Saturday, September 18, 2010

HOW TO HAVE A GREAT EXHIBIT: Pre-Show Planning and Preparation

Are you considering doing a tradeshow or a display table at one of The Bridge Networking Events this year? Maybe you have already participated and won't do it again because you didn't get any new sales or leads – at least not enough to cover the cost! Remember even if you didn't get an immediate sale or "good" leads, you still got great exposure! It's not always instant gratification.

You're meeting face-to-face with potential new buyers, establishing new and old relationships and building quality databases. Remember, when you book a space you are buying an audience. Here are some tips on how to have a "Great Show" and maximize your marketing dollars.

Pre-show planning is very important. The three steps to a successful exhibit are: Plan, Execute and Follow-Up. Ask yourself three questions: Why am I doing this? Who am I targeting and will they attend? What do I expect to accomplish?

Here are 7 steps to follow when planning your exhibit. Know what your objectives are and how you're going to reach them.

·         Generating sales
·         Introducing new products
·         Selling to existing customers
·         Learning/teaching
·         Increasing name/product awareness
·         Obtaining sales leads
·         Market research
·         Enhance existing customer relationships
·         Establish a presence
·         Reach new markets

What message are you trying to convey?

·         key points (develop each with details)
·         Use understandable and clear language
·         Use words that "paint" a picture

Have a Theme to Remember.

·         Be creative
·         Have coordinating colors
·         Use balloons as decorations
·         Make sure your booth is gender balanced
·         Design a booth that projects what and who your company will be like in the future (customers like progressive businesses)
Order literature and giveaways and give plenty of time for shipping.

·         Preferably, low cost promotional tools.
·         Self-adhesive stickers (with "where" and "when" information to put on invoices, catalogs and other correspondence mail)
·         Order literature for approximately a third of anticipated attendees (only if in your budget)
·         Remember, if you want only those that are truly interested in your product/service to pickup your info or giveaway, put your table in the back of your booth instead of up front

Finalize your pre-show promotions. Target your buyers-  existing customers, hot prospects, prospects called on but not closed and prospects you haven't called on. Take control – PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE

·         Use your own printed invitations, postcards, letters, emails, newsletters.
·         Use colored envelopes instead of manila or white and hand write or type the address on the envelope. Don't use a label – it looks like                          junk mail.
·         Add a tag line to all existing advertising/correspondence with

        booth number (if you have one) and an invitation  
§  Mail personal invitations 2 weeks before the show and setup on-site appointments. Mail out cards redeemable for a gift from visiting the booth.
§   Use a banner in your ads or your newsletter – "See us in booth 1301 at ABC Show."
§  Issue press releases announcing new services, key people in the event and special show promotions.
§  Invite the press and send your press release kit to all invited press.
§  Make telephone calls to your key prospects just prior to the show with an invite.
§  Provide complimentary passes to your clients and prospects.

Develop attention getting devices and be creative
§  Contest
§  Giveaways
 Select your booth staff
·         Good attitude/sales oriented
·         Creates the "right" impression
·         Warm and friendly
·         Good product knowledge
·         Get a commitment from each staffer

With your pre-show planning, be sure your booth staffers understand their assignments and objectives. Print your brochures and other materials well in advance. Create
customizable cover letters to mail with materials.

Practice with any tech devices so you can work fluidly on the floor the day of the exhibit. Follow-up is very important and a three-part process: before, during and after the show.

Most important, remember to have fun!

Jodie Andre, Personal Marketing Consultant
Marketing Dazzle


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