Showing up unprepared to a trade exhibition is like showing up to the starting line of a race with no shoes on. You can go through the motions of the event, but there’s no way you’re going to win. Preparation and training are key components in your gameplan and can’t be overlooked. Do a little work ahead of time and you can almost guarantee a successful show and follow-up. It really is that easy!
Everyone focuses on the day-of events, but successful exhibitors will tell you that the pre-game activities are equally as important. Let’s start with social media. Announce your participation in the trade show on your profile pages and be sure to include information either on that profile or in a link as to where you can be found at the show, how to get there, any demonstration times and topics, perhaps an incentive or two to show up at your booth. Make sure you tag the conference itself in your posts to drive even more traffic to your page. If you’re looking to attract local professionals, try using a business-oriented social media group to target and attract them. If you plan to Tweet prior to or during the event, plan now to generate awareness of the hashtags and keep them consistent throughout the event and beyond.
Now it’s time to go a little old-school. Whereas you may have made phone calls to previous trade show attendees in the past, today you will send emails and invitations on your company website. If you’ve prepared a landing page specific to the trade show on your website, be sure to include a way for visitors to schedule an appointment with you during the show. This ensures their time won’t be spent waiting in line or wandering around until they get their chance to speak to a rep. Several weeks of key-word blogging about your product or service with links to the exhibition can also be helpful in driving traffic to your site as well as to the trade show itself.
It’s nowhere near as hard as training for a race, but the preparation involved before a trade show event can pay off just as well.