We’ve all been asked a million times, “Are trade shows worth the time, money, and soft costs/staffing.” I’m here to tell you, YES they are!
According to the NY Times, companies are holding more in-person events than in previous years, and they expect that growth to continue. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing like the good, old-fashioned in-person meeting. We’ve all fallen hostage to the convenience of email, social media, mobile marketing, and video conferencing over the years. While these modes of communication are valid, effective, time saving, and cost saving, they are better reserved for existing customers and colleagues. When it comes to making new contacts and building your business, the most impactful way to make a connection is in person.
Of course, once you’ve decided to exhibit at a trade show, you need to remember that there’s more to an event than just showing up. If you really want to get your money’s worth, here are some actionable items to add to your trade show planning:
- Proper and advance planning will save you money in the long run and enable you to take advantage of early-bird discounts, advance shipping, and lower travel costs
- Purchase the event mailing list and promote your presence in a compelling way that will drive people to your booth, i.e. a contest or giveaway
- Set goals and define a strategy
- Divide and conquer: review attendee list and assign key people to each of your staff to meet
- Send your most energetic staff and train them to diligently gather information and leads
- Ensure all leads are gathered, entered into a database, and sent a follow-up email within 24-48 hours of the event.
An event can be a great success, but you need to ensure that leads are collected and processed. Your leads are the most important part of this event. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, follow-up or stay home!