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Are Tradeshows Effective?

36c57dca-eac9-4160-9d23-fca1589d3840.jpgAre Tradeshows Effective?

I love trade shows, we have had some really great times, visiting with customers, prospects and seeing what is going on in the business world is always fun at Tradeshows. This is a great way to reach out and find new prospects and build business awareness.

It may appear that tradeshows seem to be the thing of the past here in Whatcom County. The Bellingham Chamber and Whatcom Business Alliance’s tradeshows have gone away. These organizations work hard, with limited resources and funds to put on such a big production, we can’t blame them for pulling the plug. I remember thinking as a participant and as a printer for those who put efforts into their booth if it is all worth it. To answer these questions, and with a great amount of research on the topic, I realized that the burden on these organizations was pointed at the wrong people. Each vendor is just as much if not more, responsible for receiving successful results from standing behind a table. But, how do you make sure all of your efforts convert prospects into profitable accounts? It takes building relationships. When was the last time you receive an invitation to come to visit a booth at a tradeshow? Print & Copy Factory can provide many tools and resources to help you solidify the pre-show invites a great resource for all of your needs to put on a successful tradeshow.

Preshow invites and relationship building
Often this is the first time in a while that your sales team may have contacted some of your customers. Send out invites, phone your customers and invite them, share what you would like to discuss or show them your services and equipment. This gives you an opportunity to reconnect and engage the business relationships. Reaching out, with pre-mailers, social media buzz-creating and even sponsoring the tradeshow will help build your brand, customer awareness of who you are and what you do and most importantly your value. Create a media packet for sending out press releases on perhaps a new offering that will be displayed. Some other ideas are creating a promotion for visiting the booth, such as treasure hunt, or tickets to have them attend. Create a theme of your booth, that creates a buzz and is talked about as a must see, or even years after. The networking opportunity is not for the shyest person on your staff, put engaging team members in the booth. Take this opportunity to engage and ask questions, listen and take notes for follow up later. Cross-selling to current customers creates loyalty and brings up your sales percentages with less effort. Consider offering to do a presentation if they are doing educational breakout seminars.

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Establish your brand and value proposition
Tradeshows are a great opportunity to explore and present your unique value proposition, finding ways to stand out from your competition. Sometimes your buyer may have preconceived ideas on what you offer. I can’t tell you how many times we are asked if we print business cards. It seems so obvious to me right? But your customers may not be aware, truly, aware of all of your offerings. Have your booth design and marketing materials match your professionalism message. Have a range of handouts that can meet the level of interest, such as presentation folders packed with information, or such as sell sheets to specific items. I feel that handing these out at the show is much more valuable than sending them out later, you lose the moment of impact.

Collect data
Yep, you are there to collect contacts. That is the number one reason you are there. It is extremely important to have a door prize drawing to collect information about your prospects. This drawing slip should have several key elements on it: 1). mention you are not going to spam or sell your contact info, and 2). that them filling out this form gives you permission to contact them via email, direct mail and/or phone. This allows you to know how serious your prospects are. I use these drawing forms to help "rate" the prospects, so you can prioritize you’re follow up efforts. Yes, you can gather the list of event attendees from the organizer, however, if you do this yourself, you can really streamline your efforts for following up.

The truth comes home in the follow-up.
80% of tradeshow vendors do not follow up with their leads. This statistic is shocking to me. Why even bother, with the cost, time and effort and not follow up. This is the #1 reason why tradeshows fail. It is not the Host of the tradeshow, it is the lack of effort with the vendor.

Print & Copy Factory offers so many great things to help with all of these aspects for helping your tradeshow be powerful! With the data collected, we can help you send out marketing materials, pre-invites, create your handouts and provide promotional impact. We want you to be successful and are your partner in providing these services to streamline your efforts.

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Becky Raney, COO
and our fantastic Print & Copy Factory Staff!

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