If you are attending a Trade Show as an exhibitor, it is imperative that you have a well-thought out plan to maximize the considerable investment (and opportunity!) of exhibiting at a Show in your industry. Vision Creative Solutions is experienced in helping companies develop and implement plans for Trade Show attendance, as well as all of the marketing elements that will be involved. Your investment, of course, starts with the cost of renting the floor space (including any accessories – carpet, furniture, electric, etc.), plus the cost of sending people (airfare, lodging, meals, etc.) to “man the booth.” Another key cost component is all of the marketing elements associated with presenting at a Show. This includes, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Trade Show Booth Display: This could be a back-drop affixed to the back wall or curtain at the rear of your booth space. Or, you may want to consider a portable back-drop which affixes to an easy to assemble “scaffolding” unit. Many different models are available. If you intend to attend multiple shows, keep this in mind as to the type of (re-usable) Display to develop/purchase. Standard booth sizes tend to be 10’ x 10’ or 10’ x 20’ or 20’ x 20’ so keep that in mind in your selection process of a Display. There will be two costs associated with the Display: (1) Graphics / Design of the Display, and (2) Production of the Display, including carrying case. You’ll also need to plan the logistics/expense of setting up and tearing down your booth, under parameters that the Show organization will provide.
- Pop-Up Displays and/or Banners: Portable pop-up displays are easy to transport and set-up, and are a great way to highlight certain aspects of your business. Depending on the nature of the Show or Shows you are attending, it may be advisable to develop multiple displays. Some guidelines might be to develop a Company Overview (or Fast Facts) Display, which features key messaging about who you are and what you do. Beyond this, again, displays may be needed that focus on the most important products / services of your company. If you develop multiple displays, you may then only need to use the displays that pertain to the particular Show you are attending. Additionally, some strong company visibility can be achieved through developing a Banner to promote your company name. logo, tagline, website – essentially, your Brand Identity. Vision can help with the planning process of what to develop, the creation/design of these materials, and the production, providing a single-source, turnkey solution for your trade show needs.
- Marketing Literature/Hand-outs: Your company literature will be an important reflection of your brand as handouts at the Show. Such devices as a Pocket Folder, a Brochure (either “full sized” – 11 x 17 folded in half or a “tri-fold” – 8.5 x 11 w/ two folds), and Flyers or Cut Sheets on each of your lines of business may be needed. These can be displayed on your table at your booth, or in acrylic holders. Of course, those who “man the booth” will need Business Cards. As an exhibitor, you’ll want to maximize your opportunities, and be cost efficient, thus you may want to consider using higher end materials for your higher end prospects, while using something like a tri-fold for the more casual business encounters at your booth.
Pre-Planning and Driving Traffic to Your Booth
It’s not uncommon to start pre-planning about 6 months prior to the Show, with at least 3 months lead time being recommended, depending on what elements may already exist vs. “need to be created.” You’ll want to schedule appointments and drive traffic to your Booth. Tactics may vary for existing customers vs. prospects. Several tactics should be considered, such as:
(1) Website: Posting on your website that you’ll be attending XYZ Show, including your booth # and hours that you’ll be there.
(2) Direct Mail: You may want to consider developing a mailer (could be as simple as a post card or over-sized postcard) and sending that to your customers and prospects, assuming that you have an address database to mail to. Additionally, or alternatively, some Shows will help you with this by supplying you with a quantity (100?) of announcement mailers (tri-folds or post cards) where you can stamp your contact information onto a blank box area and mail it out about a month before the Show. Some Shows may also provide a mailing list of attendees, from either or both of this year and last year’s Show.
(3) Email Marketing: You may want to consider an “eBlast” to your customers and/or prospects to drive them to your booth. This assumes that you have an email database.
(4) Social Media: You should post announcements and frequent updates on your Company’s social media accounts, about your upcoming presence at the Show.
(5) Trade Journals/Magazine Ads: Are there industry journals or magazines where it would make sense, prior to the Show, to advertise your presence at the Show? (booth #, new products that will be unveiled, etc.).
As a “hook” to drive people to your Booth, it would be great if you are announcing a new product or development that you will be unveiling at the Show. This may get the added benefit of press coverage at the Show, which can be featured in “Show Dailies” that are often distributed at Shows. Another hook may sound old fashioned, but you may want to consider a high end giveaway drawing (iPad Max, HDTV, etc.) with a “fish-bowl” for business card entries, which of course, gives you a new database of prospects for possible Sales follow up.
Public Relations (P. R.)
Under the heading of “P.R.,” there are many tactics to consider. Vision can help advise you on a viable PR strategy and associated tactics. This might include such things as: Pre-Show Press Releases, New Product Releases or White Papers, Stories or Ads for “Show Dailies,” and development of a “Press Kit” to distribute prior to the Show and/or at the Show.
Your Booth should be equipped with certain branded giveaway items. The range of ideas and pricing is quite broad. Pens, mugs, etc. may be a “staple” giveaway item to general traffic, but you may also want to have some higher end branded items (thumb drives, mag-lites, or other premium items that might have an association with your business) for your higher end customers and prospects. Vision can help with our national network of vendor partners who specialize in a broad range of promotional items.
After the Show
Following your attendance at the Show, you’ll want to consider a follow up communication, whether by traditional letter or via eBlast, essentially thanking those who stopped by your booth, and implementing your Sales follow up process for doing additional business with existing customers, or new business with those that you met. For Shows that fill up quickly, you might even want to reserve your floor space for next year’s Show.
Vision Can Help!
Contact Vision for any and all support that you may need for your Trade Show attendance. This could range from consultative advise, up to and including designing and producing all of the hardware and materials that you will need for the Show. We can provide options and pricing for your consideration, and turn-key the development of all materials needed to make your Show attendance a successful part of your marketing!
We can design and/or produce:
- Tradeshow Displays (Pop-up and Custom Booths)
- Pull-up Banners
- Backdrops & Banners
- Table Covers (table cloths)
- Promotional Items & Gifts
- Signs & Graphics
- Window Clings
- Custom Apparel (polo/golf shirts, etc. with embroidered company logo)
- Press or Product Releases
- Tradeshow Advertising (Ads in show daily, trade magazines, etc.)
- Email Marketing
Vision Creative Solutions, a Punxsutawney, PA based creative and marketing agency, provides trade show marketing services and materials to small to medium sized businesses throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the surrounding area.