Months of preparation have gone into the production of their booth, their staff arrived at the exhibit booth early to make sure everything looked professional, and they spoke to what seemed like hundreds of potential customers at the show itself.

So why haven’t you gotten more leads than if you had hired someone to hand out a brochure outside the showroom? The answer could have something to do with how you market your products or services.

There are a few key marketing solutions that could make a difference at your next exhibit and have you walk away with enough leads to carry on to your next exhibit.

Don’t trust the organizers to get people to your booth. Your marketing around an exhibition should focus on encouraging potential customers to come see you at the show so they can see your product and meet your staff.

Define your market
One of the first tasks is to research your target customer base. Go through your database and choose the clients you want to focus on. The next step is to determine your key messages and objectives and create an integrated campaign to communicate your key messages.

Target customers before the exhibition
Make them feel special by sending them a personal email inviting them to exhibit. Use this invitation to highlight special offers you will have at the show as part of your pre-event marketing.

Link marketing with a sales promotion
An effective way to build your customer database is to have visitors to your booth provide you with some basic information. As an incentive to complete the form, they can be entered into a drawing for a major prize or receive a small brand token. This relatively simple task allows you to attract, qualify and retain customers.

activity in the waiting area
This activity could be adapted to sales promotion, for example your promotion is to give away a car so you have the car on the stand and people can see what is on offer. Attendees always respond to a fun activity, so try a chocolate wheel that can be spun for a prize or game. Brochures can be handed out to people with their tickets inviting them to participate in your booth activity. Another alternative is for staff to hand out branded gifts, such as colored chocolates, candies, or sample bags.

Effective stand design
Keep your booth design simple with a range of graphics, media and new technology to showcase your product or message. Focus on one ‘hero’ product/service and center your marketing around it. Stay true to the theme by using invigorating colors and images, and if you can, place an element above the booth, such as a banner or spinning sign. This will draw exhibitors’ attention to your booth as soon as they walk through the door.

Sing from the same hymn sheet
Make sure everyone who works at your booth uses the same information. There’s nothing worse than two customers comparing notes over a drink only to discover that one got a completely different deal simply because they spoke to a different member of staff. Have a pre-show marketing plan in place, including show costs and offerings, and give it to everyone who works at the booth. Describe the final cost, not just percentage off or multi-sell discounts, in your booth plan and marketing collateral so your staff – and the customer – know exactly how much they’ll save by shopping at the show.

Track your prospects
Finally, once you’ve packed up your booth and your feet have recovered from the exhibition, it’s important to keep track of your leads. Contact your potential and existing customers by email, letter, phone or in person and reinforce display offers to remind them.