A tradeshow is a major investment. It takes a lot of money and time to put together a successful event. With the help of your staff, you could earn enough money from a tradeshow to trump what you make by cold calling.
Depending on the industry, there are numerous tradeshows to visit each year. I suggest doing a local tradeshow first to test the waters. Attending a tradeshow out of state requires shipping fees and travel expenses. To begin planning a tradeshow, look online for a full list of tradeshows in your area. Study the numbers. Find out how many people typically attend the event, how many exhibitors there are, and what types of people attend the event. If the event is attended by professionals in the industry, then it might not be the best place to make sales. Try to find a tradeshow where consumers make up a major portion of attendees.
Once you have decided on a tradeshow, you will have to contact the company. Some tradeshows are organized by private companies, while others are organized by the venue. Before contacting the sales department, decide on a budget. Every tradeshow is different, but most tradeshows allow exhibitors to decide on a table, 10×10 booth, 10×20 booth and sponsorship. The bigger you go, the more you spend, but the more impact you will make. Look to spend at least $1,000 when exhibiting at a tradeshow.
Once you decide on a table, booth, or sponsorship, make the call to a rep. Booking your space at a tradeshow early is the most important factor. If you are going to spend that kind of money, you should be looking for a prime location. Good locations are near major foot traffic. Great locations include entrances, exits, bathrooms, dining rooms, and so on. Try to book your space at a tradeshow at least one year in advance, if possible. Planning your tradeshow early will also save you costs in other areas. Booths cost between $4,000 and $12,000. Sponsorship starts around $10,000.
If you have the money to invest in print materials, you should. Most exhibitors will hand out printed materials. Have your staff work on the content and revise it. What is written is very important. You want to provide consumers with enough information without overwhelming them. Once the content is ready, choose a format. You can have single pages made, bind those pages, put them into folders, and so on. Having multiple pages can create a lot of trash and overwhelm consumers. Your lead should be able to pick up your printed materials and find enough information to spark an interest. They can always ask you questions, or call you later for more information. Promotional materials are an extra that can draw attention to your booth. Items like coffee mugs, water bottles and key chains can create brand recognition.
Advertising in tradeshow magazines is another great way to draw attention to your space. All event attendees will receive a magazine with your ad, earning your company brand recognition. Blogging about the upcoming event is another way to advertise your tradeshow attendance. Send an email to your affiliates telling them you will be at the event as well.
When deciding who should attend a tradeshow, choose wisely. Your sales reps should be friendly and not overpowering. They are there to network and spark an interest. Don’t be too concerned with making a sale in the moment. It is okay if a consumer walks away, as long as they walk away with a good impression of your company, and an understanding of what you do. Forming good relationships is an important part of attending tradeshows. Make sure you send responsible employees to represent your company. Travel expenses can add up, so make sure you only send your best employees.
I hope that these tips will help you plan your next tradeshow. Tradeshows are a great way to network, earn brand recognition, and make big sales.