On the Fence About Exhibiting?

When it comes to exhibit marketing, some businesses have said things like, “Exhibiting doesn’t work for my business.” Or “I didn’t make enough sales.” Or “No one contacted me after the event”. What was the goal before the event? What was the attitude at the event? and How did THEY follow up after the event?

  • It’s been shown that exhibit marketing for a product- OR service-based is the #2 way businesses generate leads. So, before the event, set a specific and realistic goal around lead generation… “we will meet 3 new qualified prospects”.
  • Selling product, taking orders or setting appointments is permitted at many expos / trade shows. And it’s perfectly fine to do so, but your ultimate goal is to collect information and connect with as many people as you can… they may not buy today, but they may just buy tomorrow.
  • Expecting the attendees you meet at an event to follow up with YOU is bass-ackwards. Yes, maybe they are there looking for a new resource or shopping for Valentine’s Day, but the majority of your connections will actually wait for you to follow up with them!

There are many proven tips, techniques and strategies to implement that can be used before, during and after an event, like marking a business card with a code for “HOT PROSPECT” before you put their card in your collection bin… or standing in front of your table most of the time so the table doesn’t become a barrier between you and your prospective clients, but here are five things you should DEFINITELY do to ensure that your exhibiting marketing is working for you.

  1. Plan Your Follow Up BEFORE the Event
    Whatever you’re going to do, be it an email, a card, a text, a phone call, etc. know what you are going to do before you even go to the event. For example, if you’re going to follow up via email, have the email written and ready to go so all you need to do after the event is maybe pop in a picture of your booth (to help them remember you), enter the email addresses and send.
  2. Craft Your Display
    You do not need to have a lot of “stuff” to make a nice display. But do have something at eye level or higher to grab attention (a banner or sign or poster), something at mid-level to draw attention downward (a smaller sign, brochure holder, a gift basket or even just an accessory related to your business) and something a low-level on the table that they can pick up (a pen giveaway, your business card or handout) which should be near your lead collection bin! (Please don’t forget that) Or if you wanna go a little more “hi-tech” use a laptop to collect data.
  3. Know Your “E & I”
    That would be “engagement” and “interaction”. What will you say to start the brief conversation you will have? Asking a question is great… like if you sell time-tracking software, you could ask “How did you spend your time today before you came to this event?” And how will you get them to interact with you? A survey works nicely. Or a game of some sort… just don’t get to cheesy and have the prospect equate “cheesy” with your business… unless of course you’re selling cheese… then that would be very clever 😉
  4. Give out “Samples”
    Costco and Trader Joe’s have this concept down pat. Give ‘em a taste and they will most likely impulse buy. “But I don’t do food!” you say? You can still give them a taste… offer a tidbit of advice or a statistic in your area of expertise. Show them how the app you designed works. Tell them about a client you are working with that is similar to their business.
  5. Stay “UP”
    This is a two-fold tip… a) stay “up” meaning keep a positive attitude. No matter what is going on (there will always be lulls in foot traffic), keep a smile on your face and be on top of your game. b) stay “up” meaning keep your table display or booth up until a few minutes after the event ends. Tearing down early only shows that you are uninterested in any late comers and you really don’t want to be there. It will certainly reflect poorly on your business.

Whether you’re a seasoned exhibit marketer or a newcomer to the strategy, here are a few reasons to give The Business Explosion a try:

  • It’s a “Goldilocks” kind of event… not too big, not to small. Not too long, not too short… just right.
  • It’s a combo event… mixer, expo and talk show rolled into one.
  • The vibe is high-energy and exciting and the atmosphere is more “laid-back”
  • The attendees are high-quality… they are getting a good bang for their buck, but they still are making an investment of time and money to be there.
  • It’s super affordable… one of the lowest cost exhibit marketing opportunities around.

The longer you wait the closer it gets to full price!