Exhibiting at a trade show? As an exhibitor, chances are you’ve already gotten the word from corporate. Money is tight and budgets everywhere are being re-examined. In this climate, your marketing dollars must work overtime before, during, and after trade shows to ensure you receive full value for your trade-show investment.
For almost two decades, my company has provided hospitality services, in the form of coffee bars and corporate cafés, to exhibitors at trade shows from Boston to Honolulu. We’ve determined there are generally four steps involved in profitable trade show participation. We’ve witnessed, first hand, how you, as an exhibitor, can attract folks to your booth. Of course, we think the key to success involves large quantities of freshly brewed caffeine heaven in a cup, don’t you?
Steps to success as an exhibitor
1. Identify your most valuable clients and prospects.
2. Create a magnet to attract and retain visitors at your booth or exhibit.
3. Promote your draw in advance.
4. Follow-up after the event.
Step 1 Identify the right visitors
Success comes from identifying qualified booth visitors before the trade show.Your most valuable visitors typically fall into one of two categories:
• Qualified prospects, those who have previously expressed an interest in your products or services.
• Past customers and clients—those who have previously purchased from you.
Action Step Identify the 100, 500, or 1,000 clients and prospects you most want to spend time with. Create a separate database containing their names and contact information.
Step 2 Create a visitor “magnet”
Ask yourself: “Why should trade show attendees visit your exhibit booth?” Consider your trade show exhibit from your prospect’s point of view. Although visitors obviously attend trade shows to learn about the latest products and services, once there, they are likely to become quickly fatigued by the crowds and the constant stimulus bombardment. As a result, your prospects and clients are looking for an oasis where they can—at least temporarily—relax and regroup. That’s why, for many clients, Espresso Dave’s Coffee Catering service has become an essential part of their corporate trade show programs, year after year.
A coffee bar, featuring hot, cold and frozen specialty coffee service, provides a magnet that attracts and retains trade show visitors. Attendees welcome a quality alternative to the long lines, high costs, and marginal beverage quality available in most venues. Espresso Dave’s attracts valuable visitors to your booth and keeps them around long enough to take in your message.
Keep in mind, not every coffee bar service is equal. The barista’s job is to warm up the customer with coffee, then the sales team takes over. When hiring, make sure the barista greets every person who comes by the booth in a warm manner, followed by a generous smile, and a “Sir, what can I get for you today, a cappuccino or espresso?” That’s how we do it and it opens a window of opportunity for your staff to build and strengthen relationships in even the most challenging environments.
Consider serving specialty coffee in mugs or cups featuring your logo, or take it one step further—accessorize your specialty coffee with Espresso Dave’s exclusive Beverage Toppers™. Your booth will certainly be the buzz of the show!
Action Step Call 888-221-9029 to find out how easy it is to use a specialty coffee service to attract and retain trade show visitors. We travel throughout the country.
Step 3 Promote your “magnet”
Promote your “magnet” to your most valuable clients and prospects starting well in advance of the trade show. Using your database, employ both traditional marketing techniques as well as social media. Consider employing direct mail, e-mail, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Flicker, Foursquare, Hashtags, Twubs Conferences, just to name a few.
“Using social media channels, ask your target market what they like. For example, if you were building your tradeshow theme around coffee, ask them about how they take their coffee or even make a game surrounding the theme. The bottom line is to engage them in conversation about their behavior while exciting them about your offering,” explains Jessica Levin, MBA, CMP, president and chief connector at Seven Degrees Communications. Levin’s website offers additional tips on how to use social media to attract prospects to your
As an exhibitor, make sure you create an attendance-building campaign—a series of communications that starts prior to the event and continues when you are on the exhibit show floor. A single e-mail, text, or tweet is not enough. Attendance will grow as you repeat your invitations.
Action Step Create a series of four to six communications promoting the location of your booth and the hot or cold beverages you will be offering. Be sure you include directions to your exhibit with each communication.
Step 4 Follow-up
What happens after the trade show is as important as what happens at the show. Always track those who visit your trade show booth and enjoy your hospitality. Follow-up using e-mail, letters, or telephone calls. This after-sale reinforcement will pay big dividends in both sales and visitors to your booth in future years.
Recommendation Track those who enjoyed your hospitality and follow-up by e-mail, tweet, phone, thank you cards or even a basket of fruit featuring your corporate logo!
For more information DM (@Espresso_Dave), e-mail, send in an online quote request or call Espresso Dave’s at 881-221-9029 and find out how we can help you make the most of your next trade show. Take advantage of our decades of experience at trade shows, large and small, around the country.
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