Whether you’re in process of planning your fall trade shows, are considering if a trade show is worth your time and investment, or have already determined that trade shows are not for you, consider the statistics below.  These statistics are from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), as identified in ThomasNet News’ Industry Marketing Trends article How Trade Shows Can Boost Your Business, where Ilya Leybovich states:

70% [of trade show attendees] plan to buy one or more products.  On average, 76% of attendees ask for quotes and 26% end up signing purchase orders.  72% of visitors say the show itself influences their buying decisions.

Should You Participate in a Fall Trade Show

Leybovich discusses that if selling to one, two or three people will pay for a trade show, you should be there displaying your goods and services.  A well-planned exhibit provides an avenue for direct sales.  Think of your exhibition booths as a mini storefront where you can interact with a multitude of prospects.  But keep in mind that your benefit does not end when the trade show ends.  In fact, a well thought out strategy will result in benefits long after the end of the show. Here are some ways you can continue to capitalize on the trade show:

  • Impressed attendees will tell others about your products/services.
  • Use images from your booth on your website and social media channels.
  • Use the opportunity to gain knowledge about your competitors.
  • Think beyond immediate sales and focus on long-term clients.
  • Build your direct marketing and email marketing list for continued engagement.
  • Build your reputation and brand awareness.


Strategizing for a Successful Trade Show

Now that we’ve pointed out a few of the long-term benefits of exhibiting at a trade show, let’s talk about how to execute a successful show.  It all starts and ends with a strategy.  Here are 10 points to be sure to keep in mind when developing your strategy and action plan:

  1. Do your research and find an appropriate show.  TSSN is a great resource.
  2. Think, plan and strategize.  The details do matter!
  3. Have a give-away and promote it well in advance of the show.
  4. How are you going to capture email/contact information?
  5. Have a social media plan in place for before, during and after the show.
  6. Have a system for ranking your leads.  Gather more than just a name.  Identify ahead of time what action steps you will take on each type of lead/prospect.
  7. When ordering promotional items and marketing materials, give yourself AND your vendors enough time (or you will pay more for a rush order).
  8. Make sure you have enough marketing materials – that includes business cards.
  9. Are you banners and signs up-to-date with your branding?
  10. Put your plan in writing and execute all aspects.  Outsource time critical tasks if necessary.


Now is the time

Fall trade shows are upon us and NOW is the time to plan.  Make a plan and execute it through the end.  That’s through the end of your strategic plan, which should date beyond the end date of the trade show.

Need help putting together and executing a trade show plan?  The Edmiston Group can help you facilitate your trade show strategy with our comprehensive trade show packages.  Contact Autumn Edmiston at 724-612-0755 for details.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group.  The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis.  Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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