5 Tips to Boost Trade Show ROI

Estevan Palomino

Trade shows contain an extensive amount of opportunities to increase your company and product’s exposure.  Whether you’re attempting to expand visibility within your respective industry, woo potential customers, make face with industry leaders, or interact with press to generate media coverage, trade shows serve as a strong platform for you to accomplish these goals and many more you and your company may set.

More often than not, trade show exhibitors have no idea as to how to fully take advantage of the X amount of dollars spent to participate in the event. When coordinated and executed properly, trade shows have the highest potential to generate major ROI from your company’s PR budget.  Planning your trade show strategy with some proper guidance will allow for a satisfactory experience again and again.

Here are 5 tips to take full advantage of your participation at your next upcoming show and boost trade show ROI:

  • Take advantage of the available resources. Take the time to research what is available to you. Most trade shows have an extensive amount of free (kind of, you paid for them :)) promotional tools that are available for your use. These tools may consist of a pressroom, an inclusion in a pre-show and/or post-show press release, a place on the show’s home page, and the most popular/beneficial item – a press list. Having a copy of this list will give you a glimpse into the potential media attendance at the show. Be sure to check with the trade show organizers weekly for a press list, as the media attendance tends to change frequently.
  • Secure a speaking opportunity. Speaking engagements are often open for application as early as a full year before the show, so reach out in advance to the organizers about the possibility of participating. This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise in the subject matter you specialize in. Bringing new and compelling ideas to industry events is the best way to showcase yourself as a thought leader and place your business on the map as an innovator.
  • Engage with media at the show. An easy way to go about this is by checking out the press list. Using this list as a starting point will allow for you to properly plan for the different encounters you may have during your time at the show. The press list will enable you to hone in on the proper media targets for any product launches or upcoming developments within your business that you would like to discuss. Remember, media are your friend, so do your research on your top targets prior to the show. Keep in mind that they love to talk about other things besides your latest and greatest product/service, too. Whether it is talking about your business or discussing industry ideas, interacting with media will only benefit you in the long run.
  • Don’t limit your engagement to just media. Be sure to interact with other vendors! Start out by scoping out the attendees on the exhibitor list. Vendor relations can be just as valuable as media relations. Who knows what kind of leads you might generate via friendly conversation? Engagement isn’t only limited to things going on at the show, after parties are also a great way to meet other industry professionals as well as casually talk with media. If you don’t have any plans for the evening, ask others what they will be up to, there is likely a chance to chat over cocktails and h’orderves post-show.
  • Once prepared, get ready to enjoy the experience. Okay, there has been months of preparation for this show – have confidence! You and I both know that you are ready for the big week. You’ve taken advantage of all the resources that are available to you and now you’re ready to engage. Take the time to step back and take a deep breath before you head in. The massive amounts of people and hectic schedule for the week can at times seem overwhelming, but remember, you are PREPARED. Trade shows are meant to be fun; they are what you make of it and what you put in to them. With the proper preparation, you are going to kill this week.

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