Exhibiting isn't an exact science. Every industry and every trade show is unique. But even with all of the variations, there are a few key must-haves any exhibitor should never be without:
1. Pre-Show Buzz... Before the event, take some time to get the word out about your expected presence. Use your own marketing outlets as well as the trade show's site to promote your attendance.
2. Killer Booth... Your set-up has to be eye-catching, welcoming and visually appealing. Don't overcrowd your display, but don't be stingy either. Find the balance and build a booth that will stand out from the rest.
3. Perfect Staff... Choose a staff that can read the crowd. Some people are more receptive to a hard sell and some just want to have a conversation. Your staff needs to be able to instantly tell the difference and give them what they want. More on the importance of staffing...
4. Enticing Incentives... Sure your staff is out there drawing people in and your booth is absolutely beautiful, but for that little extra push give attendees more of an incentive to stop by your booth. Offer things like games and raffles with the opportunity to win prizes. Make it fun and spread the word.
5. Up-to-Date Technology... Don't fall behind the times. With all of the technology available today, there is no reason your company or organization shouldn't be up and running on social media posting updates throughout the event or engaging people with QR codes and mobile apps.
6. Fabulous Featured Products... People love going to trade shows for the hands-on experience and face-to-face interaction. Feature a good mix of products including the latest and greatest as well as historical best sellers.
7. Cameras... Keep a video camera at your booth for customer testimonials (or even just feedback). A still camera is also great for keeping followers updated on social media throughout the show. You can even show booth visitors product or service demos on your camera for things that were not practical to physically bring with you to the event.
8. Contact Capture... With so much traffic to your booth, having a plan in place for capturing leads is essential. Keep your contact list organized, but don't put it on display. You want the focus to be on your booth, not the list of names. And be sure to keep notes of conversations you've had with individuals to make your follow-up more memorable with references to those unique conversations.
9. Memorable Giveaways... Every exhibitor should be equipped with unique promotional products to send trade show attendees home with. Put your name, logo and even contact information on your giveaways so that people always remember you fondly.
10. Consistency... Across all of the above, make sure you are consistent in your branding and your message!