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Seven Ways to Get the Most from Your Trade Show Investment

Author: Gwen Parsons

Getting the most out of your trade show marketing efforts means making smart decisions from the beginning. In fact, maximizing your ROI entails a combination of planning for cost efficiencies, promoting your presence effectively and following through with the contacts you've made. These seven tips will help to reduce costs, increase traffic, and ultimately-increase results.

1. Set measurable goals. Keep your trade show goals straightforward, measurable, and realistic to achieve. Are you seeking to connect with new prospects, existing clients, or potential partners? If you want to improve brand awareness -how will you measure it? You may need a follow-up survey to see how many attendees remember your exhibit.

2. Promote your presence. Attendees often plan their visit to a trade show in advance. Your pre-show marketing should focus on giving visitors a good reason to put your display on their must see list. You'll get more mileage from an integrated marketing plan includes pre-, at- and post- show elements. Allocate 10-15% of your budget for marketing. Purchase the pre-registered attendee list for promotion, add conference information to your website, offer VIP passes to clients, offer a giveaway that has value to attendees. Product/stage/theater demonstrations are among the highest ranking factors for influencing attendee memorability. And don't forget the press release-new products make great news stories.

3. Plan ahead. By planning ahead, it's possible to reduce the cost of onsite trade show services. Ship ground vs. air freight to the advance warehouse rather than direct to show site for a bigger discount on drayage. Place your service orders early to receive discounts off of at-show rates. And try to schedule your set-up labor for hours which will be billed at straight time.

4. Lighten up. When selecting a display property, think lightweight to save on shipping and drayage costs. Hybrid trade show displays, like Nomadic's DesignLine series, fuse light weight components such as pop-ups, laminated panels, extrusion, tension fabric and graphics to deliver dynamic presentations at a fraction of the weight of traditional custom-built exhibits. Consolidate shipments to optimize dimensional weight. Send literature to prospects post-event instead of shipping it to the show.

5. Attract more visitors. Within three seconds, visitors decide whether or not they will stop at your trade show exhibit. Design a display that clearly and immediately communicates what your company has to offer and what it can do for the customer. An open design that is easily accessible, welcomes potential clients and provides easy visitor traffic flow. A general rule is to ensure that at least 60% of the floor space is open and at least 60% of the frontage is open. Fill the height limit at the center of your space to maximize your presence. Keep key messaging above the 4-foot height on the backwall for maximum readability.

6. Train your staff. Even seasoned booth staff should know the show objectives, key messaging and lead system protocol for the show. Visitors should be greeted by an enthusiastic rep who can leverage the exhibit as a sales tool. Remind staff that first impressions matter. First impressions are created by what people see, what people hear and the words you use.

7. Follow-up. This is the most important step in maximizing your ROI. Research indicates that 90% of business gained from leads comes from post show follow-up, yet 70-80% of leads are not pursued. Ask your sales team what key data they need captured from prospects as they will be motivated to follow-up on pre-qualified opportunities. Establish accountability for lead handling prior to the show. Appoint an individual to be responsible for capturing and processing leads. Consider categorizing or ranking your leads. Disperse leads quickly and make contact within one week.

About the Author:

Gwen Parsons is Senior Vice President of Nomadic Display, a leading producer of custom modular and portable exhibits for trade shows, events and mobile marketing programs. For over 20 years she has developed, executed and evaluated marketing programs deployed in a dozen countries and six languages. She served as President of the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association in 2004 and on its the Board of Directors for 10 years. Gwen can be reached at gparsons@nomadicdisplay.com or 1-800-732-9395.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com - Seven Ways to Get the Most from Your Trade Show Investment

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