Having a booth at a busy home expo doesn’t guarantee you leads by osmosis, you have to have an attack plan. Here are some of Nationwide Expo’s favorite tips to increase your ROI at each home show experience.
If you have a booth at an upcoming home expo and are curious about what it takes to be successful, you won’t want to miss our top 6 favorite tips & tricks for success!
1. Set A Goal Before the Expo
What are you specifically looking to achieve from the trade show? Focus on an actionable goal. Sure, we all want more sales and more money, but that needs to be broken down into bite-size steps. You need to have your plan of attack figured out well before the expo starts. Are you looking for leads? Do you want to set appointments for prospects to meet with you at your place of business later on? Do you want to generate brand awareness? Are you focused on selling product at the expo? Is your main goal to network and develop relationships? Yes, all of these things can be accomplished at one expo, but you’ll have better execution if you pick one or two specific goals to excel at. Regardless of what results you are looking for, figure out a game plan ahead of time.
2. Keep Your Booth Staffed & Welcoming
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how often we see vendors leaving their booths unstaffed all day with
some flyers sitting on the table. Just as bad, it’s common to see representatives sitting behind their booth on their laptops with body language that says, “I’m busy, leave me alone,” they are entirely unaware of the unwelcoming vibe they are emitting. Your tradeshow success relies so very heavily upon the experience and interactions that your visitors have at your booth.
The best approach is to have a sales person stand close to the aisle to funnel traffic into your booth. Come up with an intriguing question to garner interest from folks that would otherwise pass on by. These questions can even be used to determine if the attendee is a qualified lead or not. Have a sales person standing by that the “traffic-funneler” can direct the guest towards for further explanation of your product or service. Quality, edifying, personal interaction trumps the quantity of traffic at the end of the day.
3. Leverage Social Proof
Social proof is a concept describing the human tendency to be attracted to something that lots of other humans already seem to be attracted to. Basically, if there is a product I’ve never heard of and I see lots of other people being excited about it, I naturally want to know what the hype is about too. This probably goes back to some primal survival instinct like, “If everyone else is using fire, maybe I should learn about it too; it must be useful.” Use this tendency to your advantage.
Create a reason for folks to flock to your booth. Maybe you have an exciting hands-on experience that guests can participate in, an interactive give away, a demo of your product, etc. If you have a large social media following, announce a specific time that you’ll be doing a giveaway to drive a large flock of guests to your booth at once. Perhaps your company would benefit from having a station of mobile tablets displaying examples of your company’s designs and finished home projects. This can be more enticing to a person meandering through a busy tradeshow than a paper catalog, plus it allows them to interact both visually and kinesthetically.
If you really want to embrace the latest in technology, you could have a virtual reality station – imagine that your company specialized in kitchens… a guest could put on a pair of VR goggles and have a 360-degree view of a variety of your finished kitchen projects complete with an auditory explanation of each. Maybe virtual reality is a bit too ambitious, but you get the idea. Find a way to attract people to your booth (that is relevant to your product) and even more will follow suit. Just remember the rule above, be welcoming and prepared to answer questions!
4. Keep Your Reach Growing After the Expo
Find a way to encourage your booth guests to follow your social media accounts. Better yet, find a way to get them to post about you on their social media accounts! Having a unique display or cutout at your booth can encourage attendees to take pictures with it and post them after. You can further encourage them to share by gifting them a handout (maybe a pair of cheap sunglasses with your logo, something fun or useful) but only if they post the photo on Social Media and tag your company. If the display is exciting enough, they’ll want to do this anyway. Keep your idea relevant to your product though, if it isn’t, you’ll create confusion and detract from the brand messaging you want to be giving. This is an especially great idea if your focus for the tradeshow is generating brand awareness.
5. Keep the Ball In Your Court
Of course you want to give out information on your company to tradeshow attendees, but if this is all you do, you’re leaving the ball in their court. Even if you think you had the most amazing booth at the whole expo and that there’s no way anyone who saw it could forget you, you’re wrong. Realistically, people get busy. They procrastinate. They forget. Not to mention, they get information overload at the expo.
They may remember your booth, but they won’t necessarily take initiative to contact you after they leave. Therefore, it’s important to capture leads. How you go about this depends on your company, how you qualify your leads, and what your goals are. Do you want to add to your mailing list? Do you want phone numbers to call? Do you want to set up appointments as soon as possible? Do you want to let them know when the product you’re promoting is going to be available? Do you want to get them into your place of business to purchase a service? The methods available for capturing leads are numerous; study up and find the way that will work best for you… just get that ball in your court.
6. Follow Up ASAP!
It used to be commonplace to wait a few days, or even a week, to follow up with leads after a tradeshow. Thanks to our increasingly digital society, attention spans are much shorter and distractions are everywhere. Leads can forget about you or be discovered by your competitors at the drop of a hat. It’s never been easier to follow up with leads immediately. Yes, I mean IMMEDIATELY, as in the minute they walk away from your booth!
If you can encourage your guests to give their information, especially their email addresses, to you (through a tablet or computer at your booth) you can have an automated email sent to them immediately after they fill out a form. Email software like Active Campaign, Constant Contact, or MailChimp make this possible. You can even send out a preplanned “drip” campaign that sends follow-up emails in a series. You can send something every few days or you can set “triggers” that determine when and which emails are sent (i.e. whether they opened the email you sent them or not). Hooray for marketing technology!
- Make sure your booth is staffed and that your staff are welcoming
- Draw traffic to your booth using your staff and interesting exhibits that garner attention and attract a crowd
- Remember: “social proof”
- Keep your messaging and displays clear and relevant
- Quality first, quantity second, but quantity certainly helps too
- Capture leads, keep the ball in your court, and follow up as soon as possible
- Have a clear plan and make sure all staff are on the same page before the expo
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