There are plenty of resources out there intended to aid trade show attendees who are looking to get the most out of their experience – but far fewer for exhibitors. And that’s surprising – after all, exhibitors are investing a significant amount of time and money into their displays and exhibitions, so it’s in their best interest to attract as many potential customers and leads as they can.
This is especially true when you consider the fact that the average attendee of a trade show only spends about 7 seconds examining each exhibit – so you have a very small window with which to catch the attention of each individual.
Because of the high cost of exhibiting at trade shows – and the low attention spans of attendees – it’s crucial that exhibitors squeeze the best ROI possible out of their exhibits. In this post, we’ll take a look at 7 simple ways that exhibitors at trade shows can get the most out of their displays, allowing them to attract, engage, and convert more potential customers and leads.
- Start By Acquiring Pre-Show Exhibit Meetings
You’ve put a ton of work into your exhibit, so don’t waste it. If you know that particular interested customers or clients are coming to the exhibition, reach out to them 4-6 weeks in advance, and ask them to visit you at your exhibit before the show officially starts, if they’re available.
If you can collect the email addresses or phone numbers of past attendees, this can be a very handy way to build up a slate of pre-show exhibit meetings. These pre-show meetings are not about hard-sells – they’re more relaxed opportunities for you to network with potential clients and customers, and learn about what they do – and how you can help.
These meetings also let you test the waters of your exhibit – you can get some honest feedback before the show starts that can be very handy.
- First Impressions Are Everything
The first impression of your exhibit is everything at a show. It only takes people about 1/5th of a second to form a snap judgment about any particular object. Your exhibit should project a great first impression that is professional, functional and allows for an easy understanding of your industry, and what makes your brand unique.
Be creative when it comes to designing your exhibit, and ensure that you don’t overcrowd your area with stuff, employees, or furniture. Simplicity is always better than overcrowding.
Your exhibit can be simple but still impactful – and attendees can focus on your brand more easily, and gain a better knowledge of what it is you’re selling or promoting.
- Extend The Reach Of Your Brand With Promotional Branded Items
There’s a reason that trade show exhibitions are such popular places to hand out “swag”. Stickers, wearables, branded items, and other promotional giveaway items are great ways to connect with potential clients.
Also, attendees will see people wearing your apparel or using your promotional items as they wander through the trade show area – and if they already recognize your brand, they’ll be more likely to interact with you, even if they’re just interested in a giveaway. This gives you a perfect opportunity to try to convert an attendee to a lead.
- Brand Interactivity Is Crucial
If you can make your brand interactive in some way, you should absolutely do so. Maybe you offer HVAC services – having an iPad on display loaded up with some of your designs and information about your company that attendees can use is a fantastic way to get them to do more than just look at your exhibit.
Humans aren’t just visual creatures – we crave activity. Engaging an attendee with an interactive exhibit allows them to learn more about your company without you having to pitch them – and makes them more receptive to hearing about your services.
- Create An Experience At Your Exhibit
If you can’t be interactive, try to create some kind of experience for your attendees that are more interesting than a brochure, a quick conversation, and a branded pen giveaway.
For example – if your company sells tires, you could bring along both a new and an old tire to your exhibit, and have a visual, tactile comparison of the two. Attendees will be able to experience something beyond just a conversation, and this can draw more interest to your exhibit, and make your brand more prominent in the eyes of attendees.
- Network, Network, Network – And Then Network Some More
You’re at a trade show for a reason – and so is everyone else. Everyone wants to connect. Waiting in line for the bathroom? Strike up a conversation. Crowded into an elevator? Introduce yourself to your neighbor. Headed to an afterparty? See if there is anyone there who is interested in your business.
This is what trade shows are for. Befriend organizers, staff, potential clients – even competitors. When you get to know people at trade shows, you build up a powerful network that can be useful when you attend your next show. You never know who could be a potential client or could help you grow your business.
- Follow Up On Your Connections
It’s not enough to just make connections at a trade show. Your exhibit exists to bring in new clients, convert them, and make sales. If you’ve gotten leads from your exhibit, make sure that you nurture them accordingly, and keep moving them through your sales funnel.
It’s totally fine to start nurturing your connections as soon as the conference or trade show ends – you should get in touch with your hottest prospects within a day or two after they’ve given you their information.
The adage “strike while the iron is hot” is the best advice there is when it comes to nurturing a lead from a trade show. The longer you wait, the less likely your prospect will be to remember why they were interested in your products or services.
Maximize Your Trade Show Exhibit ROI With These Simple Tips
Investing in a comprehensive trade show exhibit is an important decision for brands, and if you don’t take appropriate steps, you risk having a bad return on your investment.
However, if you take these 7 simple steps for success into account when designing and implementing your next trade show exhibit, you’re sure to have a cost-efficient, high-ROI exhibit that impresses all trade show attendees, giving you leads and prospects who can be converted into paying customers.
So don’t fear the trade show. Follow our tips for success, and you’ll knock your next expo out of the park – guaranteed.
And for more ways you can make sure that your next trade show exhibit is a success, and for more information about trade show events and integrated marketing services, contact us today.