The winter trade show season hit the ground running back in January. If you’re booked to exhibit at a trade show anytime in 2017 and haven’t put together and/or started to implement your pre-show marketing plan, then it’s time to get going now, before it’s too late.
There are three components to a successful trade show exhibit: 1) pre-show plan 2) qualifying prospects on the show floor 3) post-show follow-up.
In order to drive the most traffic to your exhibit, and certainly to try to see as many of the people that you really want to connect with as possible, a pre-show plan is imperative. It is also arguably the most overlooked and most valuable piece of the puzzle.
A pre-show mailer, e-mail and/or phone call to key targets and clients can make the difference between actually meeting with those people on the show floor (or for a more private off-the-floor meeting before or after show hours) and just waving to them as they saunter by your booth.
You can certainly tap into your own contact/client list, and you should; but don’t forget that you can usually purchase a list of pre-registered attendees from show management. Depending on the size of the show and the sophistication of show management, you may even be able to specify the parameters of which registrants you would like contact information for. For example, you may only want to reach out to specific job titles, or people working for companies with a quantified minimum gross revenue or number of employees, or that are located in a certain region.
By reaching out ahead of time, you have the opportunity to set appointments and pique the interest of your particular target market. Of course you won’t want to focus on them to the exclusion of everyone else who comes by your exhibit; but you will have a better overall outcome (ROI/ROO) if you go into it knowing who are the key people you would like to meet while there and then taking an active role in making those meetings happen.