Tradeshows are a great way to get face to face time with potential customers and vendors in your industry and you also get to scope out the competition. But they can also be expensive, so you will have to plan ahead to get the most bang for your buck.
What do you want to get out of this tradeshow? Are you looking to partner with a new software vendor or maybe you want to gain more leads? Make sure you choose the tradeshow that has the right audience for your needs.
- Decide Who Should Go
Will there be training opportunities at this show that you would like your staff to attend? If you will selling products or services from your booth, you will need more manpower. Choose the staff that you will be bringing very carefully. Tradeshows mean long hours and hard work for everyone. You will want the best of the best to be representing you and your company.
- Book Your Travel Early
Once you know the location of the event, book your travel. The earlier you book your flights, the more you will save. Chances are, there will be hotel blocks reserved, but they fill up quickly, so get ahead of the game and get those reservations done early to save the most money.
- Choose the Optimal Location for Your Booth
Think high traffic area. Are there concessions inside the exhibition? If so, see if you can reserve your booth space here. Restrooms are also a great area to choose and the entrance is always good too. It’s important to reserve your booth space well in advance of the show so that you get your first choice.
- Decide What Product to Bring
This is SO important. You don’t want to get halfway across the country only to realize that you didn’t send your best seller to the show. Always include top products and what’s brand new to the market in your packing list. And always have a plan on what you are going to do with that product that doesn’t sell? Are you planning on shipping it back? That could be expensive. Maybe you could donate it to a local shelter, library, etc? Or raffle it off at the end of the show.
- Get Signage and Swag!
There will always be a ton of people lining up for bags, pens, travel mugs and USB drives. Why? Because
they are useful and people like stuff they can actually use. And don’t forget to put some waters and mints or chocolates out on the table too with your name on them. Days tend to get pretty long at these events, and people will flock to your booth for these types of goodies. And don’t forget about getting booth signs, they make nice pop up displays that are so easy to put up and take down.
- Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up!
You will want to take diligent notes about who you spoke with and collect as many business cards as possible. Ask people that visit your booth if you can add them to your email list, and have a form ready or better yet set up a kiosk where they can fill out a form so that you can capture their information. These types of events are all about networking, so talk to as many people as you can, and remember to follow up with a nice phone call or email after the show to thank them for their time.
We recommend planning for your trade show a year or more in advance. You want to give yourself ample time to plan all the logistics from travel to booth set up to strategy.
Best of luck at your next tradeshow! When planning, keep these great promos in mind for tradeshow giveaways and booth decoration: