Preparing your exhibit for a trade show and meeting your goals at a trade show are not always easy. On the good side, you are in control of the way in which you represent your company, but many other aspects of the show are absolutely far from your control.
Some aspects of a trade show that is out of your control are:
- How many visitors will show-up, what's their buying power.
- Who your booth neighbors are and how much public they draw or reject.
If the show has run before, you may be able to gather demographic or other forms of information on past attendees. Additionally, there are sophisticated software tools that will help you determine how many qualified visitors to expect based on previous data, geographical location of your booth.
Here are some other considerations for a trade show exhibit during the preparation stage:
- You must have documentation available both for by-passers and for genuine prospects (the software mentioned above will help you potential prospects and total attendance.) You may need brochures or other documents with two levels of depth. One set for overview information and the second one for specific product information. This means that you need double sets of brochures, technical data, presentation folders, and samples. Not all visitors expect to receive the same information. Digital printing in the shape of color copies, large format printed posters, digitally printed presentation folders and traditional large volume printing will help you put together all of your documents with a minimum waste charge. You will need less prospect-documents than general-public ones. Specific documents though require much more preparation and a lot of double checking. These are the documents that prospects really interested in your product or service will pay the most attention to.
- You need to make sure that you attract visitor's attention. Busy neighbors will help traffic. It'll be up to you to take advantage of traffic. Graphics, thank-you gifts and a charming team at your booth will do a good job when coordinated properly.
- Record keeping during the show is critical. Show organizers often provide a card reader but unless the card information is completed with more detailed notes you'll have difficulty in distinguishing by-passers from prospects
- Have a strategy to recognize by-passers from prospects during the first minute of the conversation with one of your customer support personnel. Have a "short" booth presentation and an extended version for those who want to go that way. Asking a visitor about their company, their task and what they know about use of your product in their organization will help you do that fast screening.
- After the show, go back to your office and be fast to initiate further contact with your prospect. If you made the commitment to mail additional information, do so. If you promised to provide an estimate, email it and follow-up with a phone call. Send a hard copy as well.
There are many companies that can help you develop a plan for your show, as well as to design the artwork of your posters, presentation boards and pop-up booth decorations.
Some resources for trade show printed materials are: