Trade show booths are one of the best direct contact systems with end consumers. The face to face meeting opportunity with customers can provide some excellent results provided you have a good communication strategy in place. Keep in mind that there are at least a hundred other advertisers at the same trade show vying for the attention of the consumer, you have a small window to make an impression on the persons mind. Here are some tried and tested strategies to implement to maximize your on-the-floor communication:
Be crisp: Don”t make the mistake of beating around the bush while communicating at the trade show either verbally or visually. No one has the time to listen to a sales person rambling on (and if someone does listen to long sermons at tradeshows, he probably has no where else to go to). You need put across your message selling the product or service in hand in a direct manner. Your booth display should have the message in readable format with meaningful graphics. Meaningless graphics are the biggest turn-offs for the trade show veteran.
For example, use graphics and text on the display which communicates directly about your products and services. Avoid using generic graphics. If you are not sure of what to put there, take professional help. It is also advised that you get display design done by professional agencies rather than in-house team. This may be a bit more expensive, but if you get a re-usable variety, the costs are going to be well justified.
Know the demographics: Most trade show organizers give information about last year”s demographics of visitors. These inputs can form an important ingredient in your communication strategy as you get to know the visitors before they visit your booth and prepare your pitch accordingly. Sometimes, it might also be a good idea to break the tradition and have a strategy which might not be so obvious. For example, if you most of the visitors are the serious management level people, you might like to feature a basketball loop on that trade booth to appeal to their playful mindset rather than a serious looking demo. Such a strategy can make you look different as well as have a great recall value. Your company also wins the image of being a fun company.
Don”t compromise on literature: Many organizations begin cost cutting measures at trade show by giving a low quality hand outs. People who frequent trade shows are recognize such companies from a distance. It is advised that you develop cost effective communication material especially for trade shows so that you can save costs without looking cheap. The disadvantage of cheap handouts is that though you can get the satisfaction of giving it out, no one is really going to read it much less file it for later reference.
Fish Bowl still works: Sometimes we may not be able to attend to each and every person who passes the trade show booth. The old fashioned “drop your visiting card in the fish bowl for a prize”, is still a good communication strategy. The value of contacts via the fish bowl, however, can only be determined by a strong follow up right after the exhibition.
The above mentioned strategies are not unique to any particular kind of trade show and can be implemented easily with any event, for any industry. There are of course a number of other strategies which work wonders in a trade show and we will surely cover it in our next article.