Does Your Trade Show Marketing Plan Attract Buyers Or Browsers?
Trade show marketing gives your team the opportunity to meet prospects face to face, place your product in their hands, read them and address their objections in real-time, convert them on the spot and close more sales than at any other time. It's a serious investment to attend a trade show, and you should be seeing a significant return on that investment. One smart way to fine-tune that return is to consider the traffic you're attracting. On the one hand, marketing is a numbers game, and we're all out to generate as much traffic as possible. On the other hand, attracting the wrong traffic can cost you time and money and cost you opportunities to interact with real, qualified prospects. Think of it this way: it costs about 15 cents each to purchase cold leads, and your sales team can interact with those cold leads in the office. When you spend the money to send them to a trade show, you're spending a lot more than 15 cents per contact, so you need to be sure that those contacts are worth the extra money.
What Do You Mean By Right And Wrong Traffic?
The type of traffic your trade show booth needs to attract depends on what you're selling. If it's something that just about anyone can use, the only "wrong" traffic for your booth are people who are only there for the freebies and aren't set to buy anything at all. In this case, you can take some critical steps in planning your booth space and marketing campaign to get more buyers in front of your sales team, but in the end, your success largely rests on the shoulders of your sales force.
If you're selling something for a niche market, you need to find ways to attract people who are both in that niche and prepared to buy. Obviously, your sales team plays a big role here, but you can significantly tip the scales in your favor with smart marketing tactics designed to get qualified prospects to present themselves.
Sorting The Wheat From The Chaff
Here are some techniques you should consider, to improve your team's chances of coming home with a stack or signed contracts instead of a box of lukewarm leads:
- Design Your Booth To Keep Them Around - If your product or service has broad appeal, you have a somewhat easier task before you. You have a larger pool of prospects, so if you can weed out the freebie-hunters and lookie loos, you're left with genuine prospects. One smart way to accomplish this is to design a "retention space" in your booth: Something that receptive visitors can opt-in to. Two great examples are a charging station and massage chairs. Trade show attendees are a wary lot, on the whole, and they tend to choose carefully where they are willing to stop and stay. If visitors choose to come to your booth to charge their devices or get a 5-minute chair massage, they've taken the first step toward self-selecting. You don't need a huge, elaborate booth set-up to pull either of these things off; custom graphic banner stands and portable tables will give you an easy way to set up either space quickly and economically.
- Don’t Just Inform: Invite - If you're marketing to a more specific niche, it's critical that you not only inform your contacts of what will be happening at the trade show, but invite them to come and take part. Use social media for more general announcements, but create an email that is more specifically an invitation. And give them enticing reasons to come, because people who are serious about buying at a trade show often start with a list of vendors they plan to go talk to, and you want to make sure your booth is on that list. Let them know if you'll be speaking on any panels; invite them to your brown-bag lunch or evening reception; give them the schedule for any guest appearances and product demos; let them know about any product previews or releases; and, of course, entice them with your value bundles and exclusive show pricing.
- Be Wise With Give-Aways - Give-aways at trade shows can generate a ton of contacts, but they can also be a drain on your resources if you're not careful in how you plan and execute them. If you need prospects in a niche market, don't make the mistake of planning a give-away that everyone will want, regardless of whether or not they will be useful contacts for you. That's a lot like throwing money off the roof. It will surely draw a crowd, but how does it help your bottom line? Think about what kind of prize you can offer that your target audience will want, but others probably won't. It depends on how narrow your niche, and who your targets are. As an example, if you are selling infiltrometers, you want to talk to hydrogeologists, engineers, maybe water district managers and regulators. Offer a chance to win a laser range finder and those prospects will present themselves with glee, while the accountants, chemists, and HR managers will probably keep right on walking. Your wise investment gets your team the opportunity to spend their time talking to genuine prospects.
About The Author
Skyline Exhibitor Source is a total solution provider for exhibitors in Knoxville: Trade show booth design, sales, and rental; marketing strategy consulting and training; graphic design, asset management, and anything else needed for successful trade show marketing. As part of Skyline Displays' network of more than 150 locations, Exhibitor Source gives its customers seamless support worldwide.