Do You Expo?

For many entrepreneurs, trainers and speakers, having a booth at an event or a trade show is an excellent marketing and networking strategy. Yet I hear so many tell me they do not get their return on investment. Why? Perhaps they are not making the most of the opportunity. I have be doing booths at events, expos and trade shows for many years and have discovered many things that work and many things that don’t. Here are the top six strategies that you need to do to make sure that your booth is a success and that you get a good ROI.

1. Make sure that the event, expo or trade show reaches your target audience. You’d be surprised how many companies invest in a booth at an event without researching the market that the event is attracting. I did that several times early in my business and I spent a lot of money without the ROI.

2. Limit your offerings at your booth. Many times business owners want to share everything that they have. Remember, a confused mind can’t make a decision. Have you ever been to a restaurant and there are so many items on the menu that you can’t make a decision? There are so many things that look good and so your mind shuts down. Do you follow? Showcase your top 2-3 products or services for your target audience. Limit their choices. It will help them make a decision on how they want to work with you.

3. Add color and dimension to your booth and draw people in. Lay out a bright rug entering into your booth. Use colorful scarves and tablecloths that flow with your branding on your tables. Add some height by using an empty cardboard box covered with cloth to showcase a product. Have a bouquet of flowers at your booth or if that is too feminine, have a green plant at your booth. It can be a plant on a table or a silk floor plant behind your table. Have an essential oil diffuser or air freshener that is inviting to their sense of smell. Have music playing in the background. Give your booth a homey, welcoming feel to it. Don’t just think that your banner or logo will draw people in. You have to invite them in through the senses.

4. Give away something for free. A print out with helpful tips with your company info on it, stickers, candy, product samples, little toys, products with your info on them like pens, sticky pads, magnets. If they purchase something from you give them something fun for becoming a customer like a string of Mardi Gras beads, a cute little memento with your company logo or something else that makes them feel extra special (which means you have to have a purchasing system in place such as order forms, or a system to do credit card transactions).

5. Have a way to capture their information. Don’t just put out a jar with some forms and expect people to hand over their information.  Ain’t gonna happen! Also offering a free consultation or free estimate does not work either. You must give them something of real value. Have a drawing for a free product (be sure that it is of at least $50 or more).  Do a drawing for a gift certificate to a nice restaurant or store. Do a drawing for a gift basket or some other coveted item. You have to entice them to give up their information.  People don’t want to be bothered for meaningless stuff. Give them something of value for their information so that you can follow up with them.

6. Be sure to follow up within 48 hours after the event, even if it is just sending them an email thanking them for visiting your booth. You want to get your business name right back in front of them as soon as possible so that when you do call; your business name is fresh in their memory.

Getting a good ROI from an event takes some persistence and creativity and is definitely worth the effort. Can you imagine reaching thousands of people through these types of events that you wouldn’t be able to get in front of otherwise? Surely events, expos and tradeshows are superstar marketing strategies that could reap big rewards for your business if you take the time to follow the above steps.

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