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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How To Make The Most Of Tradeshows

Tradeshows exhibiting: you either love it or hate it.

If you hate it the chances are that you don’t get any real leads or business from them.

There are so many reasons why you don’t get good business from a tradeshow.

But the main reason probably comes down to planning.

A tradeshow is an event where it’s vital to have everything you’re doing all coming together before the tradeshow.

I do have a tradeshow planning task list which you get as an added bonus when you sign up for my Marketing Course. The course is emailed in 6 parts and the bonus is delivered at the same time as one of the lessons.

Planning tradeshows splits as follows:

  • Planning Strategy before you even decide which event to exhibit at

  • Generic planning across all events

  • Specific event planning for each show, breaking into:

    • Pre-show

    • During Show

    • Post Show

Planning Strategy

Decide who your key prospects are. Do they attend trade show events? If they do which ones do they attend?

If they don’t attend events why are you planning a trade show? It would be better to spend the money to create customer presentations to educate your prospects individually or in groups.

  • Decide which trade shows you’ll get a good section of your prospects and current clients attending.

  • Agree your strategic aims for all the trade shows you’re going to

  • Ensure consistency for people who attend multiple tradeshows

  • Agree a theme and uniform for your stand: Star Wars, Doctors, 70’s Disco, Astronauts, Artists, whatever seems an appropriate and fun theme

  • Define the publicity strategy

  • Decide whether to provide speakers and decide the topics

  • Agree the follow-up strategy

Implement Pre-Show Tasks

The first and most important task is to get the plans for each tradeshow you plan to exhibit at. From these you can see what sort of stand you’re going to be able to build.

Booking space is an interesting conundrum. On the one hand book early and you guarantee the position you want in the hall. On the other hand book late and you’ll get pot luck on position but a discount on the price. You decide!

Once you’ve agreed the stand you’re going to have get signage you can put up in every show. Think about the stand layout. For example don’t make a barrier for people by creating a raised step or putting a wall in that obscures part of your stand and could trap an unwary prospect.

Decide whether you need to create new brochures.

Create a series of press releases for before, during and after the show.

Send the initial press releases(s).

Update your web site with the show details.

Write and send letters to your customers and prospects with an offer to encourage them to visit your stand. Tell them the stand number and where you’re located!

During The Show

Don’t hand your brochures out during the show. Get the details of people you see and send them on. Preferably arrange for someone back at base to send the brochure and well-written cover letter, with offer, the same day. That way your prospect is reminded of you quickly and without having to lug your brochure round in a carrier bag. A carrier bag that will probably be put somewhere safe until “they get around to it”.

Smile, smile and smile some more. You may think you’ve got it bad waiting round on a stand but think of your prospects and clients having to walk round the tradeshow!

There’s a lot more you can do both during and after the show but I cover that in my tradeshow planning list.

Now really enjoy the business you going to get!

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