Although one of the most effective B2B networking forums, renting a space or booth at an established trade show is expensive. Don’t stop there. It is not enough to just show up; plan your eye-catching booth in advance to maximize your time on the floor.
Substantive studies such as CMI’s B2B content marketing benchmark study for North America continue to suggest that face-to-face connection and old fashioned networking are still the highest rank approach to doing business.
We haven’t had much chance for warm, personable interaction in the past two years. But, with vaccinations rolling out across Canada and the USA and other parts of the world, trade shows, one of the most effective B2B networking forums, will be back on the calendar for the post-pandemic boom.
Why attend a trade show?
Trade shows are effective niche markets, targeting specific clients. Attending the right trade show gives you a large pool of potential leads for everything from research to networking, brand expansion, sales negotiations and general end-user sales. It is one of the best ways for businesses and organizations to stay ahead of their competition. And, it’s an opportunity to get in front of new or existing customers, no matter whether they come to the show as an attendee or an exhibitor.
Professional booths get more ROI
Many of my clients understand the intrinsic value of trade shows and the need to represent themselves professionally and competitively to their peers. As tried and tested marketplaces, trade shows are expensive, but they get a business more ROI than any other form of content marketing. So investing thoughtfully planned resources into your booth and a creative presentation is well worth the effort.
An excellent example of an innovative interactive trade show demonstration for KentuckyOne Health encourages attendees to visit the booth. Photo courtesy of FASTSIGNS®.
Creating the right environment for your product.
FASTSIGNS® of Coquitlam, BC can help come up with innovative quality products once we have a clear understanding of a clients’ products and goals. For example: is it a first-time attendance? The first year for a business at a trade show is about letting people know what you are promoting.
The following two years will be reacquainting with clients, deepening relations and demonstrating how your product has evolved and why it is exceptional. Your booth and display is the first point of nonverbal engagement with a client - make it count.
Take control of your space using a backdrop that will set the tone of the booth. Avoid banners and backdrops that are shopping lists of products and services in the mistaken belief that people will take the time to stand and read. Too much messaging and imagery is more of a distraction than a help. Instead, focus on eye-catching branding that is an invitation to step into the booth.
Practicalities include considering lighting, shelving, and furniture needs. Do you want a sitting area for discussion as opposed to space for a demonstration? It is all about creating the right environment to present the product and service. And, for what it’s worth, people love free food, so you may want to consider a barista bar or happy hour special. Design an environment that invites people to linger, and drive that engagement with a quality product.
Focus on one or two quality products of high interest that bring people to the stand where your sales team can engage them and develop relationships. The current perception is that giveaways and realms of paper brochures are wasteful. It is all about the quality of the product, the quality of the relationships you develop on the ground, and, most importantly, follow-up.
Once you have done the work and spent the money, your most significant ROI will come from the follow-up of a well-trained sales team after the event.
Last-minute requests for printing limits choices and options. There is a lot to be done, such as coming up with creative designs and solutions, preparing the files, and arranging test prints to ensure the colour matches brand specs. Most importantly, we advise a test assembly of the stand, ensuring that you have all the parts.
Imagine showing up to a show only to realize you need something fixed or are missing a part and have to pay the high last-minute shipping costs to repair or replace it. Or, worst of all, your exhibit is stuck at a border or arriving late.
Planning the dismantling is equally as important. Leaving your exhibit on the floor can be a costly mistake. We can assist you in scheduling your shipping in advance, and you won’t have to worry about it before, after or during your show.
We work with all budgets.
FASTSIGNS® of Coquitlam, BC offers a comprehensive range of products that can accommodate all budgets. Packages include creating customised large booths for international trade shows and conventions to smaller community-orientated packages. Give us a call and request a quote now!
Spectacular trade show exhibit for KentuckyOne Health. Photo courtesy of FASTSIGNS®