A trade show looks like an incredible opportunity. Industry professionals gather, demo products, reveal innovations, and get leads to help their business grow. But it is easy to make costly mistakes. These are the 7 biggest trade show mistakes.
1. Not Planning Far Enough in Advance
It might look easy enough. There are just a bunch of booths on the floor. How complicated could it be? Planning your marketing, designing a custom booth, and getting a team ready is critical to success.
TIP: Start planning a year in advance. You’ll need time to decide how the show fits into your marketing strategy, how to track ROI, forecast the budget, and obtain the resources you need.
2. Cluttering Up Your Booth
Many attendees get their first impression of your brand at the trade show. If your booth is messy, cluttered, crowded, or unengaging, you will be overlooked.
TIP: Be ready to invest significant time and money into the design and build of
your exhibit. Create signage and marketing materials that clearly reflect your brand. Outsource any process outside of your expertise to a company specializing in trade shows.
3. Not Aligning with Marketing and Sales Goals
Factor trade show expenses into your annual marketing budget. And understand how the event will track toward your marketing and sales goals.
TIP: If you are currently marketing to generate leads for a specific product, then focus your trade show efforts on the same product. Keep your marketing campaigns consistent for maximum ROI.
4. Not Training Staff
Potential prospects need to talk to well-trained, knowledgeable staff.
TIP: Make sure trade show staff:
- Can describe the brand mission, values, and products
- Understand and know how to work toward trade show goals to capture leads or make sales
- Can answer questions from prospects
- Our friendly, welcoming, and helpful to everyone who stops by the booth
5. Not Marketing the Trade Show Event Ahead of Time
Trade shows help generate new leads and provide an opportunity to build rapport with current customers, prospects, and partners. So, be sure to reach out to your contact database about the event, where your booth will be, and what to expect when they arrive.
TIP: Send out a targeted email campaign to warm prospects offering appointment times at the event. Offer discounted entry tickets if you can.
6. Not Following Up
Your trade show booth team works hard at the event to engage prospects and generate interest in your brand. If you are not following up with the leads afterward, all efforts are wasted.
TIP: As you plan the event, also develop a follow-up strategy to nurture leads toward conversion. Have staff take notes during the trade show by recording individual details to personalize follow-up messages for greater success. Write email templates for the sales team post-event. Thank everyone for stopping by the booth and offering more information to move to the next step in the sale.
7. Not Delegating
Trying to do everything yourself is a major reason trade show events are less successful than they could be. Planning and implementing the plan are usually only a small portion of the event manager’s job, so some details are bound to get lost. Delegating within the organization or outsourcing to professionals makes your trade show ROI much more likely to make it worth doing again next year.
TIP: You can rent customized trade show booths. Delegate the design and building to experts to save time and money.