Given advancements in technology and the ability to reach your customer through many new social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Linked In, You Tube), are trade shows still relevant as a marketing tool.
The answer is a resounding “Yes!” In fact, trade shows are often the best marketing solution for many businesses.
“We have all sorts of technological solutions today that can connect people, but the retro solution that has remained is trade shows, and it’s the most valuable solution,” said Steven Hacker, an industry consultant who served as the president and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) for 20 years.
Findings gleaned from a survey by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) confirm Hacker’s assertion. Consider:
· 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. Which means more than 4 out of 5 people walking the aisles are potential customers for exhibitors.
· Their three most valued aspects of trade shows were: 60% of exhibitors said they value the ability to see lots of prospects and customers at the same time; 51% of exhibitors said they value face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers, and 47% said they value the ability to meet with a variety of players face to face, such as customers, suppliers, resellers, etc.
· The top three goals for exhibitors at trade shows are brand awareness, lead generation, and relationship building.
The average attendee spends 8.3 hours viewing trade show exhibits at a show or exhibition. That gives you plenty of opportunity to connect with your target audience.
The #1 reason for attending (not exhibiting) trade shows is to see new products. 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products. It has been the number one reason to attend for 25 years! So trade shows are a great place to introduce or feature your newest products.
The chief benefit is that buyers come to a trade show looking to buy and wanting to learn about the latest and greatest that you have to offer. The challenge is the amount of competition you have in the direct vicinity. The way to overcome the problem is to take steps to ensure that buyers won’t miss your booth.
Here are some successful trade show tips to make visitors stop at your booth
· Booth Location – It’s true in real estate and in trade show marketing: Location, Location, Location. Get near the front door. Get near the big guys. Get near the Lemonade stand. Your location should be visible and in the best traffic pattern.
· Get the Look — Buyers are attracted to good looking booths. Use bright colors and put effort into the design of your booth. It will make all the difference between visitors stopping or walking by.
· Message — Make your messaging clear and able to be seen from every direction as well as near and far. Use clear signs and optimum lighting.
· Offer Show Specials — Make sure to highlight your show specials so that buyers know that they need to buy at the show in order to receive the discount or special offer. Make sure your show special is posted and very clear.
· Reach Out on Social Media –You should already have a social media marketing plan in place for your trade show. One way to use social media is to engage with people who have checked in at the venue or mentioned the trade show on social media. Invite them to your booth and offer a special incentive through social channels.
Above all, make sure your exhibit “speaks” to the needs of the visitor. Tell the story in words and graphics – “Here’s how my product or service can make your life better.” High quality exhibit graphics and good copy can make sure your story is told in the best way possible – a way that results in sales and a new long-term customer.