Today’s post is by Mark Stralka, CEO and founder of Mobile Locker. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Have you been successfully generating sales at trade shows? Not sure?
You’re not alone!
Most businesses that invest time and money in trade show marketing aren’t sure it’s paying off.
Our eight-step plan will help you optimize your efforts. If you follow it from beginning to end, you’ll increase your chances of success at trade shows. Plus, you’ll be able to calculate a concrete return on your investment in them and have the information you need to improve event sales over time.
Step 1: Define your reasons for participating in trade shows.
Decide whether you’re trying to:
- Find new customers
- Build business relationships
- Connect with current clients
- Raise your brand profile
- Demonstrate expertise
- Introduce new products or services
Maybe it’s a combination.
This step is fundamental. You can’t succeed unless you know what you’re trying to achieve.
Step 2: Identify your target audiences.
Once you understand what you want to accomplish at trade shows, decide who you want to connect with. Once you define your target audiences, you’ll be able to:
- Find the trade shows they attend
- Understand what motivates them
- Deliver messages and personal and virtual interactions they’ll respond to.
Step 3: Set measurable goals.
Leverage information from steps 1 and 2 to come up with clear, defined business goals. Here are some examples.
- Number of new leads or customers
- Dollar value of sales tracked back to trade show interactions
- Number of meetings with current customers
- Percent increase in sales tracked to event efforts
Step 4: Find events that align with your goals.
It’s not enough for trade shows to have plenty of attendees in your target market. They should also offer meaningful ways to interact with them.
- Do you want to demonstrate industry expertise? Look for events with well-attended breakout sessions and other speaking opportunities.
- Are you trying to generate leads? Find trade shows that encourage personal interactions and opportunities to exchange contact information.
- Looking to spend quality time with prospects and current clients? Seek out events that allow for coffee, cocktail, and meal breaks.
Step 5: Develop assets that command attention.
Once you understand the people in your target audience, you can create trade show assets that speak to their needs, including:
- A booth that features messages and images that get them to stop and take notice
- Experiences that will help them live their lives or do their jobs better
- Break-outs that feature speakers and topics they won’t want to miss
Step 6: Decide how to capture contact information.
Many businesses leverage the badge scanners provided by trade shows to gather lead data.
The issue: The information from scanners is limited and not available to sales reps right away.
A better alternative: Use Mobile Locker’s business card scanning app to snap pictures of attendee business cards. It will convert the information on them to data that’s usable right away. Plus, it scans the Internet for other information that can be used to qualify prospects on the spot. Learn how Mobile Locker’s trade show tool kit can help you.
Step 7: Build a follow-up plan.
If you delay following up with the people you meet at trade shows, your competitors will beat you to sales. You must have a follow-up plan ready to go as soon as events are over.
It should include:
- Priorities, including which leads are acted on first
- How leads will be distributed
- How quickly follow-up should happen
- What messages and materials must be developed to support follow-up efforts
- How tracking and results reporting will take place
- Who will manage the follow-up process
Make sure sales reps are fully trained on the follow-up program before the event begins and identify a contact who can answer questions. Mobile Locker’s app for sales makes it easy to train reps and distribute sales materials.
8. Measure success.
Compare your projected goals with your actual results to determine whether your trade show marketing and sales efforts were successful.
Don’t give up if you didn’t succeed at everything. By following this step-by-step plan, you have all the information you need to fine-tune future trade show sales efforts and do even better in the future.
Want to learn more tips on how to optimize the ROI of your next trade show event? Download Mobile Locker’s complimentary Trade Show Lead Booster™ guidebook!