If you’re like me, you probably have a running to-do list of tasks on your “someday list” that you’d like to accomplish, but can never quite find the time. Well, congratulations! You now have an entire extra day, so why not use at least a portion of it to ramp up your exhibit marketing program?
Prefer to listen instead?
Just click the play button at the bottom of this entry!
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Re-evaluate your current show schedule. Just because you’ve exhibited at a show previously – even if for many years – isn’t a guarantee that it should stay on your calendar. Take a look at each show you participated in last year to see what kind of results it produced (you are tracking ROI, right?). You may even want to rank shows according to which ones produced the most leads or sales, then start your analysis from the bottom of the list up.
Make a list of shows to investigate for future participation. Whether or not you’re confident in continuing to exhibit in previous shows, there may be some others worthy of consideration. Take your list and do a little research on each one: study their website and download an exhibitor prospectus if they have one available. What is their audience like? Does it align with your target audience?
Inventory your exhibit graphics, fixtures and materials. Times change and materials get outdated or worn out. Is it time to update or replace some of yours? Are there items that are missing or damaged? If so, now is the time to get them ready before you’re in crunch-time.
Reach out to the sales department (or whoever is responsible for following up with trade show leads) to see how you can provide them with better-qualified leads. What criteria are they looking for? Can you ask more specific qualifying questions in the booth? Is there something that you can do when turning over the leads to make that process go more smoothly?
Decide who you could (or should) invite to help staff your booth. Sure the marketing and salespeople are likely already on the list, but what about some customer service reps or R&D experts to answer questions from attendees? Are there executives or other well-known members of your company that people often express a desire to meet? Perhaps you can convince them to make an appearance and hold VIP appointments on or off the show floor.
Brainstorm a list of at least a dozen things you can give away in your booth besides pens, t-shirts, or high-end tech gadgets. Start by thinking specifically what your audience most needs or wants, then work backwards to figure out what you could provide for them to help satisfy that need. It could be an informational tool that you create, or some small item that compliments or enhances their experience with your product.
Create a stockpile of social media posts you can use to promote your next exhibit. Put them all into a text document for copy-and-pasting later, or use a service like Tweet Later or Hootsuite to preschedule those posts on the appropriate days and times.
So choose at least one of these activities and make the most of your opportunity to “leap” forward (pun intended) in your exhibit marketing this year! Then come back here to share your accomplishments in the comments below.
With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.