Expert advice from the team at Entripy.com
Exhibiting at a trade show is a costly endeavor. First, there’s the upfront cost of booking an exhibit space. Then there’s the cost of marketing materials and promotional swag to give away at the event. Finally, there’s the cost of your time, travel expenses and let’s face it, it’s a day when you’re not at the office making money. Trade shows can be a valuable investment and a great way to generate new interest in your products and services. But if executed poorly, exhibiting in a trade show can cost you.
When planning your trade show experience, take care to avoid these five costly mistakes:
Mistake #1: Having a Poor Display
Your trade show booth space is the first impression you leave on passersby. Your display should tell prospective clients right away exactly what your business is about. If potential customers can’t tell at first glance what your business provides, they will likely walk right by.
When designing your trade show space, make it inviting to encourage people to come and take a closer look at what you have to offer. Avoid putting a table between you and your attendees. If you have to have a display table for flyers or marketing material, push it off to the side or stand to the side of the table rather than behind it.
Mistake #2: Not Being Approachable
Attracting visitors to your booth begins with you. When you’re trying to attract passersby, first impressions are everything. Don’t underestimate the value of your apparel. Wearing branded apparel with your company’s logo doesn’t only you a professional appearance, it also puts your logo in the faces of everyone you engage with, enhancing brand recognition.
One of the biggest mistakes trade show exhibitors make is bringing their cell phones to the event. If you saw someone sitting behind a table, staring at their phone, would you want to talk to them about their services? “But I’m answering a client’s email. I’m working on closing an important deal,” you say. All prospective clients see is that you’re too busy to engage with them. Avoid leaving the wrong impression on prospects and leave your emails and phone calls for after the event, or during a break when someone can take over the booth for you.
Mistake #3: Staffing Your Booth with the Wrong People
Never underestimate the importance of that face-to-face interaction. Many business owners think they’re too busy to attend a trade show in person, so they hire interns or temporary workers to staff their booths. This is a huge mistake. The individuals in your booth are representing your company and your brand. They should be able to answer any question about your company.
Mistake #4: Not Following Up
You spent money on your exhibit space, you gave away branded merchandise and you gathered a bunch of leads. Now, what do you do with those contacts? A survey conducted by Salesforce showed 80% of exhibitors don’t follow up on leads. Ignoring your leads and waiting for people to follow up with you is a waste of your trade show dollars. Follow up with them while they still remember your conversation.
Mistake #5: Attending the Wrong Shows
When researching trade shows, find out who will be attending the show. Is the audience your target audience? If you know someone who has exhibited at the show, reach out and see if they found the show worthwhile. There’s nothing worse than spending an entire day at a show and realizing you’re in front of the wrong audience. Don’t simply focus on attendee numbers, but instead focus on audience demographic. You may only hand out 20 business cards that day, but if all 20 of those people become your client, isn’t that better than collecting 200 cards and only converting 2 of those individuals into clients?
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