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10 Common Trade Show Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned veteran of promoting your brand at fairs, every trade show has its perks and pitfalls. There are a lot of moving parts to consider when planning and preparing for a trade show. Last minute issues and improper organizing can make or break your lead generation on the day of the event.

It’s important to know that mishaps can occur and to be aware of some of the most common mistakes to ensure a successful booth at your next trade show.

In this article, the trade show display experts at totm exposition share some of the most common mistakes businesses have made in promoting and planning their company exhibit at a trade show.

1. Choosing the wrong trade show

One of the most common and unintended mistakes for new businesses who wish to exhibit their brand at trade shows is in selecting the wrong industry or event. This is an innocent mistake that can have a large impact on your strategy and success.

Be sure to carefully research the trade shows you plan to attend to make sure they are a good fit for your business and that your target audience will be attending them.

2. No competitor analysis

Part of planning for an effective outreach for your brand at trade shows is to know your industry inside and out. This involves in-depth competitor analysis to determine the best possible strategy. Without benchmarking your own business to your competitors, you risk failing to stand out as a unique and innovative brand.

It is important to keep abreast of your competition’s products and marketing strategies. You can do this by analyzing the products, services and marketing materials of your competitors.

Competitor analysis should also be done at the event itself. Do not be afraid to wander the trade show floor and analyze what your competitors are doing well.

3. Improperly budgeting for the event

One of the first steps in planning for your next event is to budget for the trade show. Strategically allocating your funds and developing an appropriate plan based on your budget is crucial.

Failure to properly budget can lead to under or overspending in certain areas, which can hurt your return on investment and have a negative impact on your success.

4. Cutting corners on display booths

Having an outdated trade show booth can make it difficult to outperform competitors with a more modern design and layout. Cutting corners on design, materials, installation, and setup can be a big mistake.

Avoid the mistake of outdated installations by opting for custom booth designs that will significantly help avoid losing opportunities to competitors with more cutting-edge exhibits.

5. Lack of delegation and staff training

At your next trade fair, you need to prioritize appropriate delegation to key staff as well as plan for effective training of all staff and volunteers. Depending on your event, schedule the staffing hours effectively to allot time for breaks and additional staff during peak hours when foot traffic is high.

Choosing the right staff and making sure they receive enough training before the show is crucial  if you want to generate as many trade show leads as possible.

6. Lack of marketing before and after the show

Your business should make full use of your own channels to properly market for your event. Failure to use your own channels to market, whether its social media or your own mailing list, is a big mistake. Do not rely on the trade show’s limited marketing avenue, this is one of many opportunities you need to be proactive with.

Having a dedicated staff or liaison with social media and marketing before, during, and after the event is crucial to effectively promote and stay in contact with attendees and potential leads generated. Ensure that you have dedicated time to do post-event marketing where you follow up with all leads and share your business’ experience of the trade show.

7. Using outdated graphics and promotional materials

Promotional materials – brochures, pamphlets, slides, displays, and so on – are invaluable for effective outreach at trade shows. Using outdated graphics or promotional materials with obsolete or inaccurate information can cause problems with lead generation.

As with your trade show booth, your graphics and marketing materials should regularly updated to represent your brand as effectively as possible.

8. Lack of planning for lead gen

When you attend a trade show, one of your core goals is expanding brand awareness and generating leads for your business. It is important to use SMART goals to facilitate the collection of client information and generate sales for long term customer retention. Without effective planning and tools to generate leads, you will have an incredibly difficult time meeting your goals.

9. Failure to leverage technology

Technology is intertwined in trade shows, especially hybrid trade shows where conference calls and digital programming are instrumental in reaching audiences effectively. It is important to leverage the many benefits of technology into your installation. From trade show lighting and audiovisuals to interactive designs, aim to create a wow factor for your attendees.

10. Failure to follow up with leads and networking opportunities

A common mistake businesses make when they gather information on attendees is in timely responses for lead generation. Following up is crucial to generate conversions effectively and doing so in a quick timeline is best. Effective communication is the building block to future sales and opportunities for partnerships.

After the event, collect and organize your leads, prospects and networking opportunities in a sales intelligence tool or a simple spreadsheet. Then follow up no later than one week after the event.

Choose the design experts at totm exposition for your next trade show

Trade shows are exciting opportunities to expand your brand awareness and generate leads in your industry. With the goal of engaging prospects and expanding your network, it is important to diligently plan for a successful trade show. Avoid the common mistakes many businesses make when promoting their brand at trade shows.

If you want your trade show booth to stand out from the competition, you can trust the innovative designs and creative builds of our custom modular booths and portable booths. Contact us today for a turnkey solution.