5 Guidelines to Effective Trade Show Promotions

  • Mar 8, 2011

The latest high-tech gadget is likely to be given away by a number of exhibitors at the typical trade show. This year, the iPad is it. Later in the year or next year, it will be something else. But this approach to trade shows is misguided and thoughtless. It attracts all the wrong people - those who want to win rather than those who are viable prospects for the exhibitor's business. Here are our five guidelines for a better experience:

  1. Understand the purpose of a promotional product
    The purpose of a promotional product is to increase your prospect’s memorability of your product or service long after the show is over. Among other things, it’s a token of appreciation, a way to thank your prospect for visiting your booth.
  2. Fit your item into your exhibiting objective
    There are so many different items to consider. However, which one will best suit your purpose? To select the right item, you need to decide on your objective. Do you want it to enhance a theme; convey a specific message, create brand awareness, or educate your target audience? A clear purpose helps make your selection process easier. Consult a promotional specialist to help you choose an effective solution. Having a clear objective for your premium item makes deciding who receives it, easier. Consider different gifts for different types of visitors – quality gifts for your key customers, and prospects, and something else, if necessary, for others.
  3. Give visitors something to do to qualify for a gift
    There are several ways to use your premium effectively. For example, as a reward for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or contest; as a token of your appreciation when visitors give you qualifying information about their specific needs; as a thank you for stopping at the booth. However, avoid leaving items out for the masses because this lowers the perceived value, and lacks the all important memorability factor.
  4. Use the gift as a traffic builder
    A sufficiently novel or useful gift can actively help to draw prospects to your booth. Make sure your prospects know about it beforehand. Send a “tickler” invitation, add it to your Facebook page, tweet about it, or use any other social media so that the right people know about it, and will make a point of coming to see you at the show. Remember to include your booth number.
  5. Measure the effectiveness of your premium
    Develop a tracking system to measure the success of your promotion. If it’s a redemption item, code it so that you know it resulted from the show. Post-show follow-up with your booth visitors could include a question about the premium – did they remember receiving it, and how useful was the item? Critique your premium with your exhibit team: Did it draw the right (quality) prospects to the booth? Did your customers find it useful? Did it project the right corporate image? Remember that your company image is reflected in whatever you choose to use, so make sure that it’s quality!

Trade show booths need a marketing plan 

What's the best item to achieve your trade show objective? There's no quick and easy answer to that. It's best not to focus initially on the product, but on the message. You need a trusted promotional consultant, and that's where we come in. Give us a call.

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