Avoiding common trade show pitfalls

On average, business-to-business (B2B) establishments are spending more of their marketing budgets on exhibiting than on any other marketing channel—a staggering 39.2 percent to be precise. This spending is for good reason, too. Since 2009, trade shows have seen a growth in attendance—one that is forecasted to continue well into 2015.

To guarantee a successful exhibit and make the most of your company’s trade show investment, it is important to be aware of common trade show pitfalls and ways your company can avoid them. Keep reading to find out more.

4 common trade show mistakes
Trade show mistakes can make or break your investment. Here is a list of four common errors and ideas to mitigate them.

  1. Lack of promotion: One common trade show mistake is overlooking promotion. After all, what’s the point of participating in a trade show if no one knows you’re there? Research shows that approximately 70 percent of attendees plan out who they will visit prior to the show—make sure your name makes the list with some pre-show promotions. Reach out to registered attendees in addition to current customers. A combination of email, social media and mailers is a great way to make your upcoming presence known. Give your business an edge above the competition by including a Bic® Business Card Magnet with Notepad imprinted with show details in your mailer.
  2. Barriers to entry: Trade show tables can come in handy for product displays, handouts and demos. However, more times than not, they can also become a barrier. Rather than having a table divide booth staff from visitors, angle them or place them off to the side to allow staff to easily meet, greet and receive visitors. And be sure your tables add to your display rather than detract. Logo’d table throws or skirts not only boost your brand’s presence, but can also cover some of the nicks and dings often found on not-so-gently used trade show equipment.
  3. Inexperienced staff: Considering the average business’s largest marketing spend goes toward exhibiting, it makes sense to use this investment to the best of its ability. So why is it we often see inexperienced staff manning the booths? You want your business represented by top-level, knowledgeable people with both decision-making capabilities and technical expertise. After all, four out of five people attending a trade show have buying power—in other words, you’re swimming in a sea of potential customers. And remember, the devil is in the details. Logo’d polos and branded lanyards help differentiate booth staff from visitors and provide a professional, unified look your business can be proud of.
  4. Poor follow-up: As previously stated, trade shows are an investment, and you want to make sure that money is well spent. So, make sure post-show follow up is not overlooked. A minimum of a follow-up phone call or email should be made within 48 hours of the show to keep your company fresh in the minds of qualified prospects. But if you want to go the extra mile, send a token of thanks, such as the business book “Good to Great” or a chrome combination letter opener/paperweight. It may be just the thing to help you stand out from the rest.

Make your next trade show investment a success. Promote your show ahead of time, break down the barriers to entry, send experienced staff to man your booth and follow up post-show. These four tips may help you earn a positive return on your investment.

Thimmesch, Mike. “16 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows.” TSNN Trade Show News. N.p., 18 Aug. 2013. Web. Retrieved 09 May 2014.

Zamloot, Phil. “Trade Show Attendance Statistics 2013 – 2015.” MetroExhibits.com. N.p., 10 July 2013. Web. Retrieved 09 May 2014..

Carter, Timothy. “6 Most Common Trade Show Mistakes.” TSNN Trade Show News. N.p., 11 Aug. 2013. Web. Retrieved 09 May 2014.

Lagorio-Chafkin, Christine. “How to Boost Traffic at Your Trade Show Booth.” Inc.com. N.p., 02 June 2010. Web. Retrieved 09 May 2014.

“6 Mistakes That Will Sink Your Trade Show.”Heritage Exposition Services. N.p., 04 Feb. 2014. Web. Retrieved 09 May 2014.

Hageney, Colin. “5 Common Tradeshow Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.” Bullpen Marketing. N.p., 21 Jan. 2014. Web. Retrieved 09 May 2014.

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