Trade shows are tremendous investments in both time and resources, so making sure you minimize mistakes and maximize your results is crucial. Below are five of the most common and costly trade show mistakes exhibitors make and how to avoid them.
Lack of Specified Goals
If someone were to ask you what you wanted to accomplish at your next trade show and you answered, “Increase sales” or “generate more leads,” you may be headed for trade show tribulation. While those goals are commendable, they lack specificity. When planning your trade show goals, you should define exactly what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it in a face-to-face marketing environment.
Pre-Show Planning Disorganization
The world of trade show and event marketing is ruled by detail and deadline-oriented marketers. All too often, novice exhibitors fail to properly organize and structure their pre-show planning, resulting in missed deadlines and last-minute fixes. To avoid mishaps, create a trade show timeline 90-days out from your event. Make sure to mark important deadlines as well as milestones you want to reach by specific dates.
Rushing Set Up and Dismantling
Your trade show booth is the centerpiece of your event marketing campaign, so making a booth-related mistake can spell trade show disaster. The majority of booth-related missteps occur during set up and dismantling. Exhibitors racing against deadlines often haphazardly set up their booths, leading to damaged or lost parts and blemished graphics. Taking the time to properly set up and dismantle your booth or hiring an experience installation and dismantle service will make assembling and repacking your booth safer and easier.
Failing to Set a Realistic Budget
Crafting a well-planned trade show budget is one of the most important pieces to the event marketing puzzle. With all of the commotion surrounding the planning for your event – such as designing a trade show display, creating marketing collateral or arranging travel – it can be easy to forget about the logistics involved in getting your booth materials to the show, moved into the event space and assembled. Overlooking ancillary costs associated with exhibiting such as shipping, drayage, booth storage and installation costs can really bust your budget.
Forgetting to Follow-Up with Collected Leads
Since trade shows are a big investment, you want to make sure you maximize your ROI. All too often, marketers forget to follow-up with the leads gathered on the trade show floor. After you and your team collect and organize leads at your show, you should reach out to the contacts within 48 hours after you get back to the office. By promptly following up with leads, you will increase the likelihood of closing sales and, in turn, increase your overall event marketing ROI.
By avoiding these five mistakes, you give yourself a greater opportunity to succeed at your next event. The trick to trade show success boils down to smart planning and preparation, especially when setting the event budget. Nimlok offers a budget worksheet template that accounts for well-known and little-known exhibiting costs, giving you greater transparency as you plan your event. Download this resource for free and start planning smart for your next event.