Trade shows represent a huge expenditure from your marketing budget, so it is important that you lay the proper groundwork and realize a return on your investment (ROI). Trade ShowRemember that you are competing with many other vendors on the exhibit floor, so in order to engage with the attendees, you must stand out from the crowd. Once you draw them into your booth space, your staff must be able to effectively describe your services and answer any questions that your visitors may raise. In order to get the most out of your marketing efforts, here are some things not to do when exhibiting at a trade show.

Lack of Preparation
Proper planning and preparation are essential to the success of your trade show exhibit experience. Before committing to a show, thoroughly research the anticipated attendees to ensure that they are part of your ideal target audience. Get feedback from industry peers who have attended the event in past years, to find out whether the investment of time and resources has the potential to be profitable for your staffing firm. Establish timelines for creating your marketing collateral, revising and shipping your exhibit booth, and promoting your trade show presence with prospective clients and candidates. Once you have reserved your booth space, communicate any specific exhibit booth needs such as electricity, Wi-Fi or height limitations, to the show coordinator.

Confusing Message
A clear branding message that attendees are able to easily identify is required when competing for the attention of potential candidates and clients. Don’t confuse people by including too much text on your exhibit booth. There is no way that you are going to tell your entire company story on your trade show display, so don’t even try. Your job is to capture their attention and draw visitors in so that you have the opportunity to expand on your branding message and differentiate your services. Start by truly understanding the needs of your clients and candidates, and be sure to address those points in your exhibit booth message.

Information Overload
In addition to including too much information on your booth display, you also need to avoid overloading visitors with too many handouts. When exhibiting at a trade show, your goal is to provide attendees with critical information about your staffing firm but don’t bring every piece of collateral you have ever produced. Bring show samples of some of your case studies, and promise to send a copy if they leave their contact information. Consider using a mobile marketing platform in order to deliver information to your visitors electronically. Printing up and shipping literature to the trade show location is pointless if the handouts end up in the nearest trash can, so be sure to only bring the most important information.

Untrained Staff
You have done all of your homework and ensured that your exhibit booth and literature is not overwhelming the show attendees, now what? Who have you assigned to man your booth and represent your staffing firm at the show? Competent trade show booth staff members are essential when looking to engage attendees and encourage visitors to leave their contact information. Ensure that your team is properly trained and aware of your lead generation goals for the trade show. Establish expectations before the trade show and hold employees accountable if you find that they are acting in an unprofessional manner. For the duration of the trade show, your booth staff are the face of your staffing firm. Be sure to make a great first impression by selecting the most qualified members of your team.

No Follow Through
The biggest mistake to avoid when exhibiting at a trade show actually takes place after the show has ended and your booth has been safely shipped back to your office. Failing to nurture your leads and convert them into new business is going to result in a negative ROI and a waste of your marketing dollars. Promptly follow-up with attendees and forward any literature they requested during the show. Connect candidates with qualified recruiters in order to build up your talent pool. Forward the names of prospective clients to your sales team and be sure to pass on any conversation details that may shed some light on their staffing needs and expectations. Monitor your trade show ROI by carefully recording all visitor details and tracking their progress through the conversion stage.

Key Takeaways for What Not to Do When Exhibiting at a Trade Show:S.J.Hemley Marketing

  1. Inadequate planning and preparation before exhibiting at a trade show
  2. Confusing attendees by including too much information on your booth display
  3. Overloading visitors with too many handouts
  4. Not ensuring that your team is properly trained and aware of your lead generation goals
  5. Failing to nurture your leads and convert them into new business

About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations.