Trade Fair Marketing:
10 tips for more success as exhibitors
Trade shows have lost nothing of attractiveness. You can only make mistakes, because trade fair appearances are not exactly one of the most cost-effective sales promotions. For this reason, in addition to a well-organized standpoint that fits the brand and message, a lot more should be taken into account in order to achieve a real “return on marketing investment”.
1. Finding the right target group to choose the right trade fairs
Of course, there are very complex selection procedures for finding the right trade fairs. They are available in numerous books and are exactly right for companies looking for more than 400 square meters or more of space to a large trade fair and consumer fair. But even for smaller trade fairs, one should start a few basic considerations, which are related to the general purpose of trade fairs. • Ask yourself the following questions for each exhibition you wish to participate in as an exhibitor:
- Do I meet existing customers at this fair?
- Do I meet potential customers at this fair (my target group, which I also co-operate with other marketing tools?)
- Is the fair established (or is it still unclear whether it will be a success?).
- Are my competitors (the real ones) present?
- Can I take a stand, the preparation and follow-up, which fits my importance in the market and the professionalism of my offer and company?
- Does the organizer provide professional help to prepare for the exhibition?
- Does the organizer provide accurate information on the expected visitors? (Number, kind, wishes / expectations of visitors …)
- Do I have sufficiently trained staff for a well-stocked stand?
- Can I learn something at the fair itself? (About the market or the competition, but also my industry itself. Many trade fairs offer excellent lectures and workshops, not only for trade visitors).
- Do I expect our existing customers and sales partners to be there, maybe because we have been a regular exhibitor for years?
If you say “Yes” more than 5-6 times, you should consider the fair. If this is not the case, you simply need more information or the trade fair is not the right one for your trade fair goals.
- The (good) preparation decides on the success
More than 80% of the trade visitors prepare themselves for the fair. You are studying the contents of the catalog, you are looking specifically for the exhibitors on the internet, networks in the various Xing or Facebook groups and look for so – called “Private Exhibition or Congress Communities” like – minded specialists and specialists who attend the same events. In addition to the classical instruments, the tools are the best way to achieve the following goals:
- Finding existing or former customers and addressing them specifically for scheduling.
- Identifying new contacts that may be potential future business partners.
- Drawing attention to yourself by means of sympathetic information on what is to be experienced with you and what competence will be found at the fair.
Ask the organizer of the trade fairs in which you would like to participate as an exhibitor, which possibilities are offered to draw attention to themselves in the run-up to a trade fair with the trade visitors and use these instruments consistently.
What cannot be missed is the marketing work in advance. Minimum requirements are:
Information by letter, telephone, e-mail, forms of payment, your own website, exhibitors or other communication channels, on which trade fairs you are to be found. A so-called “Landing Page”, an extra page on your homepage, is very clever, which provides detailed information about this exhibition and your embassies, presents the exhibition team and simplifies the appointment agreement. If this site is also optimized for the search engines, you might be found by visitors who google the exhibition in advance. You can also refer to your fair landing page from Facebook pages, trade fair blogs, or press releases.
- Short press information on specialist media, which is your special message or staging at a trade fair.
- Use social community tools, such as Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn or others, to share their own communities, and, if possible, even concrete gangsters.
General rule and objective: If approximately 30% of the available call time can be terminated in the run-up to a trade fair (with existing customers or prospective customers), then it cannot be a failure.
- Attract attention at any price – use every contact chance
As always in marketing, a single measure is never as successful as a bundle of parallel measures. This applies before, during, and after the fair. Consider which contact possibilities or contact points a consumer or trade fair, besides the stand still offers.
“During the show, you will most likely consider your stand as a” runway “and the accompanying measures as a lot service, which will allow as many professional pilots to land with you. Promotions, profit games, sponsoring and many communication opportunities are offered by almost every trade fair; use it!
The more emotional you stage your message, the more successful you will be. A small (but funny) present on the exhibition (the other half can only be obtained at the stand) often works better than a price competition, which is obviously only on addressing the audience.
Tips: Vote every measure beforehand with the exhibition organisers. At almost all trade fairs, it is not allowed to send unsolicited (and paid) promotion teams through the halls and corridors.
- Offer special offers
Trade fairs are also called “marketplaces of news”. Why should someone give you (or your booth) time if you do not have anything new to offer? If you give someone time, then the expected consideration is at least a pleasant, interesting conversation. And even better, the added value of a novelty that is relevant to the visitor. Most companies are hard to formulate their own news as they assume that something that has been published on their site for three months is already known to everyone. This is usually a mistake. Try to concentrate on a new message, as a huge mountain of self-awareness.
New additions are also:
- A new, highly competent specialist you have hired.
- In the area of hotels or congress halls: the last renovations, extensions, conversions, or service ideas.
- Of course, all new products and services that are relevant to the fair’s target group (your New Year’s Eve program might be of little interest to the customers of a MICEMesse)
- Their stand team is experienced, prepared, and cheerfully up to the toe tips and motivated!
You mean that is a matter of course? Not even close. Make the following test three to four weeks before the show: Ask each member of your team the following and give 30 seconds to answer the question: “Why should I buy from you and not be at the neighbourhood? “The answers examine the following contents:
- Was the response to the target group that will visit this show?
- Have the USP (unique selling propositions = unique sales arguments) been mentioned without any detours?
- Does the answer show that your team is completely convinced by the performance of your company?
“Indifference, ignorance, and lack of skills to emit enthusiasm are the most important, fair-attendance preventers!”
- The measurement stand is at least as professional and valuable as your offer in real life
If a hotel chain with a brand and wide market coverage as a hotel board, you need not be surprised about a lack of success. If a 5 star house on 4 square meters and with wacky display and obligatory city poster goes to the customer, then it is clear that the message does not arrive. If you exhibit at a trade fair, your stand design will bear the quality and image of your company. Quite honestly, stand design is in the hands of professionals. In order to optimize stand costs and create an exciting message, a merger with other exhibitors can be useful.
- Full concentration on the conversation partner by task division
No matter how big your measurement is, a person has to play the “butler”. He or she stands “at the door” and makes sure that everyone is addressed. If all the members of the stand are concentrating on their respective conversation partners (you must not be nervous about the fact that somebody is walking around the pages of their brochures undetected), then you have to have the time to speak to the indecisive, interested, happy and please forget the sentence “Can I help you?”. (No, I cannot help). Better is: According to my horoscope today, I will meet only nice people. Looks like it’s right. Or: What a good choice at this stand past. We are probably the reason why you visit this fair today. Or: You do not have to buy something here, try this delicious chocolate (tarte, flambee, mulled wine, champagne, jellybeans …… whatever your message fits) – it says a lot about our quality consciousness. ” Doofe tacking you say? Just try it with a big smile!
The danger is that you will not only find customers with such ideas, but maybe friends. (Some of them elaborate the best trade fair quotes before a trade fair …)
Giving is better than taking ….
Yes, yes …. many people are still hunters, but mostly collectors. But beware, a fair day is long. More people have back problems. And a given information is a missed opportunity for a post-contact.
The best offer is: Can we send you the information? If the visitor wants to take the information at the same time, the choice should be between printed or digital transfer (for example on a USB stick).
The follow-up planning
Tired and with aching feet, your fair team has now returned home. A short break would be exactly right now. However, most mistakes of the trade fair appearance are made in the preliminary and in the follow-up. Make sure that you agree with your call partner during each trade fair meeting, as you will remain; this is very important. Collecting business cards and posting a loveless standard mail after the show, often now leads to the opposite of your goal. The potential customer now knows he is not important to you. If, however, you specifically agreed: “I call you at the beginning of the next quarter to pick up the dates for your purchasing planning”, the follow-up consists, for example, of these three actions:
- Include this contact in your own database with the status “Interested” and the source “Trade fair xyz year” (immediately)
- Write a personal postcard with the following text: Thank you for your visit to our stand at the trade fair xyz “. We are very pleased to be able to call you at the beginning of September to participate in your tender. (At least three working days after the meeting or the trade fair).
- Call to the agreed date or by e-mail or Xing to arrange a telephone appointment so that the contact can prepare for the call.
The following also applies to the follow-up: If you manage the follow up very personal and professionally (instead of a mass mailing) the better you and your new contact will remember the conversations at a trade fair. And your new contact will also thank you for a customized summary.
Do not forget the conclusion and the evaluation
Depending on the type of offer and the usual lead time before a customer becomes a customer in your business segment, a specific appointment should be made when a success assessment is made. For this, the following questions should be answered, because the “gut feeling” is a bad trade fair consultant.
- How many existing customers have we met (an external service visit for customer care costs between 300 and 1,000 €). If you know the value of your business, you can multiply the number of customer interviews by the cost of an outgoing service visit (now omitted), thus providing a basis for the “return on invest”.
- How many of your new customers did you meet for the first time at the fair to be evaluated? And what sales are realistic with these customers in the coming 24 months?
- What innovations did you get from this show? Do you dare to value a value?
- Did you have press contacts? Did this result in a publication?
You need help?
When planning a successful test stand?
When training your test team?
Creating successful trade fair landing pages and communication?