Several tips to ensure that you make the most of your tradeshow sponsorships.
Sponsoring tradeshows are a part of a lot of company’s marketing plans for great reasons- they are perfect places to meet new people, network with others in your industry, generate new leads, increase brand awareness, and drive more sales.
Sponsoring events is beneficial.
Just showing up with some company swag is not.
To ensure your sponsorship is successful, it all comes down to preparation - and I’m not talking about preparing a month beforehand. Planning for a trade show can take anywhere from 6 months to a year if you want to do it well and strategically. Here are some tips I have found help ensure you are fully prepared so you can get the most out of your sponsorship:
Before you even sign up to sponsor the show, think about the outcomes you want from sponsoring to create your goals. Then make sure those goals fit in with your overall marketing objectives to determine if the event will help you get there.
I mentioned above that you should start planning early, but planning for a tradeshow entails way more than creating logistical checklist (although this is part of it)! Once you’ve determined that this event is in line with your marketing objective and you’ve created your goals - decide what your strategy and messaging is for the event so you make sure it relates back to your goals and will help you meet them.
With the messaging in hand, our marketing team then sits down and discusses what our theme is for the show, how everything ties together and what needs to be done ahead of time. We create an event strategy brief that really helps keep everything together, organized, and aligned with our goals. This is then easy to email out to everyone attending the conference from our company so they can be aligned with what we’re trying to accomplish.
The goal of your tradeshow booth should be to get peoples’ attention. You don’t need to explain every single thing your company does on the booth itself. Come up with a clear, concise, and memorable message and theme so when someone walks by they will immediately know what your company is about and want to stop and talk to you.
The biggest tip I have here is to invest in a design expert to help with booth design. Your booth is your brand at the event and you don’t want it to end up looking like a middle school science fair exhibit. We use a design firm to create a booth design that has modern, eye catching, and professional visuals.
Our design firm’s founder, Lee Salisbury recently shared his inisght with Inc. saying,
we’re all attracted to great design, whether we know it or not. At trade shows and conventions, it’s easy to have everything blend together visually. Make sure you have a booth that stands apart from the competition – using design as a differentiator. Hire a group whose work you love and doesn’t specialize in exhibit design to get the best results.
The location of where your booth is located is also key. Try to get near an entrance so people are forced to walk by. Or get next to the bar or food stations.
Let prospects know you will be there and what you have to offer beforehand- use social media, send out emails to your customers, and have your Sales Reps spread the word. You can’t expect people to line up to see you at your booth if you haven’t let them know you will be there and what you’re offering.
You can have a great looking booth, awesome giveaways, and thoughtful premarketing, but if your staff is not prepared, all of that is a waste. Your staff needs to be informed about your overall goals and strategy for the event, any special offers you are giving out, and what your messaging is.
They also need to know how to work the booth:
Most events make it easy to connect with customers, colleagues, and leads online by using whatever hashtag they set up. People love talking about what they’re doing and the things they’re learning at conferences. The conversation is already happening, so make sure to get involved in it. Share pictures. Give tips. Answer questions when they come up. Make sure to monitor the hashtag before the actual event as well because people will be looking when they’re registering, when they’re picking sessions and when they are prepping too.
You come back from a tradeshow with a pile of leads…. now what? Don’t be tempted to start mass emailing these leads with generic messages. Take some time to think through how you want to follow-up. Here are some tips:
At Qonnections, Analytics8 and QlikMaps will be presenting sessions, demoing our products and answering questions at our booth, and getting meet as many people as we can. If you're planning on attending Qonnections, here are some tips to help you make the most of the conference.