Whether you’ve grown up attending trade shows your whole life or haven’t experienced a single one, putting on a trade show of your own is a lot more challenging than it appears to be. With everything from coordinating whom to hire to finalizing displays, the planning alone may feel a bit overwhelming. Luckily, learning from the mistakes of others is one of the best ways to get on top of your game. If you’re not sure how to make your tradeshow an absolute hit, take care to avoid these four common trade show mistakes:
One of the most common mistakes that people make is that they either choose the first trade show they see that’s somewhat related to what they do or they sign up for every show on the list. When mapping out which trade shows to attend, remember: quality is always better than quantity. Sure, any show can help you stand out, but you probably won’t have much success getting people interested in your custom BBQ sauce if it’s a trade show focused on improving the environment.
The same goes for attending the biggest and most popular tradeshows. If your company is on the small side, a top trade show could get your name out there. However, your name could also get lost among the big box companies. Before choosing the first trade show that pops up, research which other companies are attending. You want to make sure the trade show is going to directly help your business goals and not waste your time and resources.
The people manning your booth are responsible for not only selling your product but also for representing your brand. Whom you choose will directly impact how successful your trade show experience is. One of the best ways to make sure that someone will represent your brand well is by choosing someone who knows a lot about your business/product – and truly believes in it.
A common mistake that most people make when hiring people to represent their company is that they simply go with the people with good communication skills. Although communication is very important, finding someone who loves your business/product ensures their pitch won’t sound fake or rehearsed. In a place where everyone is trying to sell, authenticity will go a long way and help you stand out from the others.
Building relationships with customers is a big part of running a business – but keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to get people to believe in your product. It’s easy to get caught up in creating relationships with consumers, and it’s not necessarily a waste of time; just make sure those relationships include your products or service. At the end of the day, the consumer should feel a genuine connection with the company as a whole.
Another big mistake in preparing for a trade show is failing to make a concrete goal. Whether it’s setting a number for the email addresses retrieved or reaching a certain number of social media follows, deciding on a clear goal is a critical component of having a successful trade show. Simply setting a vague goal such as “increasing customer base” or “improving brand awareness” without attaching measurable metrics to it is not very effective.
Having a specific, concrete goal will not only motivate the company to strive for an actual number but also allow you to target certain areas in your business model that you want to improve. For example, if there’s a lack of awareness about the function of the product, it would be a good goal to have a certain increase of viewers on your YouTube channel for demos. That way, your goal can help tackle the root of the problem. The data you collect during the show will determine what was accomplished – and what to work on improving for your next show.
When it comes to having a successful trade show, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. However, by coming in fully armed with a good sense of what to do and what not to do, you’re setting yourself up for success. Now that trade show planners know what not to do, you’re already one step ahead of the game.