Many businesses assume that their trade show experience is all about planning for the show itself. The pre-show and show-day planning takes precedence, and then they wonder why they aren't finding success. Often, this is due to a lack of follow-up.

Here are some tips to help make your trade show experience go as effectively as possible, even if you have a small team. A trade show actually has three stages. These stages are…

  • Pre-show planning
  • Successful execution of the event
  • Post-show communication strategy

If you want to be successful, you can’t neglect any of these. At Exhibit Options, we’ve found that post-show communication could, in fact, be one of the most important factors. Here is a closer look at each of these stages and how you can position yourself for success.

Pre-Show Planning

During the pre-show period, you will design your booth and your sales strategy. You may send communication to existing and potential customers to let them know which trade show you’ll be attending.

During this time period you will also likely promote your presence at the show on your social media accounts or via an email campaign.

Successful Execution

The day of the show, all of your pre-show planning will come into play. You will have a well-designed booth that will draw people in, and your trained staff will know what to do to pull off a successful event.

You will be able to market the product or service effectively. Most importantly, make sure that your staff focuses on getting potential lead contact information at the show because that will be a key component for follow-up.

Post-Show Communication

The final stage happens after the trade show. The post-show communication is follow-up with potential customers and new clients or customers you brought in through the show. This is an essential part of the process, and it is often where the real income comes in.

 

Collect and Use Contact Information

You need to have a solid plan for how you will collect personal information from contacts at your trade show. You will at least need the customer's email address, and, if possible, a mailing address. Sometimes, a giveaway is a good way to collect this information, or you could ask for it in return for subscribing to a newsletter or other helpful tool.

Once you have the information, you need to be very strategic in how you send the follow-up communication. Here are some tips:

  • SEND A THANK YOU

The first thing you should send is an email or a handwritten note thanking the person for visiting your booth. If you can, include personal information or highlights from the show. This will increase the likelihood that the person will read the communication. Send this within a week of the show so it is still fresh in the recipient's mind.

  • SEND A PROMOTION

If the person has not yet officially become a customer immediately following the trade show experience, consider sending a promotional letter. A coupon or free gift may entice them to choose you over the competition. Many people who attend trade shows are not ready to make a purchase decision, so position yourself to be the one they think of when they are finally ready to make that decision.

  • TREAT THEM LIKE AN INDIVIDUAL

If you had a conversation at the trade show, pull from that. Treat the recipient as an individual with as much personal information included as possible. For instance, if they showed interest in a particular service, address that service in the communication. This shows that you heard them and value them, rather than simply viewing them as a number.

  • KEEP CONSISTENT

Don’t stop with the thank you note. Even if that doesn't turn into a sale, keep communicating. The more often you communicate, the more likely it will be that you will end up converting them into a customer. Remember, the success is in the follow-up, so be sure to take full advantage of your newly-acquired leads.

Get the Right Help to Plan an Effective Trade Show

Whether you need help planning your entire booth or are looking for a little assistance with the follow-up planning, Exhibit Options is here to help. We will help you plan from start to finish, and that includes a plan for follow-up communication. Reach out to Exhibit Options today to learn more about trade show booth planning and how an experienced exhibit house can help.