If you haven’t started your trade show planning for the year, now is the time. Below you’ll find dates and links for some of the best conferences and expos coming up in Houston for 2018. From healthcare to petrochemical and small business to retail, there are hundreds of opportunities to grow your leads list. Develop long-lasting relationships and establish a strong presence in your space with these tips you must not overlook.
We’ve personally learned a few things about having a successful trade show outcome, and have seen mistakes made over and over. So, we decided to share the top 5 powerful trade show tips that have made a big difference in our exhibiting results. Hopefully they’ll help you too.
- Failure to Define – Amid all the activities surrounding planning your participation at an expo the extremely important one of identifying your target market somehow seems to be forgotten. Yes, a cool booth and giveaways are going to attract attention. But, are they attracting the right people? Defining your audience is the first thing you should do before designing any marketing piece. Also keep in mind that not all pieces may work for every trade show as they each have unique attendees.
Questions to ask yourself;
- Who is my client? Who is the decision maker?
- In what capacity will they be participating?
- What is the best environment I can create to get the most out of the time I have with each prospect?
- Which keywords and visuals will resonate with their needs?
- What value can I provide that offers instant engagement?
- Maximize Reach – expo organizers are beginning to incorporate social media during their events, but many still have not caught on to the benefits. Find out if there’s a hashtag for the conference. Engage with the followers before, during and after. Keep in mind, those followers are likely other exhibitors and attendees that you didn’t get a chance to meet. Connect with them on social media and begin building a relationship. If there isn’t a hashtag or Facebook page, then create one yourself and promote via an email campaign, at your booth, or ask the conference organizer to begin using your hashtag. You have everything to gain by doing so. In addition, organizers would most likely love the idea because it’ll promote their event and increase their reach.
- Promotions that live on – OK, yes cookies and candies are a hit. I know. Everyone stops by and grabs one or comes back for seconds. But, really, how many of those people take the time to talk to you or your sales staff? To maximize your return on these costly events, you must find a way to extend your brand recognition with promotional items that have a higher chance of living on your lead’s desk. Of course, you can make it something unique representing your brand, but make it memorable and with a high usability factor.
Another great tip is to use prizes to collect contact information and engage passers-by in conversation. Maybe setup a few iPads or laptops that will send your leads an industry specific white paper. You could offer them an exclusive invitation to an event you’re hosting in exchange for their email and phone number. Keep it simple, more than likely the show coordinator has promised you a list (unless they’re selling it), either way definitely get contact information. Absolutely make the personal connection and ask for their best contact email and phone number so you can reach them in the future.
- Toss the table – I cannot believe that after all these years people are still standing behind a table in their booth. Seriously? With as much as you’re investing in your booth, travel costs, per diem, etc., you’d better make the most of your time there. Remove any barrier that will deter anyone from approaching you. Open your space up to welcome them in. This is your chance to shine and interact because after visiting hundreds of other booths, yours may be forgotten. And, forget trying to call your leads a few days later to say “Hello, I was the one behind the table with the laptop presentation.” You and practically every other company there. Do yourself a favor, get rid of that table and bring people into your space. The more comfortable you make them feel the longer they will stay resulting in a stronger connection, turning that follow up call into a warm lead.
- Get professional – Nothing says, “do business with me” like a brochure printed on a DIY template or a banner that will hang in front of the table that you shouldn’t be standing behind. Invest in your business. Do the math. Figure out how many leads and future sales you will get from each show, then figure out the ROI you expect. From there you develop a budget that should be allocated to the biggest impact items. Think about phasing out your projects, maybe you plan on attending several shows throughout the year. Build out your booth in pieces over time. But you must invest in your brand, especially when you have identified that your target client is the CEO or President of the company. How are they approached? What will make them stop in their tracks? Is it 3D animation of your newest technology? Or a 2-3 minutes explainer video showing their biggest struggles and you solve them? What if you have them interact with your product on a one-page website you created specifically for the show?
And alright, you guessed it, we provide these services. However, you don’t have to use us (yes you do), but seriously…please use a professional firm. Although, we hope to at get a chance to impress you with professional graphic design or create outstanding marketing pieces like explainer videos, a unique logo and brochures. Graphic design for your booth, pop ups or banner stands make a lasting impact as well. Don’t forget that your website must also be updated. You should be collecting email addresses along with launching an email and social media campaign to promote your attendance at each show. You’ve got to make it exciting and worthwhile for them to attend, give them a reason to visit you at the expo, provide them with value and solutions. We have the expertise to help make that happen, so contact us for a meeting to discuss your goals.
Upcoming 2018 Trade Shows
Feb 10-15 SPIE Medical Imaging Conference
Mar 6-8 World of Asphalt
Mar 14 Energy Marketing Conference
Mar 19-23 Annual World Petrochemical Conference
Mar 22-23 HIPAA Security 2018 and Beyond
Apr 30–May 3 Offshore Technology Conference
June 6-7 Techspo Houston 2018 Technology Expo
Jun 26-27 Pump Summit Americas
Sep 11-18 Pipeline Week Conference & Exhibition
Oct 25 Gas Processing Conference
Dec 13 The Small Business Expo