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Published on October 26th, 2006 | by Janine Popick


7 Tips to Maximize Your Event/Tradeshow Spend

Dsc00742We've had a few tradeshows the past few weeks and boy are we tired. But I was reflecting on how to do things better and it occurred to me that there are some things we could improve on for the tradeshow season next year. If you have a booth at a tradeshow or an event you might get a few ideas here.

Here are 7 tips on how to maximize your time and hopefully your spend.

1)  Email Your Prospects in Advance – If you've got a local show and you know you've collected information from prospects in the area, send them an email marketing campaign inviting them by your booth or table. They may not even know about the tradeshow and why it might benefit them.

2)  Offer Incentives
– My team knows I'm not a big fan of giveaways to get anyone to engage and talk to you. (There is one guy who comes to every trade show because he collects "logo'd ball-point pens". Wow.) But if you've identified prospects you want to get to your booth and you email them or call them you might want to offer them an incentive like "Come by booth #123 to pick up your free gift!". Then get some face-to-face with them to talk about your product or service.

3)  Get the Attendee List
- Many tradeshows will give or sell you the list of attendees with postal addresses (most won't include email addresses). Why not do a direct mail piece WELL in advance inviting them to your booth? (Don't have it arrive after, sounds simple but I just got a ton of direct mail invitations for last week's tradeshow. Ouch.) If there are phone numbers on the list, give them a call to follow up on the postcard you've sent.

4)  Visit Your Neighbors
– More often than you think your neighbors could be your best customers or partners. Take advantage of any lulls in traffic at a show and visit them. Why stand around a booth talking to your colleague? Time is of the essence. Take it to the streets and deploy people to do this if you can. We could certainly focus on this a bit more.

5)  Visit a Session
– If there is a session you can go to that has anything to do with what you offer, go to it. Listen, learn, and potentially get prospects that are sitting right around you to visit you at the booth.

6)  Wear Your Colors
– Make sure you represent your business. Wear a visibly identifiable logo'd shirt. Someone could easily stop you to ask you what you do while you are away from your booth.

7)  Invest in the Lead Retrieval
– I've learned a lesson or two from being too cheap. It's a good idea to rent one of the lead scanners if the show offers one. A few hundy sounds expensive, but think of the revenue you may lose by the one prospect you could have captured and converted. You'll get a pipeline of people you can communicate with when you scan their badges. Plus, if they don't have any business cards for them it's easier too.

Our tradeshow season is over for now, we'll work on deploying this stuff for next year. All in all team VR did a fantastic job and we did have a few great shows. There's always room for improvement for anyone, right?

Oh, check out WorkZ, there are a bunch of other articles on Tradeshows mostly by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach author: “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies”.

Any more ideas on how to work a tradeshow? Let's hear them!

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.

One Response to 7 Tips to Maximize Your Event/Tradeshow Spend

  1. Alistair says:

    Very good advice in the main.
    Just a comment about no.3. In UK (and whole of Europe, I think) we have what is called Data Protection.
    Any organisation which stores personal details must join a register (called Data Protection Register). I am a SOHO and still have to join.
    This means that, for any organisation, if they gave away personal details like names, addresses, etc. – this would be deemed illegal in the extreme.
    An organisation giving away personal details would risk a very hefty fine (thousands of euros) and be struck off the register.
    So I urge anyone to check regulations before following the advice in point 3.
    Identity fraud is a big problem – don’t make it easy.

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