thinking ahead you can find discounted prices, leaving extra room in your budget for an outstanding booth.
Mistake #10 Forget to Follow-Through
Attending the event is only the beginning of a marketer’s work. After meeting potential customers or clients at an event, it is vital to gather their contact information. Business cards are ideal — hand out your own, too. Follow up within a week after the event, so you and your company are still fresh in their minds.
By avoiding these mistakes, your event is sure to go off without a hitch. Taking these steps can help you stand out in a large crowd of other businesses and attract more attention and new clients and customers. Avoiding these common mistakes can do wonders for your company.
Author: Miriam Couturie is the Marketing Manager at Ins’Tent Industries. She is responsible for managing the marketing department along with all tradeshows and exhibitions. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise through educational content and blog posts
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, it’s a crazy idea. Why in the world would the Beatles in their heyday, ever consider exhibiting at tradeshows? They already owned the music world. What could be gained from setting up a booth?
But let’s consider. Say their manager, Brian Epstein, convinced them they should show up at a booth pushing their products in 1965 at NAMM (I have no idea if NAMM actually had a show in 1965).
Brian: All right, boys. I’ve got you booked at NAMM.
Ringo: What’s NAMM?
John: Must be a bird with the gift of gob.
Paul: A Winglish man from the motor trade?
George: I humbly withdraw from this conversation.
RIngo: But George, you’ve only just begun. (aside: Hey, that’s not a bad song title).
George: I must tune my sitar, which will take me until October.
Brian: Boys, boys! The NAMM is a great historical foundation called National Association of Music Merchants, founded in 1901.
John: Righto! Before the history of music began. Except for me grand-father, singing on the canoes of Greenland (that’s where we turned left to find America). O, solo mio… (singing off mic)
Brian: In any case, if we appear we can help promote our albums.
Ringo: But we’re too busy making albums to promote them.
Paul: True, true. Just yesterday you told me you needed me to write 14 songs by Tuesday.
John: We’ve only written thirty-eight, so we have to throw out a couple of dozen to get anything good.
Brian: If you were to attend the show, you could not only play all of the latest and greatest musical gear –
Brian: – you could have a jam session with some of the best musicians in the world. They all attend NAMM.
Silence. They all look around. No one says a thing.
Finally, John breaks the silence.
John: You seem to have unnerved us, Brian. Perhaps we can groan a bit at your suggestion and in your direction.
(all groan:) Oh, oh, oh, oh….
Brian: But if you have your own tradeshow booth, imagine what it might look like.
Paul: Lots of colors: black white green red pink brown yellow orange and blue…
Ringo: Let’s put a submarine in it!
John: Cap’n, cap’n!
George: Or we could hand out samples of truffles.
Paul: I’m hungry.
John: I want you.
Ringo: That’s so heavy.
Brian: So, it’s settled. A submarine with truffle samples, with all the colors of the rainbow.
John: That is heavy.
Brian: I’ll call the accountant and have the agency book our tickets.
Any good tradeshow marketing strategist is going to come up with a few dozen reasons as to why you should exhibit at tradeshows. But what about some of the reasons NOT to exhibit at tradeshows? Are those reasons worth exploring?
First, let’s assume that if you are exhibiting at tradeshows or at least considering them, you are able to identify the shows that are of the most benefit to your company and products or services you’re pushing.
Some reasons NOT to exhibit:
You’re trying to get attendees to stop at your booth with some gimmicky things like fishbowls and spinning wheels or putting greens. These may get people to stop, but the gimmick doesn’t know how to separate the prospects from the walkers-by. Only you can do that.
You don’t have a measurable objective. In other words, you’re just setting up a booth, handing out samples or giving demos, but are not taking care to count anything. If you want to know if your tradeshow appearance is worthwhile, you have to track metrics such as visitors, leads, sales, demos given – and do it year over year and show by show.
You’re thinking only of the logistics of a show and not the strategy of how the show plays into your overall marketing approach.
Your staff is unprepared for the chaos of a tradeshow floor and the long hours and hard work it takes to pull it off.
It’s too expensive. True, exhibiting at a tradeshow is likely to make an impact on your marketing dollars. But it’s a proven way to keep the cost of your lead acquisition much lower than the typical sales call. Yes, there are some businesses that do it differently and have written off tradeshows, but if it works for you, there’s no reason to quit as long as you’re able to get a good return on that investment.
Your booth does not accurately represent your brand and the graphic messaging is cluttered and/or unclear.
You don’t have a lead management system in place that all participants understand and know how to use.
You only plan to exhibit at one show this year. It may be a great show that perfectly fits your audience. But if you only do one show, you’re missing a lot of potential customers at other shows. Stats show that nearly 4 out of 10 attendees are first-timers and 46% of attendees are only going to that one show.
You’re not interested in or willing to network. People like to meet face-to-face, and tradeshows are a great place to spend time with people in the industry that can give you insight into other areas of your industry.
You don’t realize that many exhibitors do NOT bring their “A” game. Face it, we’re all human. Many of your competitors are not going to do their due diligence and train their staff, do pre-show marketing, have a great product or know how to generate leads well. If you can do those things even marginally better than average, you’re going to succeed more than your neighbors. If you do all of those things very well, you’ll probably run laps around them.
Perhaps if you can overcome these reasons not to exhibit, you’ll find a lot of great reasons TO be setting up a booth and pitching your products and services. But it comes down to you.
I hadn’t seen more than a couple of tradeshow memes until I stumbled across a Tumblr by Anders Boulanger, otherwise known as Anders the TradeshowInfotainer, called simply TradeshowMemes. There are some great ones there, but if you poke around the corners of the internet, there are quite a few out there. So let’s have a little fun and go through a few here:
Want to make some on your own? Check out MemeGenerator and see what you can come up with. And be sure to share!