Successful exhibit marketing isn’t the result of one “magic wand” thing you do. It happens because you take the time to think through the entire process and make adjustments as needed.
So along those lines, here are six tweaks you can make that probably won’t cost all that much (some are entirely free), but will pay off by giving you more leads who are better qualified.
- Study and understand your audience’s challenges, goals and needs. Don’t dive into creating your exhibit without taking time to think about what will resonate with them. If you spend all your time designing an exhibit that appeals to you and your team, you may be sending a completely inappropriate message. Talk with your best customers to learn what they’re looking for and what frustrates them. Listen! Then design your messaging and in-booth activities to address those things and create a connection.
- Do multi-mode marketing before the show. If you’re expecting everyone to be magically drawn to your exhibit, you’re in for a big surprise (and not in a good way)! Sure, there may be a few who discover you on the show floor, but you want to stack the odds in your favor. Use all the tools available to you to get the word out before the doors even open at the show. Send e-mails and/or postcards, promote in social media, and reach out by phone to your own customer base. You can also take advantage of whatever tools the show offers, such as pre-show e-mail blasts, highlighted listings on the website or show app, inserts in the bags that attendees receive at registration, and more.
- Give away something that makes sense and appeals to your target audience. Don’t choose something just because it’s cute or cheap. You want people to keep and use whatever you’re giving away so that they see it on a regular basis – or even better, show it off to their friends and colleagues. And this goes for prizes as well. Doing a drawing for some big-ticket tech gadget will probably only get you a long list of people who want that gadget rather than your products or services.
- Rearrange the items in your booth to make it more inviting. You may even want to eliminate some things that are just taking up space. Not only is this important (actually crucial) in a small exhibit, but it applies to large booth spaces as well. Filling your booth with stuff (even if it’s your own products on display) can act as a barrier to keep people out. Move tables and other furniture away from the aisles to draw people in. And once you’re set up, always look at your exhibit from the aisle to see if you pass the “clutter test.” If not, decide what items need to go.
- Role-play with your staff before the show begins. If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I emphasize the importance of booth staff training. This is taking it to a new level. Not only have you given your team the tools to know what to do (or not) in the booth, but by role-playing you give them the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned. Have someone from your team play the role of the heckler and challenge them with questions and objections that may come up. Let them refine their skills of engaging, qualifying and disengaging visitors while staying in control of the conversation.
- Do timely and appropriate follow-up. It’s amazing how this one step makes so much difference, yet the vast majority of exhibitors don’t give it much thought. As an attendee, I’m always shocked how few exhibitors bother to provide me with the information I requested in the booth. It’s not difficult if you have a system in place before the show begins. And ultimately, this is the one thing that will create the biggest results. Or to look at it another way, failing here makes the entire process of exhibiting a colossal waste of time.
© 2018 Marlys K. Arnold (from the June 2018 TradeShowTips Online. To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)
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Inside this guide, you’ll discover how to avoid the most common – and not always obvious – mistakes in exhibit design. Create a multisensory experience that exceeds expectations and connects with attendees.