Top 10 Ways to Make Even the Smallest Booth Make the Cash Register Ring at Your Next Expo : Let’s face it, most people hate when expo time comes around. Lugging materials, giveaways, props and luggage is not something to look forward to – especially when you know that most of what you are bringing will have to be lugged back when it’s all over. It wouldn’t be so bad if the time and expense is justified with a good return on investment. Unfortunately statistics prove that nearly 93% of all leads generated at the show will not be followed up. Why? Because most salespeople know that the majority of the people that visited their booth were just browsing or killing time until the next round of seminar sessions – they weren’t compelled to see what was being offered or displayed at the booth. Translated, they aren’t a hot prospect.
To get buyers to visit your booth, your marketing message must position you as a “must see” exhibit in the minds of your customers and prospects. Here are 10 prospect generating ideas that will help you drive demand and visits to your booth. Even if you can only afford the smallest booth tucked way in the back corner, there are ways to get your prospects to actively seek you out and create demand for your products or services.
Send out Press Releases. One of the easiest ways to gain valuable pre-show publicity is to issue press releases to your industry trade publications. Industry magazines are always looking for new product and service information. It’s a great way to alert hundreds or thousands about your exhibit, where you can be found, and new products/services. Find out what magazines will be covering the expo. Get the names of the reporters assigned to the event and make appointments to meet them. Almost all expos have a press box. Find ways to help them write about your company.
Reserve a Hospitality Suite. This is a great idea even if you don’t buy a booth at the main show. By simply setting up a hospitality suite that is located near the big show, you can lure prospective customers to a more secluded venue to showcase your company. If promoted correctly, you can gain undivided attention with a captivated audience that will give you a better chance of turning prospects into customers. In many cases this may have a better return on your investment than if you were to have paid for a booth. It can also be used as a place to hold appointments with prospective customers.
Advertise in Your Trade Magazine. The goal of the expo promoters is just that – to promote the expo. What you need to do is use the same techniques to promote the fact that your company will be at the expo.
Send Direct Mail to Prospects. You can have a major influence on meeting attendees who are interested in your product or service. A great way to spread the word is by direct mail. Using the Pre-Registration List and your current list of customers, send a series of postcards or letters inviting them to visit your booth. Make sure that all mailings prominently display your booth number.
Use Your Web Site. Use the internet to promote your booth, products, or special guests that will be at the expo. It not only informs prospective customers, it incorporates a feedback mechanism into your web site offering buyers an easy opportunity to give you instant feedback on their needs.
Promote Your Booth Through the Expo-Promoter Newsletters. Let the event promoter know what’s going to happen at your booth. Make it exciting and they will be sure to cover it in their newsletters that will promote the event. Here are some ideas to help you make getting press easier:
o Keep the theme in mind as you plan your booth activities.
o Do you have a new product to launch?
o Will you have a prize drawing/giveaway?
o If your prize has a substantial value, see if you can get it displayed on the Grand Prize staging area if there is one.
o Are you going to have a special show or guest at your booth?
o Will you have a fun activity at your booth?
Promote New Products/Services. Send your prospect list description of any new products or services that they will be able to experience at the booth. Tout any improvements that have been made. Describe any at-show events or special promotions. Promote your prize drawings or giveaways for those that visit your booth.
Tell Them Who They Can Expect to See at the Event. Let your customers and prospects know which company executives and staff members will be onsite at the show to answer their questions or provide product demonstrations.
Make Appointments. If possible, pre-arrange a specific day and time for an attendee to come by the booth, or your hospitality suite, for a demonstration or to simply discuss your products and services. They will appreciate knowing when and where to find you.
The Best Tactic Ever – Even if You Can’t Do Any of the Rest! If you have the man or woman power, have a few people out in the traffic area near your booth but not in it. Here’s what you do. Instead of having your associates hand out fliers or try pushing prospects into your booth, have them ask two simple questions to determine if they are a prospect. Look the person in the eye and ask very casually, “have you been able to find everything you wanted to see here at the expo?” And then follow up with, “what was it specifically that made you come out to the show today?” This will help you to make a determination about how best to introduce your product or service.
Your approach will put them at ease because they may think that you are with the expo as opposed to an exhibitor. You will be able to determine if they are a prospect or another exhibitor stretching their legs. If they are a prospect you will be able to build rapport by acknowledging that this is a hectic environment. They will tell you what they are looking for and why they came. If that happens you should be able to find a reason that they would be interested in your product or service. Then simply say, “Oh, you’re interested in XYZ, have you seen how (your company) is (give great benefits)?” Then simply guide them toward the booth and make the introduction to whoever is working the booth.
Sure you can take the easy way out and use what is known as booth-candy. That simply means using a hot looking girl or guy, depending on your industry, to attract visitors to your booth. But that technique won’t give you qualified buyers of your product or service only people interested in, well, browsing.
David Wells is a business development expert, speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of http://www.emdco.com a provider of business-to-business lead creation, data confirmation and integrated marketing solutions. For more information on event marketing, go to http://www.emdco.com/eventmarketing.html. Subscribe to “The Business Promoter’s Tips of the Week” ezine at firstname.lastname@example.org.