What makes trade shows different from other marketing channels is the dynamic atmosphere of these events. Unlike social media or television marketers, trade show exhibitors must communicate with attendees through face-to-face interaction. This unique marketing opportunity can be incredibly beneficial to exhibitors that know how to make the most of it, but maximizing trade show results requires careful planning.
Plan booth setups well ahead of time
Trade show strategizing should begin months before the event date. This will allow exhibitors to develop an event checklist that covers every single facet of their exhibit. It is especially crucial for exhibitors to begin their booth planning as soon as possible.
Business 2 Community's Melissa Cooper stressed that early booth planning gives exhibitors time to avoid experiencing common problems related to booths.
"Just as anything else in life, unforeseen situations and issues will arise," Cooper said. "When constructing your booth you must consider size constraints, electrical concerns, and end result aesthetics. Having months to sort these dilemmas out will keep things running smoothly."
Booth planning involves selecting an ideal floor location, setting a reasonable budget and designing an attention-grabbing display. Exhibitors that have the option to choose their location should take neighboring booths into consideration. It could be beneficial for exhibitors to situate themselves next to booths that will attract target attendees.
One of the most important aspects of a booth is having a creative display. While exhibitors may not know much about display design themselves, they can work with designers to create a plan for making their booths stand out. Effective displays convey an exhibitor's uniqueness and give attendees incentive to speak with staff members.
Additionally, exhibitors should consider spatial aspects of their trade show booths. Exhibits that are cluttered with unnecessary features could induce feelings of claustrophobia, so it helps for exhibitors to provide an open space for attendees to wander through. Exhibitors should focus on a few simple display items that give attendees a sense of their products and company culture. Cooper recommended that exhibitors with a large amount of booth space can include chairs or benches, as they can make attendees feel more welcome.
Have a follow up plan
Trade show planning should also involve a post-event strategy for following up with attendees. Asking attendees for feedback can help exhibitors prepare for their next trade show, and it can make attendees feel that their opinions are valued. Exhibitors should contact all of the attendees on their lead capture lists and keep them updated about future events and special offers.