How to plan for successful trade shows
Trade shows, otherwise known as Products and services exhibition offers a platform for promoting or advertising a new product or service to a target audience.
Event planners point out that there are numerous benefits to be derived from trade shows, one of which is the opportunity to establish a strong presence of a business and meet new customers.
According to them, a trade show offers an avenue to promote products or services to a larger group of people who have little or no knowledge of your products and services, as well as reaching out to existing clientele.
With adequate preparation, people who attend trade shows are motivated and show genuine interest in the products or services the company offers, and are often ready to commit to a deal on the spot, they add.
As a result, experts say the overall benefits are far beyond contact details of prospective clients because customers can be won over at the venue.
They note that a successful show should keep the company’s sales team busy for months connecting with prospects and closing deals.
For both exhibitors and visitors at a trade show to enjoy all the aforementioned benefits, the Event Manager, D’Chillers Concept, Miss Yemi Idowu, says that adequate planning and preparation are necessary.
“A major trade show requires considerable advance preparation. You must develop a solid plan and monitor your progress vigilantly,” she says.
She says that the following are very important when organising a trade show.
Evaluate and target trade shows carefully
The event manager explains that participating in a show will require huge investment in time, money and other resources on the part of the organisers.
As such, she says a proper evaluation of the show’s impact should be done.
“Are the attendees likely customers for your organisation? Exposure to a few hundred very qualified targets is better than exposure to thousands of generalists who are very unlikely to be interested in your business,” she adds.
Identify your goals
She says that the objectives of the show should be identified in order to channel the available resources to the right direction.
Idowu adds, “Be specific about the things you want to accomplish as a result of your participation in the show.
“Do you want to increase visibility, gain exposure to a large number of customers who might be interested in your products, or check out the competition? Concrete goals are important to determine the value of the trade show to your organisation.”
Advertise your show before the event
To create adequate awareness and attract the right crowd, Idowu says that news releases and other means of communication should be explored before the show.
She suggests using tag lines such as, ‘see us at booth 15 at the archibuilt event’ in news releases and other communications leading up to the show.
“Write a news release announcing the show. Invite editors to stop by the booth, or set up appointments between them and your spokespeople,” she says.
Order all necessary supplies
Idowu says that all documents, forms, brochures and fliers should be ready before the day of the show.
She adds that the booth staff should be dressed in a unique way for easy identity.
She says, “If your marketing collateral needs to be updated or redesigned, take care of this early. You don’t want to run the risk of having no brochures to hand out. Design forms for filling out prospect information.
“Create a unique identity for your booth staff. Decide on the dress code for your staff such as matching blazers, T-shirts, or even boutonnieres will make your representatives easily identifiable.
“Consider giveaways to generate attention and a sense of fun. These don’t have to be expensive. Pens with your web address and a catchy slogan can be very effective.”
Train your exhibition staff before each show
According Idowu, conducting activities at the show in a professional way can only be achieved if the staff members have the right expertise to engage participants without hitches.
She adds, “Your workers need to know what is expected of them. They need to be briefed on all new programmes and initiatives that should be emphasised.
“They must know how to run the demos and presentations, and they should know some basic troubleshooting. Nothing looks more unprofessional than demos that don’t work. Be sure you have representatives that can be fully committed to the event.”
Design an open, inviting booth
In the design of the venue, Idowu says that the company’s logo should be visible and draw attention of the visitors.
She explains, “An open booth design, with no tables obstructing access, invites attendees to come in. Your logo should be big enough to be seen from a good distance. Use interesting graphics to draw people’s attention. For demos, use laptops and flat-screen monitors that are space-efficient. If space permits, provide comfortable chairs to encourage prospects to linger.
“Design powerpoint presentations and demos for the booth. These will draw attendees to your booth and help them learn more about your business. Presentations will allow you to communicate information to many prospects at once.”