Every year, businesses of all types, sizes, and budgets flock to trade shows, praying that they get noticed. Some of these businesses spend several months planning, setting goals, and developing their booth strategy.
And, as always, there are certain businesses that show up, duct tape a booth together, and try to shove business cards into the faces of the unfortunate souls who happen to walk past that booth.
No one wants to be “that company” at the trade show, so we prepared a simple list to help you rethink your next trade show booth.
Here are 5 ways to help you transform your trade show booth into a success.
#1 – Trade shows, like = marketing, are about lead generation.
First off, lead generation isn’t always about making a sale. It can also be used for recruiting new employees, or gauging interest in a new brand, or anything else where you want people to follow up with you.
The whole point of setting up a booth is to get out there and collect some emails, right? Maybe chat with some interested people, and help them understand and choose your business.
That’s also the core of inbound marketing: Focus on drawing in people who have a higher chance of choosing you, instead of trying to target every single person, including those who are completely disinterested in you.
Let’s pretend you own a business that makes and sells gourmet donuts.
For you, a lead would be anyone who doesn’t mind spending a bit more on something sweet and tasty. By attending a trade show, you hope to collect emails so that you can send weekly updates about new specials and flavours, and as a result, have more people visit your shop.
#2 – Your booth’s success is relative to your offer.
If there’s nothing in it for them, why would people stop to visit you?
Most booths offer something worthwhile to people who stop by. Even better, many booths offer something that’s relevant to their business.
Bonus points if you can be more creative with your offer. Give away something interesting that people can’t get anywhere else, and you’ll generate even more leads.
So, for your donut shop, it would make more sense to give away free samples of donuts instead of, say, $5 cash.
Sure, more people will want $5 cash, but it’s totally irrelevant to your business, and it doesn’t help people remember your shop at all. That cash could’ve been from any booth.
If you’re the booth giving away full-size donuts while your competitors are only giving away bite-size samples, you’ll attract more people to your booth. Even better—offer them full-size donuts with a special flavour that people can’t get anywhere else.
#3 – Ask for something in return.
So, now that your booth is attracting people and has something to offer them, it’s time to ask for something in return. An email, a resume, or a minute of time—make sure you get something out of it.
And make sure you’re trading fairly, as people won’t give you 20 minutes of their time when all you’re offering is a pen.
People are flocking to your donuts!
You’ve got ‘em where you want ‘em. Ask them for their email address as they enjoy a donut. Yes, just like that. It’s that simple.
#4 – It’s all about presentation.
First impressions last—especially in business. You want every potential lead to see you as one of the best, so you need to look the part.
High quality visuals, professional tone, and functionality play a major role in how people see your business.
Your booth should be a smaller version of your donut shop.
Your donut booth should represent the cleanliness and quality of your shop that your customers expect. Your food samples should be fresh and consistent. Your booth banner, business cards, and coupons should all have the same visual elements and tone.
#5 – For success, you need goals.
You need to set goals to know if your booth is worth it.
First, define what a lead is for your business. Then, figure out what a lead is worth to you. After that, decide how many leads you need to collect to call your booth a success.
You’ll know how much you can justify spending on a booth, and have expectations in mind for the event.
How much is a lead worth for a gourmet donut shop?
Okay, bear with us, there’s some math ahead: If the average customer visits once per week and buys 6 donuts, and each donut costs $3, that’s an average of $18 per week per customer.
Now, let’s say that your average weekly email brings in 10% of your leads, and you send emails to 100 people. That means, on average, 10 new people will visit your shop and spend $18 each week. You’ve earned an extra $180 that week.
Of course, email marketing isn’t free—let’s say it costs $30 per week per 100 emails for the email automation tool. Now, your weekly marketing earnings are $150.
You can conclude that the average lead is worth $1.50 for your business, because 100 leads means an extra $150 per week.
If a lead is worth $1.50, and you spend $1,000 on your booth, then you need to collect at least 667 leads to break even.
Better start making more donuts!
Need help creating a plan for your upcoming trade show? Contact us! We’d be happy to help your business generate more leads.