If the business you own is a franchise and you’re looking to grow it, one of the best marketing tactics for you to use is to purchase a booth at a trade show. Trade show marketing is an excellent way to market your product or service in front of thousands of people.
However, when you look around any trade show, you’ll see a lot of different companies vying for attention.
So how can your franchise stand out from the crowd at a trade show?
Planning for a trade show takes a lot of careful planning. Usually between six months to a year in advance to do it right. You need to determine your strategy and messaging and make sure everything relates to your business. Your online and offline promotions, as well as the marketing materials you handout, must be on point.
Here are 7 trade show marketing tips that you should utilize to bring a crowd to your franchise’s booth.
1. Have A Clear Concise Message at Your Booth
You only have a few seconds to capture an attendee’s attention, so you have to do so quickly. You want to give them a reason to visit your booth. The design of your trade show space must be visually appealing and the messaging must speak to your target customer. Logos should be consistent and displayed naturally around your booth. Don’t crowd your space with too many words, but you do want interested attendees to know who you are.
2. Keep Your Marketing Materials Simple
If you have franchise brochures and other marketing materials to hand out, keep it simple. The smaller and less wordy your handouts, the better. Trade show attendees don’t want to carry around a handful of brochures and flyers that have no value. So, your materials must be memorable. Put a digital coupon or some other type of offer on your brochure or flyer. Attendees will more likely keep your takeaway if you do that.
3. Use Interactive Exhibits
Give attendees a reason to engage with your franchise. You want to make this an unforgettable experience. This can be as simple as a prize wheel, or a raffle ticket. You could also have something more elaborate like virtual reality games or a hashtag mosaic.
4. Build Relationships with Attendees
If you have a list of the trade show attendees before the show, add them to your contact list. Make sure you have the list available on your tablet or smartphone so you can take notes about who you talked to and what you talked about. Be sure to also collect business cards of your visitors, in case you’re too busy to take notes.
5. Venture Outside the Exhibit Hall
There are plenty of marketing opportunities outside the exhibit hall. While the main event is inside, you should consider sending a team outside the exhibit hall to catch attendees before they enter. You want to provide them a reason to visit your booth before they’re bombarded with everything inside. Here’s where you can provide attendees with an exclusive offer, a contest, or an upgraded gift, provided that they come visit your booth.
6. Offer Something That Will Make Attendees Hang Around Your Booth
When you attract someone to visit your booth, you want them to stick around as long as possible. The longer they stay around, the better chance you have to make a good impression. You want to give them an incentive for staying. If people see a crowd at your booth, they will be inspired to come over there to see what’s going on.
Here are some ideas to keep visitors lingering around your booth:
- Provide comfortable seating with mobile charging stations, so attendees can sit down while charging their smartphones, or tablets. If your space is not large enough for seating, mobile charging towers are a great option.
- Have a laptop or iPad station so attendees can check and respond to emails.
- Show a video that is relatable to the trade show
- Provide interactive games and activities
- Have cold beverages and healthy snacks available to pass out
7. Send Emails, Before, During, And After the Event
A great way to market your franchise is to engage attendees via email marketing and newsletters. You should send an email, before the event, during the event and after it’s over.
Every email you send should be a text-based email. These types of emails work best. Highly formatted HTML emails with huge images will likely not get read because people will more than likely not press the “show images” button on a bunch of emails from trade show vendors. This is especially important because most of the attendees will be looking at emails on their smartphones during the show.
The email that you send before the show should introduce the event, invite the recipient to attend, provide your companies booth number, and encourage them to come by and say hello.
The email that you send during the show is similar to the pre event email. Not only do you want to provide your companies booth number, and invite them to visit your booth. You want to tell them about any offers, prizes or games you have to give them an incentive to visit your booth.
When the show is over you want to send a follow-up email to the attendees. You want to keep the momentum going. On this email you want to thank them for attending and encourage them to get in touch with you to learn more about your franchise and the products and services you offer.
If you plan on marketing your franchise at a trade show, make sure that you are prepared. Successful trade show marketing is a lot of work. Everything must be pre-planned. Planning for a trade show doesn’t start a month or two in advance. Remember, it can take anywhere between six months to a year to plan. That’s because you must carefully think through the pre, during, and post event attendee experience. So that your attendees have an incredible experience with your brand. This will help your company be remembered and stand out from the rest of the vendors.