5 Tips for Trade Show Season

Trade show season is right around the corner. Some of us have been back in person for months. For others, EXPO or ASI will be the first time we’ve been to an in-person show since the pandemic started. Either way now is the perfect time to review your strategies and plan how to get the most out of your booth experience. 

Some of the best things you can do to improve your trade show return on investment happens before anyone steps foot on the floor. To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of tips and best practices to help you squeeze as much value out of your time at the show as possible. So let’s dive in.

Define Success

When it comes to success, trade shows are no different than any other marketing endeavor – you’ve got to keep your eye on the prize. With so many people walking the aisles at a show, your goal should be more 1:1 face time with your distributors. Decide whether your goal is making appointments with established contacts or luring in new business, and then focus the rest of your content on that goal.

Prepare your Digital Assets

Before you start contacting leads, you should have your digital assets ready. That means pulling together a collection of digital catalogs and flyers that you can put in front of distributors.

Once you’ve collected your materials, put them all in one place – ZOOMcatalog. We may be a little biased but trust us: your customers are looking for information, ideas, and inspiration. What they’re not looking for? Back problems from carrying another big book print catalog or the cost of shipping box after box of printed materials.

With your digital assets prepped, you can give your leads everything they need to be prepared before they meet with you at the show. Then, instead of flipping through pages, you can get down to real business.

When you’re in your booth, we recommend creating a sign with a QR code that points to your digital marketing materials. You can learn more about QR Codes here, and if you read to the end of this article, you’ll find a template you can download for your booth.

Create an Email Campaign

The email inbox is where you can win loads of potential appointments, but this time of year, distributors’ inboxes are flooded with “visit our booth” emails. Stand out from the crowd by using this email campaign as an idea starter that you drop in your distributors’ laps.

Consider what makes your products or services unique and craft a digital flyer that focuses on one single aspect of your business. Maybe it’s your robust drop-shipping program, a unique imprinting method, exclusive seasonal items that people can’t resist, or another value-added service. Whatever you choose, make sure it inspires their imagination, then use that spark of inspiration to invite them to talk. This stirs interest without making you sound like a salesperson. 

Pro tip: A well-placed “promo code” for an extra special in booth gift is always a good draw.

Now that they’re curious, hit them with that call to action to schedule an appointment with you. We like to use Calendly as our go-to tool for scheduling appointments. It’s simple and integrates well with your calendar.

Craft Social Campaigns

Social media posts are the sprinkles on top of your trade show marketing cake. They are the small reminders that meet potential customers where they are and keep your name top of mind as the show comes closer.

Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter, tease your followers with previews of your booth and snippets of your digital catalogs and flyers. Follow those up with clear and concise copy that calls them to schedule an appointment with your team before the show starts.

Once you’re at the show, add photos of your booth and selfies of your visitors to your feed. Take advantage of the community atmosphere and tag each other. Make sure to use the show’s hashtag and watch your engagement numbers rise.

Be Post-Show Ready

When you are at the show, in the moment, it can be a lot to think about. Which person just visited and what was it they wanted? Being prepared with what your post-show follow-up is BEFORE you get to the show can make a huge difference in your ability to keep up with all the requests going out.

Pre-draft emails and include links to your catalog. It’s a great way to save time and make sure you can get back to your new leads as quickly as possible. While this won’t work for every contact you make, there will be some broad themes that you can prep and import into your lead capture software to make your follow-up easier.

That’s a lot to take in, but using some or all of these tactics will help land the appointments you’re wanting. Use them to drive people toward your schedule and secure your appointments long before you ever enter the doors of any event.
If you’re wondering how you can use digital catalogs and flyers to fuel the growth of your business in 2022 and beyond, contact us and we will get you on the right track for success.