Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

Post-Show Follow Up

7 Tradeshow Exhibit “Must-Haves”

Time for another list – this one is called 7 tradeshow exhibit “must-haves” and it’s pretty simple. What 7 things (items, people, plans) are essential to making your next tradeshow appearance a whopping success? Let’s count them:

  1. Branding that is clear as an angel’s giggle. A visitor should know at a glance what you sell and what kind of a company you are. She should be able to intuit so much with that glance: how you approach the marketplace, how the company culture works, how you view the environment, wha

    t kind of company you are. A good 3D exhibit designer working with a knowledgeable and responsive marketing team can work magic with the right design.

  2. Professionalism that is as obvious as, well, Captain Obvious. Your fully-trained staff will know how to approach visitors in a friendly and engaging way, and how to either answer their questions or get them to the right person. Staff training goes a long way and is worth more than you’ll ever spend on it.
  3. Lead capture system as effective and smooth as a glass of fifty-dollar bourbon. Once you have a prospect in your sights, make the transition from visitor to prospect so easy when gathering contact and follow-up information that they’ll barely know it’s happening.
  4. Interactivity that engages and draws a crowd. Okay, not every activity can draw a crowd at all times. But what if you had something in your booth that was interesting and engaging enough that once a few people got going, it attracted other people? And if that activity was directly related to your product or service, wouldn’t that be about the best you could do? Well, you could top that by making sure you were gathering contact and follow-up information from as many of those people as you could, once you qualified them.
  5. A comprehensive tradeshow marketing plan that covers months leading up to the show, through the show, and through the follow-up period. This would mean pre-show marketing, show execution and immediate follow-up with the hottest prospects.
  6. Enough STUFF: business cards, lead sheets, sell sheets, samples, demos – all of the stuff you need to hand out to visitors, show they what you do and so on. Take more than you think you’ll need. Unless its dated, you can always repack it and use it next time.
  7. Comfortable shoes. Ha! You saw this one coming, didn’t you?

Free Report: “7 Questions You’ll Never Ask Your Exhibit House”

9 Secrets to Tradeshow Success

Secrets to tradeshow success? There’s no secret! It’s all out in the open. Actually, it’s all lurking online somewhere. Just for fun, I plugged the search term “tradeshow success secrets” into the Google to see what I came up with.

Everyone seemed to want to chime in: Huffington Post, Inc., Brandwatch, Forbes, Tradeshow Advisor, USA Today and others.

  1. Success is measured by how much effort you want to put into it. I suppose that’s true of pretty much anything you do. But good effort is important.
  2. Trade leads and information with other exhibitors (that aren’t your competitors). I admit, I’ve only heard this one a time or two, and I suspect it’s rarely done. I wonder if you could actually get anyone to do that with you.
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    Let people play with things. Yes, adults like to get hands-on experience as much as kids do. Create an experience where visitors can interact with something and they’ll stick to your booth longer than others.

  4. Have a booth host that knows what’s up. A trained staffer is worth their weight in gold. The really connections are person-to-person.
  5. Speak at a show. If you can’t speak at a show, sit on a panel. It’s better than nothing. If you can’t do either of those, create your own event that you speak at and invite everyone in your database.
  6. Steam live video from your booth. With the advent of Facebook Live, it’s easy to pull out your phone and go LIVE! Interview guests, do product demos and more.
  7. Stop people in their steps with creative flooring. Put your logo or some other attractive graphic at foot level. It’s still enough of a new thing that it’ll stand out and get people to stop.
  8. Know what to say to people. It’s great to have a trained staff member, or to have booth staffers who are knowledgeable on the products you offer. But spend time honing a brief 30 second pitch that focuses on the pain people have around things that your products can solve. For instance, if you sell roofing with a lifetime guarantee, ask visitors if they experience leaks, or if they are due for a new roof but are afraid of hiring some fly-by-night firm that won’t back up the roof installation. Let them identify their pain, then tell them that your product can resolve that pain.
  9. Follow up. When you do get leads, don’t sit on them. Pick up the phone and get back to them. Nuff said.

7 Things to Do Immediately After You Get Back from the Tradeshow

Once the tradeshow is over, it’s easy to let a few things slide because, after all, you’ve been working your fanny off for 12 or 14 hours a day for several days straight! But if your tradeshow followup can manage to do just a few things prior to taking that five minute well-deserved rest, here’s where to start:

  1. Make sure the leads are delivered to the sales crew. Depending on the size of your operation this may be hundreds of leads and 10 or more sales people, but it might be a lot less. Make sure the leads have good contact info, and correct follow up info (who gets what and when), and make sure they’re graded in terms of importance and urgency.
  2. Check the booth crate(s). It’s easy to let this step slide, because the crate may not get back for days, or even weeks. But take a half a day or whatever time you need, make sure the crates were packed properly, make sure all items are there and in good shape. Make a list of what’s missing and what needs repair before the next show.
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    Compile and file all of your reports: travel expenses, products sold, samples given away, booth personnel, comments from the staff, costs of the show, and so on.

  4. Gather photos and videos. These could be useful for social media, your company blog, and checking to make sure that the booth is in good repair, or to document damage.
  5. Gather any social media, media or PR stats. How many tweets and Facebook posts went up during the show? How many retweets or interaction? How many videos were posted on YouTube and how many views did they gather?
  6. Give a report to the boss. Not only will this show them the overall results, it’ll help justify your position (if it needs to be justified). Added benefits include having that information spread throughout the marketing team and management, show trends from show to show, and give you a go-to place for questions about the booth, shows or anything related.
  7. NOW take that break!

Tradeshow Follow Up

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?

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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.


Click here to grab my Tradeshow Follow-up Checklist

How to Develop a Tradeshow Marketing Mindset

Is a tradeshow marketing as easy as setting up a booth, smiling as visitors come by, and asking a few questions?

Sure, that’s some of it. But creating a mindset in your team for tradeshow marketing involves more.

So let’s capture a few items that are critical in creating a tradeshow marketing mindset:

  • Realize that all of your visitors are rushing around and want to visit as many booths as possible. Which really means, don’t waste their time.
  • Some thing: you have hundreds of people you’d like to see. Don’t let unqualified visitors waste your time.
  • Prepare for a marathon. Three or four days of standing, meeting, greeting, collecting information, giving demos and answering questions can take it out of anyone. Make sure you’re in good physical shape prior to the big event.
  • With the fast proliferation of mobile devices, your customers are connected to their world through the smartphone they carry. They do research, make connections, pay bills, find a nearby restaurant and more while on the move. Realize how this affects your marketing message and methods and learn how to reach them on this platform while they’re on the move at a tradeshow.

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare. I can’t stress this enough. Too many exhibitors think about things a few weeks ahead and try to make major (or even minor) changes without putting thought into it or knowing how much time things change. From graphic changes to booth makeovers to staff training to pre-show marketing and post-show followup, know how much time all the items take and work backwards from the show date.
  • While a tradeshow is a single, specific event, the online discussion around it will start weeks prior to the show and will continue for weeks afterwards. When you are targeting a show, be sure to listen to the chatter by monitoring the show hashtag, and prepare what you’ll do with sharing information, photos and videos for weeks after the show as the energy dies down.
  • You’re one of hundreds, or thousands of other exhibitors. There are only a few ways to stand out: have a freakin’ awesome booth that stops people in their tracks, have something going on in your booth space that compels them to stop such as a professional demo or interactive activity, create a pre-show marketing message and campaign so powerful that people make a stop at your booth one of their priorities or have a product that everyone needs or wants to see NOW.
  • Once the show is over, your work is not done. To make the show worthwhile, all of those leads and related information must be delivered to the right sales folks to follow up in a timely manner. Again, the race is still underway and you’ll have competitors who are following up within 24-48 hours. What’s your follow up plan?

Mindset is everything. The more you’re prepared for what tradeshow marketing and execution entails, the better your results!

 

14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level: The Video Series

As part of the promotion of my new book Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level, I assembled 14 videos. Each short video focused on a specific step as detailed in the book. If you hang out on Twitter or LinkedIn and follow me, you may have seen them. They’re quick and descriptive, and are good introduction to the book. Here’s the playlist of all of the videos:

It’s the Follow Up, Stupid!

In the 1992 Bill Clinton Presidential Campaign, his advisors made sure the campaign talking points were focused on the economy. So much so that they held as their campaign mantra “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”

It’s unimpeachable advice.

lead-generation

That is, to focus to sharply on one single element. Sure, they had to make sure that all other parts of the campaign were functioning well, but the economy was the overarching focus.

Focusing on making sure you follow up on your leads is as critically important.

The long-held statistic that 80% of all tradeshow leads are never followed up with may or may not be true (doubtful, actually), but what is true is that if you don’t follow up on those leads, you won’t sell anything to those potential clients.

In the course of lead generation and follow up, what’s really going on?

First, there are the methods of gathering leads. Make sure yours are effective.

Then, the leads must be graded in terms of Cool, Warm and Hot.

Third, the leads must contain information that allows the folks back in the office to follow up properly.

Fourth, they must be followed up in a timely manner, consistent with what was agreed to with the prospect.

And fifth, they MUST BE ACTED UPON!

It’s like they told me in junior high school: if you want to dance, you have to ask someone. You can’t just spend the entire dance standing in the shadows with all of the other folks scared to ask someone to dance.

Bring home the leads.

Follow up!

Click here to grab my Tradeshow Follow-up Checklist

Tradeshow Marketing Analysis, Part 8: Post Show Follow-Up

This is number 8 in a series. Check the previous articles here:

  1. Where to Start
  2. Budgeting
  3. Pre-Show Preparation
  4. Which Shows to Attend
  5. The Booth
  6. Booth Staff
  7. Lead Generation

Now you’re back at the office. The booth has been buttoned up and shipped, the staff are back at their desks, and you have a stack of leads that need to be follow up with, and perhaps other tasks, such as going through multi-media (photos/videos) to be used in a variety of ways.

Let’s break them down:

  • Sales leads
  • Staff debriefing
  • Logistical notes
  • Photos/videos and other content creation

Sales leads would of course be handled directly by your sales follow up team. Each company’s methods are their own, so as long as you know how that works, it’s not my job to make that over. Just make sure it DOES work for you!

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Staff Debriefing: While it’s not always ideal to make it work on the show floor, you can gain a lot of insight into how your booth works, how visitors perceive your company and more by holding daily debriefings on the show floor. Even if it’s only a quick 15 minute wrap, by allowing all staffers to share perspectives, offer ideas and feedback, your company will benefit.

Back at the office, another way to benefit is to spend a little more time debriefing each staffer individually. This allows you to offer more intimate feedback and encouragement, and to identify any specific areas that need improvement. It’s also helpful because in a one-on-one conversation they’re likely to be more candid than they might in a group on the show room floor.

Make notes on the feedback for your tradeshow file.

Logistical Notes: Any notes you have made before, during, and after the show should be reviewed. Did the set-up crew have any problems? What questions came up from visitors that you didn’t expect? Did the electrical grid plan work effectively? What was missing? What surprised you at this show?

What about competitors? Did you or any of your staff get around to review your competitors booths and see what their staff and products were all about? Were any of your competitors there in bigger or smaller booths? What could you sense or what did you learn from seeing the booths and products? Were any of your competitors missing? Gather all of these notes as well, and be sure to ask your staffers and management staff what they thought.

Finally, what photos and videos did you bring back from the show? If you have an active content-creation group, you may have dozens or hundreds of photos, and perhaps a dozen or more short videos. These may be photos of visitors, other booths (competitors as well as partners), video testimonials or demonstrations. These can all be used for research, and many can be used on social media platforms to share with your audience what you were doing at the show. Without getting too deep into the use of social media for your event marketing (more on that in the next few days), by capturing multi-media content for research and future use, you can extend your visibility at tradeshows by weeks, months or longer, and use the content to tease your audience in another 11 months when you are prepping for the show again.


Click here to grab my Tradeshow Follow-up Checklist

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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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