TRADE SHOW GUIDE
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR INVESTMENT
"NEVER MAKE YOUR BOOTH AN ACCIDENTAL FIND"
By: Mike McAllister
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As owner of Inventiv Designs, Mike McAllister has helped launch brands into major industry outlets nationwide by providing high quality techniques and practices in branding, marketing, identity creation, web design, and graphic design. With over 20 years of industry experience, Mike continues to help companies find their voice and focus on a direction for success over adversity.
DEFINE YOUR GOALWhen you define your goal you have a better guide to what you want to get out of the show. Are you launching a new product? Trying to generate more leads? A lot of times my goal is to use tradeshows to gain clarity on my brand’s message. If attendees are asking a lot of the same questions, you may want to look at filling in those gaps immediately. People are either finding gaps in your idea, or the message you are trying to convey is flawed enough to create confusion.
STRATEGY IS KEY
PRE-SHOW ADVERTISINGNever make your booth an accidental find. Make it a destination. Depending on the venue, there are numerous opportunities to pre-market your booth and brand. Do as much as you can to promote your brand prior to the show(s). Many promotional companies offer a multitude of marketing opportunities that range from print through digital advertising. Additionally, companies can rent or purchase mailing lists of past and present attendees to ramp up direct mail and email newsletter campaigns. Any advertising that you are currently doing could also include a call-to-action by including words like, “See us at…” to entice others to specifically seek out your booth; it’s creating a destination. Finally, be sure to have all of your social media outlets updated to help generate traffic to your booth and website. It’s the simplest way to generate the most potential leads while keeping your followers informed about the brand.
GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR EXHIBIT
If you know children will be attending, be sure to have items for them to keep them entertained while promoting your company. Things like drawings, a friendly dog, quick and simple games, and branded toys such as Frisbees or tennis balls will immediately grab the attention of the child (and forcibly the attention of the parent/adult). Always have enough marketing materials on hand. I like to use tear-away pads for the immediate attendees, as these are inexpensive but effective marketing pieces. These are typically the standard size of 8.5x11” paper. The second promotional material can be found further into the booth that I hand out once I have established the credibility of the lead. These are more expensive pieces that have more style, more thorough information, are less likely to end up in the trash, and have more dedicated design/production time. No matter what, look like you are in business.