Many companies from various types of industries take advantage of trade shows to increase engagement, especially if they have products or services that require experiential treatment. Trade show marketing is a platform that allows brands to showcase and demonstrate their products and services. It comes in the form of exhibitions, trade shows, events, etc.
Trade shows are commonly organized according to industry-specific brands, and it’s open to any company that registers to participate in a trade show. A registered company is given a trade show space to set up a booth, a double expandable trailer, a pop-up shop, mobile marketing trailers, or a quick mobile kiosk to fill up that given space in time for the opening of the trade show.
Trade show displays attract large audiences. They are built for high traffic, in large places, to facilitate conversations that are meaningful between brands, competitors, and consumers. Your goal as a trade show marketer is to establish a bond with the people who come to your spot because this will create a high lead generation, which will, in turn, result in sales.
Before you go into the trade show experience, here are seven elements to carefully think through to make the most of your trade show experience. These are common mistakes that even the most seasoned professional might overlook at times:
Picking the wrong product to showcase
Choosing the right one for your trade show marketing campaign will ultimately be the deciding factor in your success or failure. Choosing a product wisely is an absolute must. When you choose the right product and the right trade show booth. You’ll automatically be geared to create marketing activities around it.
A rookie mistake made when it comes to picking a product is that the marketer picks a prominent product from the brand just because they think there’s money behind it or because it’s easy to sell. The product you choose must drive you on its own. Otherwise, no matter how popular it is, you won’t be able to market it because you’re not invested in it. In a trade show, you want a product that will solve the pain points of the audience attending.
You’re promoting too many products
It’s not wrong to promote various products from the same brand at a trade show. You could be in pharmaceuticals and want to showcase a list of new vitamins. However, keep in mind that the space you have at a trade show is limited. Therefore, optimizing the focus toward a product is highly essential.
Many rookies make the mistake of selecting too many products to show, leading toward a loss of focus. Being overly ambitious and over-enthusiastic isn’t the approach you want to go for in a trade show. What you can do, though, is to pick selected products within the same umbrella and one that meets the attendee profile. Commit to a selected product, and then turn your endorsements and reviews into the right action, which is making sales.
Designing and operating a poor website
There’s no excuse anymore to have a bad-quality website in this day and age. Making websites is easier nowadays than they ever were.
What happens when you have a poor-quality website, and why is it important in a trade show? Offline and online marketing go hand in hand. When an attendee visits your booth, engages with the product, and builds a relationship with the brand, you want to give them a Call-to-Action (CtA). That CtA needs to include an introduction to your digital space, i.e., your business’ website, and a low-quality site means low sales volume – it’s a quick reaction.
While you don’t need to create a high-end, high-tech website with plenty of amazing user-friendly interfaces, you still need to provide a basic, accessible, and friendly site that will turn visits and clicks into immediate sales.
You want to avoid a slow or unresponsive website. Remember that it takes only 3 seconds to make a first impression online, so make it worth it. Messy templates and an unorganized site will also get your customers frustrated and lose interest in what you have to sell. They also won’t be coming back because they have associated your site with all things negative.
Website that provides easy access
You want to provide a nice online environment, easy navigation, and overall pleasant experience when customers browse your site – much like how you’d be providing a nice space to shop if it was a regular shopping store.
When you build your site, keep these things in mind. Even you like shopping on a website that provides easy access. When designing a website, you need to answer these questions:
- Is it easy to navigate?
- Is your website easy to find?
- Is your website providing easy-to-find sections?
- Does it highlight the products?
- Are there clear calls to action?
- Is your website simple enough to find information?
- Is your website responsive?
Your website needs to be intuitive and simple enough to be interactive and easy to navigate, and above all, includes the CtA you want your audience to act on. Make sure that your website also personifies the kind of products you’re selling.
Not having high-quality content at your trade show
High-quality and updated content is an essential part of trade show marketing. Heck, it’s an integral part of any kind of marketing. Users nowadays are very used to high-quality content, so having low-resolution photos, pixelated design, and poor descriptions only puts a damper on your ability to sell.
This rookie mistake is a major problem that’s very often overlooked. Content is important in marketing. Don’t make the mistake of having an exhibit, trailer, or booth that has no actionable item or isn’t insightful. The content you display at your trade show needs to solve a problem or have a purpose. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyers, and imagine what kind of content they would be interested in when they walk by your booth. You want people to get hooked on stories and cool facts, not random ramblings and unimaginative visuals.
Not tracking the performance from your trade show
All the effort, that floor time, speaking to people, engaging with them, talking about your products and services, giving them your business card, getting them to respond to your CtA, has to produce something. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time, effort, and resources. Part of any kind of marketing is optimizing your data and tracking it. You want to see the cause and effects that happen when you do track, so you know what works for you. How many customers visited your website after visiting your booth? How many users filled in a form? How many visitors turned into paying customers? How many products did you manage to sell? All of these data will tell you:
- If your booth was a success (from the content, the visuals, display, and products)
- If you achieved the objective/goal of the trade show
- If your participation in the trade show was worthwhile
- If the trade show was a good platform, and if it makes sense to sign up to it again
Not continuously learning
As a marketer, you must always keep abreast of the things and trends that are happening in your line of business. This also includes learning from your most recent trade show participation. What are your takeaways? What will you do differently next time? What will you keep? Doing a postmortem after every event is essential, so you don’t repeat mistakes. Trends take place frequently, and some work for your business while some don’t, but knowing them helps you navigate through different trade shows as smoothly as possible.
Not being brave to try new things
It’s imperative to test out the various tools and versions of copy and content, media, and campaigns when you want to sell your products. Trade shows offer marketers plenty of marketing capacities that are easy and fast to set up. Delivering the same kinds of messages just because they worked before doesn’t mean you’ll have continued success. While some users may take the bait, most will eventually get bored and this will lead to slumped sales. You must keep things fresh in terms of content, as well as campaigns to reach out to new target markets.
Never accept the status quo. Explore a variety of marketing opportunities and experiment toward perfection, and when you do this, don’t forget to conduct A/B testing even on your trade show booths. You can test out things like mobile trailers vs. pop-up stands, audiovisual media vs. printed, and digital signup forms vs. paper signup forms. You can also test out different advertising copy to see which one hooks your client base. Testing and trying different approaches toward the same pain points for the same buyer persona is how you can refine your trade show experience to attract better lead generation and higher sales
Testing out is fun because it helps you evaluate your campaigns effectively.