How B2B firms get the most out of trade shows: Part 1/3 – What to do before a trade show?

In the following blog series, we will devote a post to each aforementioned stage of a trade show and share the best practises for maximising the ROI of an industry exhibition. Naturally we will start by discussing how to prepare for an upcoming trade show.

What to do before a trade show?

The first thing you want to do when planning your attendance is to determine your goals and objectives. The goals you set should determine or at least affect every decision you make regarding the exhibition. Are you aiming to build and strengthen your brand? Or are you there to gather new leads and maybe even close a few deals, or perhaps you want to create hype and buzz for a new product launch? Whatever you desire to achieve, all your actions should be planned the goals in mind. Next, you should determine relevant KPI’s that resonate with your plans. For example, you might want to garner 200 new leads, or get 300 social media mentions and press coverage for your new product.

You should let your target audience know that you are taking part in the trade show. Take advantage of the social media: use your own channels, but also utilise the profiles and hashtags of the event itself. Try to recognise the most prominent leads attending in advance and invite them to visit your booth by offering them something meaningful, like personal demo or free consultation session. You might also want to create content, like a blog post, about your participation in the trade show or make a press release about the upcoming product launch.

On more practical level you should make sure that your personnel are up to the task. Train them how to interact and make them learn a script if necessary. It is also crucial to define who you want your employees talk to. Your desired audience might differ a little depending on the goals you set, so make sure your staff spends as much of their valuable time with the right people as possible. Of course you also have to ensure that your booth, employees and brochures are all visually consistent. In our earlier blog post we gave tips how to prepare an inspirational exhibition booth.

One last thing before taking part in a trade show: make sure your website is up to date. Your site is your 24/7 sales representative who is working even when your personnel is not on duty. The visitors who were interested in your booth at the trade show but did not for example have time to gather enough information about your company might want to do some research on you later. In that case it is essential that your company’s website has relevant content for them and also a convenient way to register themselves as a lead. Lastly: one cannot really emphasise enough, how big effect planning and preparing have on the overall success of a trade show. There are of course other things you can do in advance, but make sure you have at least aforementioned areas covered.

In our next post we will focus on what companies should do during the trade shows in order to get most out of them.

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