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Tradeshows can be very expensive with booth rental, promotional gifts, brochures, display stands and more running into the thousands of  dollars.  To maximize your tradeshow benefits, I suggest the following:

  • Purpose and Mission.  Narrow down a mission statement for each show.  What is your purpose?  Is it to get more "potential" leads to ultimately purchase your product?  What data are you needing on each lead - just email and phone, or something more detailed like job title, address, etc?  Another purpose might be to get more folks to sign up for your website or "like" your page on facebook?  Are you needing attendees to interact with a demo of your product or watch a quick video?  Your purpose for each show may change.  Think carefully about your ability to followup afterwords.  Would you prefer to have fewer leads, but more targeted, or is a thousand names ok for you?
  • Show preparation.  Picture your table or booth, what is the first thing you will want clients to see about your services?  Full color banners are an inexpensive way to quickly hang above the booth (don't forget to bring your S hooks to attach or some bungee cords too) Think carefully about transportation.  Many shows charge a fortune for the organizers and unions to carry in your product to your booth.  Shipping to your hotel instead for lightweight materials (brochures, custom mint handouts, etc) might be a better option.  Consider your booth itself.  Are you needing perhaps a table top display which could easily fold away after the show, or are you going for a floor to ceiling type of approach?  What "visual" are you wanting the attendees to get "no matter what" - the website?  The logo?  The tagline?
  • Booth materials and handouts.   Full color brochures can be a great option when you have a lot of information you would like attendees to get.  However if your product has a long sales cycle (i.e. real estate, giant computer systems, etc.), a brochure is probably not going to stay with them long enough to finally think of you to buy product.  That's where promotional products come into play.  Ideally you'd like a marketing giveaway that will last a long time, get a lot of logo "views", and be in a focal point in the home or office depending on the service you offer.  Something like a custom sticky note or sticky cube can be great for getting desktop space.  However, in terms of the "wow" factor, attendees may not be running to your booth saying "wow, a free sticky note pad!  come see!"  So we tell our clients to get something flashy as well.  Perhaps actual flashing buttons (clip these to the curtains too for a great effect), or if budget allows, a higher end item such as a colorful aluminum water bottle, custom travel mug, etc.  Your handout should be simple in terms of imprint - logo and website, with tagline if there is room.  Not well known yet?  Don't pick a $.50 key chain that just has room for a logo - if you need people to learn more about what your company does, that will just sit in a drawer.
  • Drawings.  Ok everyone loves a chance to win, but carefully consider your prize.  If you have a nice gift basket or even an ipad, all the drawing forms will be for those people wanting that product, not necessarily great leads for you!  Consider having your product itself as a prize and your leads will be more qualified (i.e. free massage, two hours free consulting, etc.)  Often we will offer an incentive such as a nice travel mug or flash drive if a "survey" is completed (this can be better than a drawing) and help you get exceptionally detailed information on those potential buyers.  If you email karen@adcomarketing.com I can help you come up with appropriate giveaways and drawings to match your company goals. 
  • Followup.  Yikes, a thousand leads, what can you do?  We offer anything from postcards with magnets attached for mailing followup, to custom printed catalogs.  However, the best followup is the old fashioned phone. (remember before email?)  That's why limiting your leads to qualified buyers is so critical.  

For more tradeshow preparation tips, or to purchase tradeshow giveaways, please email karen@adcomarketing.com or go to www.adcomarketing.com!

Posted by KarenAlcorn

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