Avoid these 5 mistakes with your exhibit marketing
Trade show marketing is a valuable way to grow your business. However, if you’re new to exhibit marketing, a lot can go awry. Whether you forget to order print materials or someone trips and tears down your display, trade shows are a little unpredictable.
Marketers can’t plan for everything. But you can do a little advance planning to make your trade show marketing easier and more effective.
The key is to avoid these common trade show marketing mistakes.
The 5 most common trade show marketing mistakes
1. Going in blind to the competition
You’re preoccupied with shipping your trade show booth, promoting the event, planning your giveaways, and arranging for travel. Instead of focusing solely on promoting your brand for the trade show, you also need to size up the competition.
Who else is exhibiting at the conference? What booths will be next to yours?
Snag a copy of the exhibit hall map to find out. This will inform what, exactly, you can do to stand out from the pack. For example, if the companies next to you have amazing lights displays and interactive games, a simple booth might not cut it.
You can sneak a peek at your competitors’ booth by looking at their social media. There’s a chance they will update their booth for this event, but you can get a general idea of their trade show marketing philosophy this way.
2. Not building excitement beforehand
You can’t suddenly start promoting a trade show two weeks in advance. Think about it: if people wanted to see you at the conference, they would need to buy tickets and book travel months in advance.
You need to start building excitement a minimum of three months before the event. The easiest way to do this is to post on social media using the event hashtag and emailing event attendees (you can usually get a list of email addresses from the conference organizer).
To build even more excitement, host a giveaway or free downloads leading up to the conference.
3. Forgetting the follow-up
Marketers meet a lot of great people at trade shows. You exchange business cards with contacts after chatting, with the hope that you’ll continue the conversation after the conference.
But more often than not, brands don’t follow up with event attendees. Or, if they do, it’s through a generic email blast.
Instead, add all of your conference contacts to your CRM (customer relationship management) platform or to-do app. Reply to each contact personally, referencing your earlier conversation. You should, at minimum, reply to them one week after the conference.
4. No online presence
When you’re at a trade show, people need to know loud and clear where you are. During the trade show, post on social at least once an hour. Be sure to include engaging media like images, photos, and hashtags.
Implement a strategy to get attendees to snap photos at your booth. Some companies cleverly create an adorable mascot for their booth. It sounds gimmicky, but attendees line up to take photos with interesting or cute mascots.
5. Using the same design over and over
This is especially dangerous if you sell in a niche industry. You don’t want attendees to see the same booth from you year after year. It’s one thing to have a consistent brand message and appearance, but that doesn’t mean you should reuse the same trade show booth for years.
The trick to exhibit marketing is getting people’s attention. If they’ve grown accustomed to your booth design over time, they’re more likely to tune you out because it’s not exciting or new.
Refresh your trade show booth at least every two years to keep things fresh and interesting. Display America can help you crank out a quality display in time for your next trade show.
The bottom line
Exhibit marketing mistakes are common. It’s hectic and stressful to plan a trade show booth exhibit—things are bound to fall through the cracks now and then.
The good news is that you can avoid as many mistakes as possible by following these best practices. Get the most ROI possible from your exhibit marketing through flawless execution.
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