No one ever said trade shows were easy. Whether it’s finding the right leads out of a crowd of thousands, transporting an awkwardly sized booth, or finding the five minutes to squeeze in a bathroom break, trade shows can be a daunting, highly stressful experience. Failure to make the right moves before and during an event can turn what could have been a fruitful marketing endeavor into a panic-inducing catastrophe.
But fear not, trade show marketer. There’s no need to get yourself all worked up. You’re going to be okay. We’ve done a lot of trade shows over the years, and thought we’d to share some tips on how to execute a stress-free trade show.
Keep this advice in mind while you’re preparing for your next trade show and you’ll spend less time freaking out and more time converting customers:
1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
You wouldn’t walk into a gigantic event attended by thousands of people with millions of dollars at stake without doing a bit of planning beforehand, would you?
You’ll save yourself from a lot of needless stress at your next trade show if you plan in advance. Define objectives. Ask questions, like “What do I hope to achieve at my trade show?” and “How am I going to stand out at my next event?” Once you’ve got a clear picture of your overall goals, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. If you want a good spot, book as early as you can. Once you’re booked, do some homework. Find out where your audience will be and market to them via social media, forums, etc. Make sure you’ve got business cards, lead gen forms, etc.
The success of your trade show depends largely upon what you do leading up to it. So plan, alright?
2. HIRE GOOD HELP
Unless you’re some sort of multitasking genius with ten sets of arms, you can’t possibly attempt to market at a trade show by yourself. You need a team of helpful and knowledgeable experts at your side to handle important tasks and avoid going off the mental deep-end. Before you head over to your next trade show, make sure you’ve hired some professional staff to offer some assistance.
Once you find the right bunch of team members, brief them and be sure they know all the important selling points of your product/service. Whether you hire a charismatic promotional model or a well-informed product specialist, professional staff members will help your trade show run smoothly and stress-free.
3. KNOW THE RULES
There’s nothing more nerve-racking than getting set up at a trade show and finding out you’re breaking some sort of regulation and need to either 1) change things fast or 2) get booted out. No two trade shows are alike, so you need to make sure you know the rules and regulations inside and out beforehand to avoid any unnecessary missteps.
Read all the fine print regarding your next event and you can walk in knowing everything you’re doing is by the books. Because you really don’t want to get kicked out because your booth is four inches wider than it should be.
4. CONFIRM EVERYTHING
How awesome would it be to arrive at your next trade show and find out that the card readers you ordered aren’t actually going to show up? Not very awesome, huh?
Along with planning like crazy, you’ve also got to ensure everything you need at your trade show is coordinated and confirmed, with a capital C. Check with the show contactor. Make sure your electrical stuff checks out. Be certain that you actually have the space you think you have!
If you want to avoid trade show stress, don’t assume anything. Keep calm and confirm on.
5. EAT WELL, SLEEP WELL
Your body does not do well when deprived of proper sleep and nutrition, and that’s just on a normal day. Add in hours on your feet wowing customers and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. You don’t want to be tired, sluggish, and worried about your body when you’ve got to be “on” and selling your stuff.
Do yourself a big favor and get a good night’s rest before your trade show. Before you head to your event, eat something nutritious and filling. Food and rest might not seem like game-changing factors at first glance, but you’ll certainly realize it if you end up hunched against your booth longing for a decent meal.
What do you do to reduce stress at trade shows? Is it possible to walk into an event prepared for everything? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.