How To Get The Most “Bang For Your Buck” (Part 1)

Used under Creative Commons License from Flickr
Photo Courtesy of Flickr

When exhibiting at a trade show, one of the most important parts of your participation in the event is obviously the booth itself.  Since you’re already participating in the show… are you sure you’re getting the most “bang for your buck”?  At many shows, there are other opportunities -besides just your booth space- for you to connect with attendees.  Here are a few examples…

  • Sponsorships:
    • Consider the additional exposure from being an official sponsor for the event, which usually offers the opportunity to have your company’s logo/ name prominently displayed in the exhibit hall / on the property
    • Are there other branding opportunities at the event?  Perhaps the ability to have your name or logo on wristbands, badge holders, or tote bags for holding brochures? These options allow the attendees to have significant, extended exposure to your brand
    • Are sponsorships available for Charity Auctions, Receptions or a Golf Tournament associated with the show?
    • Shuttle Bus – Is there a courtesy shuttle running between the expo & the show hotel?  Ask if there is an opportunity to sponsor this bus & have your company name, logo & booth number shown here.  It’s a captive audience!
    • Directory/ Map/ Kiosk sponsorships – Whether in print or electronic, this is another way to stay “top of mind” with show attendees.
  • Does the show offer the option to provide your literature pre-stuffed in a bag for attendees?  Mitigate the possibility that some attendees might not make it to your booth by taking advantage of this service.
  • “Hand out” your literature electronically – With the universal use of tablets & smartphones, you now have the option to send your catalogs & handouts to attendees by email (while they’re in your booth!)  You’ll know they have received the information they need about your company plus you now have a direct method to contact them to follow up after the show.  In addition, some shows host a database where you can store an electronic copy of your literature for attendees. Either way, this eco-friendly option ensures information is delivered to your potential clients, (not to mention they won’t have to carry around your catalog all day.)
  • Pre-show marketing/ attendee/member lists & mailing/emailing – This is your chance to announce to attendees that you will be participating in the show, get them excited about your company and let them know why they should stop at your booth!  Most shows will make this list available to you & this step is a “must”!
  • Outgoing email signature – Consider integrating a line about your trade show participation into your outgoing email signature, with basic information about the show, dates & (most importantly) your booth number.  This is a great way to build early buzz/excitement (with very little effort!)
  • Have you completed your vendor profile?  In addition to a printed version for the show floor directory, many shows have a website, electronic directories & mobile apps the attendees may use to find out more about your company.  Don’t miss a single opportunity to connect!
  • Schedule meetings with customers – If there are clients attending the show that you want to devote ‘quality time’ to, write to them ahead of time & schedule a meeting. (This could be during show hours if you know there will be a lull or over dinner when the show floor closes).  This way, you will be able to give them your undivided attention.  Some shows offer to facilitate meetings between vendors & attendees, either through an in-person coordinator or an electronic appointment system.
  • Are there any opportunities to display your products/ services in other areas of the exhibition building? (For example, in the entrance hall/lobby, in display cases, at receptions, etc.)  Are there any of your products/ services that could be used as an in-kind donation to the show?  (Another way to get credit for your brand on a sign that says “Provided by…”)
  • Are there press/reporters that attend this show?  Does show management allow you time in front of the press for announcements about your company or to unveil new products?  Provide any reporters you speak with your business card, and offer product photos/ videos for their articles!  Of course, you should send a press release to trade reporters & to your local media contacts regarding your participation in upcoming shows, too.

Some of these options are free, others will have a cost – depending on the show.   You will need to weigh the exposure you’ll receive with the fees being charged.   The point is, for a little extra effort, you can dramatically extend the number of attendees you engage with & the quality of those interactions.