This is part three in our Trade Show series. It is the last of the re-posts from November. The next 5 parts of the series are new and include a guest post or two from some of our favorite resources.
We have decided to go to the show. Signed up for a booth, have an ROI goal in writing, now we need a plan of action. What are we going to do to reach that goal?
Do we need a pre-show mailer to bring traffic to the booth? Is it going to be a snail mail piece, an email blast or a post on our website and/or facebook fan page? The first question is do you have access to the list of registered attendees, if so you can consider sending snail mail, perhaps a key to a treasure chest, or a piece of a puzzle that they can bring to the booth for a chance at a prize. If the email addresses are included in the contact info, you can send an email blast inviting people to visit you at the show. I would include some kind of offer as an incentive to stop by. Perhaps you can cross brand with a few fellow exhibitors and create a card that attendees get stamped or filled up and are then able to enter a drawing. Another determining factor to how you send the pre-show invite is of course your budget . Adding a blurb to your web site, facebook page or Linkedin profile however does not cost and should all be utilized as methods for bringing traffic to your booth.
Next up on the list is sponsorships offered by show management. Are there opportunities to sponsor the official show bag, lanyard or other item? Is it worth the cost? While if you are the official show bag sponsor everyone will be handed a bag with your name on it, it is generally more cost effective to print a wow bag (does not have to be expensive) with only your info on it, make sure that it is big enough to hold everything including the official show bag and just hand them out in your booth. People will be walking around the show floor doing your advertising for you. Always spend a little bit extra to imprint both sides, so that your name is always visible.
Sometimes, it is important to be an official show sponsor of something, but this is determined by your reasons for attending the show.
There are three other things that you need to do before you get to the show, training your booth staff and being sure that you have enough people, designing your exhibit space and most important your follow up plan and procedures.
Both exhibit space design and follow up plans are separate topics that will be covered at a later point.