Our last blog post discussed one major mistake many companies make when exhibiting at trade shows: not setting specific goals for each show. Another common mistake is not doing any pre-show marketing.
Research indicates that 76% of all trade show attendees know what booths they want to visit before they arrive at a trade show. How can you be sure that yours is among them? Here are a few tips:
• Build your own target list for each show. Include current customers and prospects who are likely to attend. Supplement that with industry association lists and appropriate rented lists.
• Plan a multi-step campaign that starts 2 to 3 months before the show. Send a series of emails and/or postcards to your target list. Include the name of the show, your booth number, a specific benefit to stopping by your booth, and who they should contact for more information. Keep the communication short, and avoid elaborate product information.
• Send a series of 3 or 4 communications spaced two to four week apart.
• Follow up with a phone call to key prospects and customers. Invite them to make an appointment to meet briefly at the show. Aim for 4 meetings per salesperson per hour.
• Consider running advertising in pre-show publications. Studies show that booth traffic increases 40% for every 4 pages of preshow advertising. Remember to include your booth number!
• Preshow advertising is generally far more effective than show guide advertising. By the time attendees receive their show guide, their itineraries are generally established.
• Offer to conduct a seminar or workshop at the show, and promote it yourself ahead of time.
Remember, filling your booth with qualified prospects isn’t the responsibility of slow management; it’s your job. Put a plan in place starting well before the show, and you’ll be in control of your own success.