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Trade Shows

We've been assisting clients with their trade show promotions for years. We can help you develop a strategy to direct qualified attendees to your booth.

If you're still judging the success of your trade show by booth traffic alone, it's time to think again. You may be wasting time on unqualified or under-qualified individuals. Your most important objective should be reaching as many potential and current customers as possible in the time available. Arbitrarily increasing booth traffic can cause havoc at the booth and create an ineffective selling situation.

  Effective ways to target the right trade show audience:

  • Determine which companies and individuals you most want to visit your booth.
  • Select current customers, reps, dealers, and/or qualified prospects.
  • Prepare a pre-show mailing piece with a theme that reflects your objectives and supports the design and theme of the booth.
  • Follow-up with a second mailing or perhaps a fax or personal phone call.

Increase your response rate with pre-show planning. As part of your pre-show planning, look beyond the traditional. Often, exhibiting at a show that is part of an auxiliary industry has more impact than exhibiting at a trade show that is part of your primary industry. Doing this provides prospects that would not ordinarily have direct access to your products and services.

To evaluate the potential of a trade show, determine the:

  • Overall budget (travel, booth costs, advertising, etc.)
  • Objectives (sales, product launch, visibility, etc.)
  • Booth display (new, used, renovated)
  • Advertising and promotion (promotional products, direct mail, e-mail campaign, trade journals)
  • Staff training required (internal, outside consultant)
  • Target audience (attendee list, current customers, prospects)
  • Lead-generation method (develop custom form, swipe machines, business cards)
  • Follow-up method (sending literature, phone follow-up, direct mail, e-mail literature)

Well before the show, develop a marketing strategy that will carry through all of your advertising and promotional efforts. Selecting and promoting a theme provides added excitement and helps heighten brand awareness. Try these tips for planning a successful show:

Use a planning guide. Establish a section for each part of the event, e.g. budget, travel, booth design, etc. Keep all contracts in the appropriate section. Include a calendar and a show floor plan with your space clearly marked. This guide will be an invaluable tool, not only for this event, but for all future shows as well.

Try a "bulky" pre-show mailing. Pre-show mailings are an excellent way to reach your target audience, and a "bulky" mailing is most effective in ensuring that your mailing gets opened. Include a promotional product that ties in with your theme and suggests what your booth has to offer. A study by Exhibit Surveys, Inc., determined that a pre-show direct mail piece containing a promotional gift can produce close to three times greater traffic than one without a gift.

Make staff available and identifiable. Staff your booth adequately and provide comprehensive training. Make your booth staff easy to identify with comfortable clothing sporting your corporate logo.

Create a lead follow-up plan. Create a plan before the show to follow up on leads immediately after the show.

Trade shows are one of the strongest tools available to build and cement solid relationships. They provide an excellent opportunity to make current customers feel important and to resolve any customer concerns or issues. For a successful show:

  • Within 10 seconds, catch the attention of a prospect passing by your booth.
  • Stand ready to great attendees and have your name tag clearly visible.
  • Qualify prospects and sell your product within six minutes.
  • Be enthusiastic! Use attention-getting devices and personalized promotional items.

This is no time to relax. Effective and timely follow-up is critical to the success of your trade show. After the event:

  • Wait a few days to follow-up so attendees can catch their breath.
  • Examine literature requests and follow-up on customer concerns.
  • Make follow-up calls to prospects.
  • Incorporate your promotional campaign theme into post-show mailings.

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