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How to Prepare for a Trade Show

By: Sharon Penn - March 10, 2014

 

Exhibiting at a trade show is an increasingly popular and highly effective strategy to market your products and reinforce your brand message. Good planning is the key to success, starting with selecting the shows that are a good fit for your company. Many high visibility trade shows in your industry may be held out of town or even out of the country, so preparing well ahead of time is vital. By putting together a timeline you can deal with issues like ordering the right marketing materials, logistics and pre-show marketing to avoid a last minute crunch.

Step 1: Set Clear Objectives

Before signing up to exhibit at an industry trade show, set clear goals and determine how you will measure success. While statistics indicate that the majority of visitors plan to order products they see at a trade show, you may not see results for months. Keep in mind that in addition to taking orders, you can use your time in the booth to foster relationships, introduce your product line to new customers, present a new product to regulars and generate leads for the future.

 

Step 2: Decide on a Trade Show

When you are clear about what you expect to gain, it is time to choose the trade show that will accomplish your goals and give you the positive ROI (Return on Investment) you are looking for. Consider factors such as how many people are expected to attend the show based on past records, the size of your allotted exhibition space and the location of your booth within the show.  Do not underestimate the branding and positioning effect for your company. If leaders in your field are expected to attend, you may want participate as well.

 

Step 3: Develop a Budget

Now that you have a good idea of which trade shows are appropriate for your company, create a realistic budget to determine if participating is likely to be a good investment. Beside trade show fees there are numerous other expenses to consider, from building an attractive exhibit to travel and entertainment costs for your staff. Ask your commercial printer for estimates on printed marketing materials you will need like banners, posters and enlarged logos. You may decide to order pocket folders with your company name and a slit for a business card to organize customer handouts like catalogues, brochures and sell sheets. Many exhibitors also offer promotional items with their company logo like pens or calendars to keep their name in front of the customer. Logo tote bags are also popular and serve as a “billboard” when carried around the show.

 

Step 4: Marketing Before the Show

Before the trade show, announce your intention to attend the trade show and promote your exhibit with pre-show marketing. You may decide to send postcards to your customers with a promotional offer like a discount or a free promotional item upon presentation of the postcard at your booth. Keep in mind that there are lots of distractions and your competitors will be vying for your customers’ attention. It makes sense to set up appointments to increase your chances of taking an order during the show.

 

Step 5: Preparing your Staff

Train your sales force to deliver a brief but compelling message to visitors at your booth. Stage role playing exercises for practice, and make sure your salespeople know how to answer questions and overcome objections. Stress the importance of obtaining contact information from potential customers, and instruct them to jot down notes about the meeting to ease the next sales call. Interested visitors should take away your company information and the means to place an order. You can provide a brochure or catalogue with your website, email, phone information and a QR code, along with a printed order form.

With PCA Delta, you can make a lasting impression at your upcoming trade-show. We specialize in the highest quality full color offset printing at competitive prices. Give us a call today at 954-781-7771 and make us your #1 printing company.
 

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