Attending a trade show is just like any marketing effort that your business puts effort into. Once your company exerts that effort it is important to get back all that you have put in. In order to generate more revenue from the event that your exhibit, staff and registration fees it is best to look at a few ideas and tips that can help. This way you can view the event as a success instead of a learning experience.
While generating a positive return on investment from trade shows has a reputation as being a tough process, the truth is that there are all sorts of tips, tactics, and techniques you can use to optimize your exhibit for better results from any event.
From setting goals ahead of time to reducing your budget (yet, reducing your budget can often help you, at least from an ROI perspective), we’ve listed five highly effective tips below for you to put into action to get a better ROI from your next trade show.
Reach Out To Attendees Before The Event
It may seem hard to believe, but many sales representatives or owners of small companies doing their own sales reach out to prospects prior to a trade show. They mention the benefits and costs of their company and even set the state to make deals before the show even begins, not while it’s happening.
One of the most effective ways to generate a higher return on investment from your next trade show is to reach out to prospects, leads and existing customers before the event begins using social media, email or an old-fashioned phone call.
This way, you’ll go into the event with a list of appointments already confirmed, filling up your sales team’s schedule and letting you close new deals in the early house of the event without the usual pressure that can accompany a trade show.
Choose A Smaller Booth
By downsizing your booth, you can reduce your event budget and generate a profit without the same level of pressure as you’d face with a larger, more expensive display. This means you’ll have a much higher chance of achieving a positive return on investment from the event.
When it comes to trade show exhibits, bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes, a smaller, less expensive booth can result in a better return on investment than a larger one by cutting your costs down and reducing your break-even point.
While a great booth can help you stand out from the crowd and attract attention, customers are ultimately motivated more by your product and service than by your exhibit. Think of your trade show booth design as the extra icing on the cake — it’s great as a compliment, but not as the only item.
Create a fun, friendly sales competition
The more motivated your salespeople are going into the event, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to convert their energy and motivation into measurable results.
One of the most effective ways to motivate your sales team and generate a better ROI from the event is to inspire some friendly competition by setting sales goals. Often, a small prize or bonus can be the perfect incentive to help your sales representatives try their hardest.
It’s always important to remember that trade shows can be tiring, challenging experiences for staff. Provide an extra level of motivation and you’ll find your sales team much more ready to push ahead to help you achieve a positive return on investment.
Focus On Upgrading Existing Client Or Customer Relationships
Your most valuable sales prospects aren’t strangers, they’re the people and companies that have already bought from you before.
Because of this, you’ll often get a better return on investment from events by focusing on your existing relationships than by pursuing new ones. “Upgrading” and expanding an existing client or customer relationship can, most of the time, be a great way to generate more revenue.
If your current clients or customers are attending the same trade show that you’re exhibiting at, reach out to them before the event and set aside as much time as possible to showcase your latest products, services, and offers. You could be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Master The Art of Follow-up
During the show, it’s often best to focus on acquiring prospects and leads, rather than aiming to close deals on the spot. This way, you can set goals for sales after the event has ended and put your resources to work converting leads and prospects into deals.
While trade shows can be great tools for closing new deals and bringing in new business, most deals will be made after the show, not during it. This makes it especially important that you have a reliable post-event strategy mastered before the event itself.
It can often take months to realize your total return from a trade show, in some cases, years or decades. Because of this, it’s important that you recalculate your revenue from an event over the long term to make sure you’re fully aware of the total return on your investment.
1. Simple Internal Booth Design
A clearly set and simple design layout is pleasing to the eye and truly is all that is needed for success within a trade show event booth. Typically companies are working within a relatively small area such as 10 x 10 or 10 x 20 square footage of space, so it is best to make the most of it. By allowing your salespeople to have room for product demos, hosting a raffle, and an area to write to get contact information from visitors, your company will be more likely to meet a sales goal. Depending on the products or services offered by your company, that should be your overall guide on how to design your booth.
One easy way to demonstrate any product is with a standard 6 ft. long, countertop height table, with 4-5 barstools all located directly in the center of the booth. This arrangement can be perfect for your salespeople to take an expert stance demonstrating what your company offers with enough space to move around and for attracting visitors attending the show. It also gives visitors a chance to sit, relax, listen and engage with them longer than other booths that do not offer a place to sit.
Your salespeople can have brochures displayed and easily talk about your company or perform product demonstrations so visitors can stop and join. The staff from your company working at the trade show can also have a bar stool behind the countertop for slower hours so they can also rest their feet until visitors approach again. When talking to visitors however, it is best for salespeople to stand to show they care and are engaged providing their full attention to visitors and not portray an image of being too relaxed about gaining new business.
Another internal booth design option is to have up to three smaller countertop stations in a zig-zag within the booth. Each smaller 2.5 ft. long, countertop height table can easily have two barstools in front and a place for a salesperson to stand behind the counter and even demonstrate aspects of your company. This allows more of the internal square footage of the booth to be used and opportunity for newly joining visitors to stand and listen to product demos. This is great if visitors join in slightly after a salesperson has already started speaking.
2. Use a few Natural Elements Inside
Using a few natural elements within your booth has statistically been shown to bring feelings of warmth to your booth, such as industrial stools combined with a wooden countertop would work or vice versa. It has been said that using a few elements of nature allows an atmosphere of honesty and integrity within the booth. Overly bright bold colors everywhere, or too much of the color white can bring a colder feel to the booth and does not make visitors want to stay for long. The same goes for being a little too warm, over use of the color red and orange or similar colors can bring too much warmth especially on large banners or side walls of the booth. However using some red, orange, or yellow throughout can be great. Just look at the logo and design within the internationally successful food-chain operator McDonald’s that clearly uses those inviting colors but does not bombard visitors with them.
Keeping the design and booth area clean while combining various natural elements can work wonders. Having a small desk lamp on a countertop with softer lighting next to a computer monitor for product demos can help make visitors at home and more comfortable. This is key so the salespeople can gather necessary lead information after providing them information about your company, all within the right timing.
3. Good Lighting in the Booth Atmosphere
An important factor that makes your booth approachable to visitors is having good lighting. This does not always mean having super bright fluorescent lights throughout, but something that is bright enough to see brochures and definitely not considered to be dark. The most important aspect is to make visitors feel comfortable so they stay for a while.
4. Eye-Catching Banners
Before we cover giveaways, promotions and product demos, it’s important to finish covering the basics of a great trade show booth. High quality, eye-catching banners are the first part of your trade show displays that any attendee will see, making it important that you get them perfect.
The key to a great banner is high-impact design. Pick a color scheme that matches your brand, then use bold, highly readable text to deliver a punchy, attention-grabbing header that draws in your target audience.
Another key to standing out is effective use of white space. Try to avoid overloading your trade show banners with text and other content, as it can reduce readability. A lot of the time, a short, eye-catching header with brief supporting text is more effective than a crowded banner.
While banners might not stand out as a “traffic magnet” in the way a competition or free product giveaway might, they’re a fundamental aspect of your booth that’s worth getting right.
5. Create A Fun Competition
Giving away your product or service to a few lucky visitors can be a great idea to get way to talk about your product and collect information in the process. Running a competition is also a fun idea to host a raffle or skill-based challenge. It is a great way to attract crowds to your booth and generate buzz without using up your budget on free giveaway items. The key is to keep it relevant to your business. A bowl full of business cards with people who have no interest in your company is not to your benefit.
There are a wide variety of competitions that are ideal for trade shows. From quizzes to fun, friendly raffles, any competition that requires attendees to engage with your team and learn about your products can be a useful tool for generating buzz and real interest.
Just like with free giveaways, the best competitions bring your brand and products into the equation. Try a skill-based quiz about your product to draw in prospects and educate them about your offerings at the same time.
Or, combine a giveaway and a competition with a prize wheel or drawing. From t-shirts and duffle bags to vouchers, gift cards and more, combining free giveaways and the competitive aspects of a prize draw can be a great way to generate large, highly motivated crowds.
6. Interesting Product Demos Using Technology
Finally, another great way to draw a crowd is to hold a product demo. If you’ve got a unique or interesting product that stands out from the competition, showing it off to attendees can be an excellent way to produce a steady flow of traffic to your exhibit. If the trade show has electricity options, having a computer with a good size display screen will be great for eye-catching.
There are several ways to hold product demos. For smaller products, setting up a demo space in your booth and showing them off on demand can be a great way to engage prospects as they walk into your booth.
For larger products, holding scheduled demos throughout the day can be an effective way to develop buzz around your booth. Often, a product demo every hour can transform your booth into an exciting location within the convention hall and a major meeting point for attendees.
7. If possible, be one of the first booths attendees will notice
One of the most effective ways to generate more leads from your custom trade show booth is to boost your visibility by setting up shop in a busy, high-traffic area near the show’s entrance.
While the area directly around the entrance can often be crowded and chaotic, the key benefit for exhibitors is the level of visibility. Simply put, if you’re one of the first booths attendees see, you’re likely to be one of the first booths they visit.
Another advantage of choosing a location near the event entrance is comfort. Instead of being the 10th, 20th or 100th booth a tired attendee visits, they’ll step into your booth near the start of the event, feeling focused and ready to interact with your sales team and often more willing to give their information before many others also ask for it.
8. Aim for a corner booth or intersection location
Corners, meeting points and intersections are excellent locations to prioritize set-up for your trade show display. All of these receive lots of foot traffic, and all offer a greater level of visibility that can help you generate extra attention.
Good meeting points include the areas around catering and cafés, where attendees will likely congregate to take a break from the event, as well as the areas around the restrooms.
Both of these options cost less than the prime real estate at the front of the event location, but still provide more than enough foot traffic and visibility for your trade show booth to perform at a higher level than the competition.
The Lightfair Innovation Awards kicked off Lightfair International 2016 in San Diego April 26th-28th. Congratulations to DMF Lighting who for winning the prestigious Technical Innovation Award with their OneFrame Recessed LED Downlight. The OneFrame is featured in DMF Lighting’s new exhibit for LFI 2016.