A guest post by Daniel Frank of Search Laboratory.
Trade shows have some of the best potential ROI of any marketing tool. To make the most out of their trade-show investments, however, businesses must take the time to plan out their trade-show strategies.
Unfortunately, marketers sometimes fail to get the best ROI from trade shows for the following reasons.
1. Not knowing why they are at a trade show
If your reason for going to a trade show is anything along the lines of “because we always go,” then you need to sit and rethink that reason. What you do for your marketing depends on your objectives. For example, if you want to reach a lot of informed buyers in the industry, then attending the right trade show makes sense. If you want to reach the general public, then you should find other marketing channels that work better. Think about your objectives and then plan how to best meet them.
2. Not doing any pre-event marketing
Trade shows are packed with companies showing off their latest and best wares. So, why should the attendees make an effort to visit your booth rather than your competitors’ booths? The answer isn’t tchotchkes, despite what some people think.
You need to give attendees a solid reason to visit your stand, whether to check out a new product release, get an exclusive white paper, or attend a workshop. You need something valuable that interests genuinely qualified leads rather than draw bored reps looking for some swag. Once you decide what to offer, make sure you publicize news that you’re offering it at the trade show. If people don’t know you’re there, they aren’t going to look for you!
3. Having bland exhibition booths
You’ve given people a reason to find your stand—but they keep walking past it. Why? The two most likely reasons are your staff or the booth itself. Though exhibition stands can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, businesses can still make them stylish and effective. Even basic shell schemes can be made to stand out by using good graphics and a clear message.
4. Lack of people skills
Manning a booth is hard work, especially if you’re doing it well. Staff members will need extensive knowledge about the company and its products. Plus, they’ll have to work long hours. I’m sure everyone who has been to trade shows has encountered reps desperate to tell you all about their company and what they do. How often do those reps keep your interest compared to the folks who listen to your problem and explain how they can solve it?
The difference between well-trained staff members who welcome visitors and listen to their problems is striking when compared to poorly trained staff members who don’t engage. Like in any sales environment, you have to persuade people to approach you. Staff members sitting behind a desk and glowering at passers-by rarely achieve engagement.
5. Not following up
It’s shockingly common for staff members not to follow up on leads that they get at trade shows. That reflects a serious lack of planning. A simple solution, such as creating a table to record and score leads during the show, make the follow-up far quicker and more efficient.
Given the cost of attending trade shows, not fully preparing for one seems bizarrely self-defeating.
Why do you think marketers often fail to get the most out of their trade-show experience?
Daniel Frank is blogger and writer who writes on behalf of Nimlok who provide a range of exhibition stands.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Business People Walking)
Tags: customer experience, Marketing, Strategy and Tactics