“Expo”se Yourself: Preparing for a trade show
Exhibiting at a trade show can be feast or famine for a company. The costs associated with trade shows demand a return on investment. Calvert Creative’s experience at the recent 2012 Raleigh Chamber Business Expo provides several strategies to help you prepare for your next event. Our booth garnered 25 appointments with prospective clients.
Pre-event marketing was important to us as a marketing company. We wanted every vendor there to notice us. We accomplished this by offering a special $49 email campaign to each vendor. The campaign would consist of an email sent to all of their contacts, inviting them to the expo and their booth.
Equally important was that our current clients knew we were exhibiting. A personal email invited them to the expo and to visit us at our booth. Additionally, we used Twitter and Facebook to promote the trade show and our presence there. We retweeted and followed anyone tweeting about the expo.
Exhibiting at a trade show is done to generate leads. Our goal was to have multiple connecting points. We created three distinct experiences within our display to appeal to different types of personalities. The first was for the “Drive-By” attendee, the person who walks by looking for free stuff and drops a card in a fishbowl for a potential prize. It was effective for collecting information, but not for starting a relationship or conversation.
The second experience was for the “Adventurous” attendee. We built a Yahtzee table and our dice were large cubes sided in social media icons. The scorecard provided information about our services. We accomplished several things through this. When someone rolled a Yahtzee, everyone in the exhibit hall knew it because of the accompanying shouts of excitement. This drew more attention to the game, more eyes on Calvert Creative, and created a conversation space for asking about the marketing needs of those playing and watching the game.
Our final experience in the booth was a photography studio. We invited a professional photographer to take headshots for attendees’ social media profiles. While creating a fun atmosphere, it also created another conversation space to learn about the marketing needs of potential clients. Our booth became a destination point. The photographer was very warm to those having pictures made, thus, people left feeling good about themselves and Calvert Creative. We captured contact information on each person having their picture made, generating leads for both Calvert and the photographer. We are still driving traffic to our website through a link where visitors can download their pictures for free.
This trade show had an emphasis on start up companies. We knew that many other start-ups would have their eyes on the trade show, therefore we hosted a Start-Up Mixer after hours. By “selling” free tickets we were able to meet a number of these entrepreneurs who did not attend the trade show, but wanted a place to connect with one another. The mixer sold out well in advance. An added bonus is that we were able to hold this event for free. A new venue seeking exposure, located one block from the convention center, provided a free, and beautiful space for the mixer. A local brewing company, wanting to be associated with young startups, provided free beer for the mixer. Our ticket list provided additional leads.
Cost and effectiveness were important factors to balance with our participation in the business exposition. By building our own booth we saved a great deal of money and created the image we wanted. By being minimalistic and creative, our display was a draw and an example of our creative capacity. Participation in the trade show was worth far more than the investment because we were able to generate numerous leads through multiple points of contact.
We want to help our clients stand out from the prefab booths with clichéd giveaways. Your creative campaign could be next—contact us today to get started!