Trade shows can be an impactful way to identify prospects and move opportunities through the funnel. Whatever the industry, you’ll be sure to find a trade show or conference where you can promote your product. This blog lists six key ways to amplify trade show ROI:
1. Reach out Ahead of Time
If possible, secure an attendee list ahead of time, and do an email blast to invite people to your booth or special event. If you can’t get your hands on an attendee list, you’ll have to be more creative to remind people you will be at the show. You can invite them to come by your booth or set up specific appointments ahead of time. Do this by including the event in your email signature and share regularly on social in the days leading up to the event.
2. Become a Trade Show VIP
You can attain VIP status at a trade show or conference by volunteering to be a guest speaker or panelist at a presentation. Sometimes this will cost you a sponsorship fee, but it may be worth it. Another option is to sponsor a session, break out, or time of refreshments. Or you might try hosting your own “unofficial” mixer. This doesn’t need to mean a beer bash in your suite but could be a gathering of a specific subset of attendees, maybe from your geographic region on or off site.
3. Make Your Table Appealing
You want to make sure your table is eye-catching. This could be through an engaging slide show or larger than life product signage. Maybe you want to stand out by removing your table altogether and providing a couple of comfy chairs? Giveaways never hurt either, but the cost of promo items can add up. If you’re on a tight budget consider providing some healthy snacks with your business card attached to the packaging.
4. Walk Around, and Take Pictures
Be sure to take pictures of yourself engaging with people at your booth. To do this you may need to recruit a friend, or simply have a long enough selfie stick with you. At the same time, don’t be afraid to go outside your booth. One trick that was taught to me by Fly Easy Sales and Marketing director Paul Mulko is to walk around the show floor taking pictures of all the booths, especially if these are your target customers. You’ll have an excuse to follow up with them later, sending a long a quality photo.
5. Collect a list of Contacts
Never underestimate the power of a list of phone number or email addresses. While you can give away all the business cards and promotional materials you have, if you don’t have a prospect’s name, email or phone number there is no guarantee you’ll ever have the chance to speak to them again. Sometimes at trade shows I will raffle off a prize as a way of “collecting” a list of contacts. I also try to take a few quick notes about the person I’m speaking to. It could be in reference to a product need, or even a personal anecdote that they share. It makes it easier to jog my memory and theirs when its time to follow up.
6. Do the Follow-up
You’ve went through the work of standing on your feet for days straight, gave away a raffle prize, or sponsored a talk, now be sure to capitalize on the good will you’ve built up, following up after the show with a call or email. Be sure to use a CRM to keep track of new contacts, and after an initial electronic contact schedule a follow-up a month later. You can tag opportunities to the specific trade show you attend so that 6 months or a year later you can calculate your trades how ROI based on how much business you were able to generate from that specific show.
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