Our Top Tips on How to Survive a Trade Show

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Traditionally, we have never been very keen on trade shows.  They always seem expensive and drag people away from the office for days on end, it all seems pretty counter-productive.  So, we debated long and hard when our marketing team suggested taking a stand at the Southern Manufacturing show at Farnborough in February.

However, we have recently invested exhibition material, brochures etc.  And we have recently had success following a website upgrade; our social media activity and newsletter activity. So we finally decided to give it a go. We agreed a budget, took a small stand at the show and spent some time designing the stand; arranging brochures and case studies; building a pre-event communications plan and devised a scheme to ensure we captured all enquiries received.

The opening day dawned and the opening found us suited, booted and wondering what we had let ourselves in for. We need not have worried.  The event was busy and so were we.  During the show, we met more than sixty companies, new to us; we doubled the size of our marketing database and are now working our way through an enquiry flow we could only have dreamed of previously.

Icing on the cake, we have just received our first order from a company we met at the show.  Not a huge order but we can see others following and our sales funnel is pretty-full.  So, although we haven’t done the final analysis we certainly judge the exercise as a pleasing success.

So, our first tradeshow has been very positive. We have reviewed the event and how we can improve next time.  As a result, here are our top tips on trade show survival and, more importantly, making them pay.

Trade Show Survival. Our Top Tips

1.  Plan the event.  Give yourself plenty of time.

2.  Set clear objectives.  How many meetings; how many leads; etc.

3.  Set a realistic budget including travel, accommodation, brochures etc

4.  Watch your branding.  Make sure it reflects everything you have on your stand including your people.

5.  Keep clear records and contact forms concerning who you met; their interests and how to follow up. 

6.  Have something eye-catching on your stand

7.  Be sure to review the event and evaluate success against your objectives