Trade show exhibits come in all shapes and sizes and are used to promote a countless array of products, brands and services. If you are considering a custom trade show exhibit to promote your brand, here are six ideas to ensure that your exhibit achieves its desired results.
1. Clarify Goals and Objectives. Whether it’s obtaining sales leads, educating people about your company or launching a new product, it’s essential to establish your primary goals for the exhibit and to stay focused on those goals throughout the creative / production process, as well as during the show itself.
2. Choose the Right Partner. When conducting research in this area, look for a company with a proven track record for producing custom exhibits and branded environments. Often a company will post images of exhibits it has produced for clients on its website, and those images can speak volumes about the skill and credibility of the company in the marketplace. The right company will understand all of the key elements that contribute to a successful exhibit: CAD design and detailing, traffic flow, fabrication, electrical, lighting, logistics, production, project management installation and storage.
3. Plan Your Exhibit. Once you’ve chosen a partner and established your goals, make a detailed plan for your exhibit. This will include choosing any other partners that might be relevant; establishing timelines and production schedules; producing any collaterals and marketing materials to hand out at the show; addressing trade show staffing requirements.
4. Promote, Promote. Multiple channels are available for companies to promote their upcoming exhibit at a trade show. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are some of the popular digital platforms that can be used to tease audiences about your upcoming appearance at a trade show. New social media apps like Snapchat, Periscope and Vine allow users to share photos and videos in real time during the show, to their network of friends and colleagues. You never know where the next sales enquiry or lead will come from.
5. Send your ‘A’ Team. The old maxim that ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ is true at trade shows. You have only about a three-second window to grab the attendees’ attention. You may have the most dazzling exhibit, but if your staff is unprepared or can’t answer basic questions about your brand, you’ll lose opportunities. Make sure that whoever represents your company is qualified to speak on your behalf and is on point with the company’s goals and objective for the show.
6. Assess. Review of all components of the trade show and determine what worked and what areas could be improved upon next time. Follow up with prospects in a prompt manner. Despite an industry myth that 80 percent of leads never receive post-show follow-up, four out of 10 respondents report that upwards of 80 percent of the leads they collect at trade shows and events do receive follow-up communication. Sending a handwritten card is a great way to thank potential customers for their interest and the gesture will be remembered. Evaluate any media attention that your exhibit generated and publicly acknowledge any mentions that you received on social media or in the popular press.