There is very little more soul destroying than returning home from a trade show painfully aware of the fact that all you have done is wasted precious time and money. Standing a trade show isn’t cheap and when you factor in the day itself, the advance planning and the work you have to do afterwards, it can be an incredibly time-consuming endeavour as well. Suffice to say, therefore it is of the utmost importance to make sure you get it right the first time or you will become another tragic statistic wishing you hadn’t bothered in the first place.
The good news however is that for those getting it right, a trade show represents a uniquely powerful and potential-filled business opportunity. There’s really nowhere else you can hope to gain the attention of so many people from a very specific target audience. The fact that they are there confirms that they are interested in what you do which means that every attendee is a truly priceless prospect. As such, all you have to do is win their attention and outshine the competition… Which can of course be easier said than done.
So with this in mind, what follows is a quick introduction to some of the most common and potentially costly mistakes anyone looking to stand a trade show can, but clearly shouldn’t, make:
Overlooking the Importance of Location
First of all, the location you choose for your stand can and will have a huge impact on your success or otherwise during the event. It is therefore crucial to carefully study the event venue and the way in which it will be organised on the day. What matters more than anything else is choosing a location where you are guaranteed plenty of foot traffic in order to capture the attention of those who may not know you are there. Or in other words, it needs to be easy to find you by accident, rather than only being able to find you by knowing where you are.
Not Playing Nice with Neighbours
It can of course be intimidating to know that you are surrounded by dozens or even hundreds of your closest rivals – all of whom are looking to in some way steal your business. Nevertheless, you will never get anywhere at a trade show if you are not willing to play nice with your neighbours and be as sociable and cooperative as possible. The reason being that there will always be things that you can offer and they cannot and the same is true in reverse. So if you would like your fellow businesses to direct customers your way if and when such a scenario occurs, it’s important to make sure you are in good relations with them. By contrast, rub them up the wrong way and chances are they will go out of their way to make your life difficult.
Cutting Corners on Display Stand Quality
When it comes to the display stands you used to advertise your brand and generally pull in the punters, there is no such thing as going too far with things like quality and design. The less time and effort you invest in the creation of genuinely impressive signs, the lower your chances of winning over your target audience. From poorly conceived designs to lacklustre hardware to a generally messy and unattractive stand, never forget that this is the first impression most will gain with regard to your business and is thus the most important of all.
Not Having a Goal in Mind
It is absolutely impossible to reach a goal if you do not already have a goal in mind. Think of it a little like trying to reach a destination when you haven’t yet decided where you are going…suffice to say you are guaranteed to get lost along the way. At a trade show, you need to know what it is you want in order to then decide how you plan to go about getting it. You might be there for the purposes of making sales, it might be more important to you to increase your database of contacts or you could simply be promoting a special offer. Whatever the reason, the goal you set will determine exactly what you need to do and how you need to do it in order to be successful.
Using Less Than Ideal Staff
Last but not least, never forget that the staff you use to represent your brand at any given trade show will also contribute to that all-important first impression. As such, if you choose to use casual weekend staff who clearly have no real interest in the business and are only doing this to earn extra money, chances are they will not give the ideal first impression for those you are trying to win over.