You exhibit at trade shows to be seen, meet your customers and if you are lucky walk away with a couple of decent prospects. Unfortunately, this is the status quo and many companies are either just fine with their results or have a difficult time breaking free from the routine. What many do not realize is that it is much easier to change than you think, with a dash of creativity and a little planning up front you can put yourself at the top of the list as the booth show attendee’s want to see.
It all starts well before the trade show begins, the correct pre-planning will map out your road to trade show success. To start, you will need to answer the following questions:
- What market is the show’s main focus?
- Is there a theme for the show?
- Are you featuring a new product or product line?
- Do you have any off-site functions planned?
Once these questions have been answered you can begin to develop your own theme to present at the show.With a theme in place you can now begin the process of developing your overall trade show experience.
Arguably, the most successful but least used (at least effectively) marketing technique is the pre-show mailer. While quite common to send an email or two about your presence at an upcoming show, this does little to entice or capture your customers and prospects attention. An effective pre-show mailer will incorporate at least one of the following marketing methods:
- Lumpy Mail – a mailing that contains an item that can be felt from the outside
- Mystery Marketing – a piece that needs to be revealed to discover or learn the message involved
- Treasure Map Marketing – a series of hints, clues or directions is given through single or multiple mailings leading the receiver on a learning journey with a goal or prize at the end
Using any one of these tactics will ensure the invitation to your booth will not only be read but will have a better than 50% chance of attaining your end result. The remaining goals of increased sales and bringing in new clients will depend on your follow up with the initial invitation and your follow thru once the recipient gets to your booth.
Just by sending a unique mailer you will already be ahead of 80% of your competition but you can expand upon this lead with additional attention. The best place to begin is with an e-mail alerting both your clients and prospects that you will have a booth at the show and to look for something “special” coming in the mail. This will act as your teaser e-mail; the less you put in this the better chance it will be read. The teaser email should be sent two weeks before the show and at least three days before sending the lumpy or mystery mail. As a side note, Monday tends to be the worst day to send indirect emails like this, save it for Tuesday or Wednesday.
Once the teaser e-mail has been sent it is time to get ready to send out your mail piece that was designed around your theme. Remember when putting together your mailing to place some thought on the delivery method. Many times how something is presented is remembered more than the actual piece inside. You will want to time the reception of the mailer based on the address of each recipient, the farther it has to go of course the earlier it will need to be sent.