After a difficult 2020, in-person tradeshows are finally picking back up again for 2021, and companies need to be ready. There are plenty of questions still up in the air: How will they be the same? How will they be different? What will they look like? And, most importantly: how do you need to prepare?
Industry experts already are pointing to the importance of getting tradeshows – and the in-person interactions they provide – back up and running. Forbes notes that tradeshows are crucial for driving three areas of sales: keeping existing customers, convincing competitors’ customers to switch over, and attracting brand-new customers. The ability to set up many meetings in a short time span and one location is a major benefit to tradeshows, and it’s important to be prepared with all the materials you need to stand out from the crowd!
It’s still not completely clear what tradeshows will look like as they return this year. While most areas have lifted restrictions on gatherings like conventions and tradeshows, it’s likely that there will still be some precautions taken – things like more space between booths or other mitigating factors to manage crowds as we transition out of the pandemic era. In terms of marketing, however, the overall feel should be pretty similar to what we’re used to from the “before times,” and your company will be one of many that will be trying to use tradeshows as a platform from which to rebound from the challenges and disappointments of 2020 – so preparation is key!
Think about preparing for tradeshows in two major segments that coordinate with each other: setting up your booth itself, and preparing for what happens next. Before heading to a tradeshow, it’s important to have a strategy in place and to have an idea of what your company is hoping to achieve with its presence. Questions like the following might be a good place to start:
- What audience(s) are we hoping to reach? Who is our ideal client?
- What strategies work best to attract those audience segments?
- What needs are we filling for clients? How can we best communicate that?
- What outcomes are we hoping for? Are there any specific, measurable benchmarks?
- How do we plan to follow up after the tradeshow?
Remember, tradeshows aren’t just about the conversations you have at the actual booth on the floor – they’re about developing connections and setting up later, one-on-one meetings to show individual leads why they should choose your company. Before you head out to the tradeshow circuit, be sure to have a robust follow-up plan to capitalize on the great impression you make at the show itself!
When it comes to designing and filling your booth, start with a checklist of must-have items for your tradeshow setup – the things that draw attention and present your brand the most clearly and effectively to attendees. These might include:
- Banner stands
- Branded booth furniture (tables, chairs, backdrops, etc.)
- A variety of signage
- Tabletop displays
- Standup displays
Then, consider what branded promotional items and giveaways are the right fit for your booth. Be sure to choose items that are truly useful and non-cluttery, associating your brand with being helpful and anticipating needs. Popular options might include:
- Tote bags
- Water bottles/tumblers
- Multi-port charging cables
- Writing utensils
- Flavored lip balm
When it comes to putting together a plan for tradeshows, Priority Graphics can help every step of the way! With equal parts creativity and strategy, you’ll be ready to make your brand stand out at every event you attend.