If you have attended more than a few trade shows, you have probably encountered at least some of the following common trade show mistakes that are made by even experienced exhibitors. Event organizers aren’t off the hook, either, as they may wonder afterward why attendance and sales are down. Whether you’re a planner or an exhibitor, be aware of some of the pitfalls of executing a successful trade show.
Not having a solid pre-show marketing plan
Whether you’re exhibiting or organizing a trade show or convention, implementing a solid marketing plan is crucial to letting prospective exhibitors and attendees know about your event and making sure they follow through and take part. Generate excitement about your event with a carefully planned email campaign. Build interest by highlighting exhibits or events and offering early bird discounts or other enticements. Send reminders as deadlines grow closer and, if possible, target messaging by segmenting the audience (those who have not responded, those who have shown interest but have not yet signed on, those who have purchased tickets and so on).
Generously use social media marketing to get the word out and send last minute event reminders. If you want to expand your audience, consider using Facebook or similar advertising to reach your target industry or demographic.
Update your website information, including adding a dedicated landing page or pages about the event that you can link to in your email and social media campaigns. Be sure the page gives visitors a chance to sign up, buy a ticket or send you an inquiry. Make sure all dates and details are correct, and that your contact information for the event is easy to find and up to date.
Failing to confirm exhibitor and buyer attendance
One large event promoter who had organized fashion trade shows for a number of years failed to pay attention to the last-minute cancellations of two top exhibitors at a major international fashion show in 2012. Some buyers who attended the show were surprised and understandably disappointed, and they stayed away from attending the same event the following year. Had the agency that organized the event tried to get a handle proactively on the “big names” pulling out and worked harder to win them back, or find comparable replacements, they might have avoided experiencing reduced attendance the following year.
Confirming participation of special guests or exhibitors as well as buyers raises the quality of the event and sends a message to the marketplace that your event is one that can be counted on to deliver.
Lack of follow-up
- Exhibitors – Customers are why you exhibited at this show in the first place, so be sure to send out emails or other forms of follow-up as soon as possible, usually within 24 – 48 hours after the end of the event. You want to keep your name in front of your new contacts while their interest is high and hopefully make them lifetime customers.
- Organizers – Feedback from participants is critical to running a good show. Sending questionnaires or better yet, taking the time to visit each booth personally and ask how the exhibitors are doing not only creates goodwill but will give you a firsthand idea of what’s working and what isn’t. A follow-up survey of exhibitors soon after the event closes will help you make next year even better and, because they know you are interested in helping make their experience better and more successful, make your exhibitors more likely to return.
Untrained booth staffers
While we’re all short of staff, it’s a big mistake for any exhibitor to employ booth staffers who aren’t knowledgeable about the products or services offered, or who fail to approach potential buyers with open-ended questions, a helpful, enthusiastic attitude and prompt answers to buyers’ questions. Attentive service to each customer’s unique needs is what sets successful exhibitors apart from those who go home with blank sales books. Trade show exhibitors have a lot of competition on show day and visitors will move on quickly if not engaged. Be sure your staffers are the right people, that they’re well-trained beforehand and that they understand their roles and your expectations for their performance.
Lack of contingency planning
Life happens, even at trade shows. Power cuts, Internet outages, storms, and other unexpected catastrophes can wreak havoc on even otherwise well-planned venues. Having a contingency plan for addressing these ahead of time can make the difference from a show becoming an unsalvageable disaster to just experiencing a speed bump or two. Make sure your team has put together a backup plan (preferably in writing) to deal with disruptive unforeseen events.
Planning at the last minute
Waiting until the last minute to plan for venue location, date selection, activity agendas, exhibitor spaces and other factors is a recipe for trouble. Contacting hotel and other venues early to determine availability and secure space and favorable room rates will help avoid disasters like space shortages or expensive room rates that will scare away participants. Other conflicting events in the same area, such as sports or conventions, may play havoc with finding a suitable space for your exhibitors and attendees, so do adequate research before deciding on a date and location, then plan and book early.
The Right Exhibition Space or Trade Show Building
The quality and location of your trade show venue can make all the difference in the success of your event. Choosing a space that is too small, or with poor lighting or location, can spoil the ambiance and suppress attendance, leaving your exhibitors dissatisfied with the volume of traffic and the results of their efforts.
Whether you’re planning an exhibition, trade show, convention or similar event, Allsite’s versatile and spacious tension fabric structures can provide the hard-to-find space you need while keeping costs down and creating the right space to allow your exhibitors to shine.
Temporary fabric structures provide ample, uninterrupted indoor space for trade show exhibits or registration and reception space, as well as performance space for concerts, sports or other public or private events. High ceilings with door options create an accessible, spacious environment. The structure’s sturdy frame easily supports overhead equipment, such as suspended sound systems and signage. The clear span design is spacious enough to allow for plenty of exhibitors and buyers alike. The modular structures are available in a variety of widths and virtually any length that is needed to accommodate small or large shows and events. The white fabric is highly reflective creating a much brighter and open space then any convention hall.
The TFS can be installed and removed quickly to meet tight move in and move out times. Visit our time lapse video to see 175,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space installed in 9 days for a prominent trade show in Las Vegas:
Tension Fabric Buildings for Temporary Convention and Trade Show Space
Featuring a lightweight engineered aluminum frame and specially designed PVC fabric, tension fabric buildings can be transported and installed at any destination, then disassembled, quickly and efficiently, after the event. They don’t require a building foundation so the structures can be installed on any surface, including asphalt, turf and gravel. The advanced design tension fabric structure is highly stable and won’t be affected by winds or rain, keeping your program on track no matter the weather. The structure can be climatized with HVAC systems for attendees’ comfort in hot weather or cold. Affordable and highly versatile, Allsite structures come in a variety of sizes with options to accommodate your event’s needs. Enjoy your choice of doorways, including public entry doors and cargo doors for equipment and supplies, ventilation, lighting and other options.
Careful planning will help make your event go off smoothly and successfully. With years of experience in the convention space, and a large available inventory, Allsite can take the worry out of finding the right space for your exhibit or show. Contact us to find out more or call 1-888-599-5112.