According to a 2019 event marketing report, 41% of marketers find events to be the marketing channel with the highest return on investment.

Trade show planning is a hectic affair with many balls that you have to juggle. If you don’t get it right, you risk losing present and future customers. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the most critical things you need to plan to make your trade fair a success.

1. Build Anticipation

When planning events, the build-up to the day is critical in delivering high traffic. Whether it’s the perfect prom or a high-level product trade show, you need to do the pre-show work.

Social media is deeply entrenched into the lives of those who will be attending. With that in mind, you need to leverage it to build anticipation. Using relevant campaign tips for each platform, start passing the word around.

To make your campaign stand out, you can plan out tidbits to share regularly on social media that hint to remarkable yet meaningful aspects of the trade show.

Another popular approach on social media is to use giveaways as a means to create awareness and build up anticipation. Post several ideas of giveaways and have your audience vote on the most compelling ones, to drive engagement.

The more targeted engagement and meaningful excitement you foster online, the higher the odds of converting that into offline traffic at your trade show.

2. Create a Memorable Experience

Customer experience is a critical driver of success for any business. When you create an event, it is not a tangible product. Rather, it is an intangible service, and as such, the level of experience you deliver becomes even more critical as it’s what each attendee will take home with them.

Depending on what your event is about, you can tailor a unique and memorable experience that stands out.

For example, when not-for-profit firms that enable access to clean water in the developing world hold an event, they can bring challenges from the field to real life.

For every attendee who comes to the show, there can be a space where they lug heavy water containers that those in the developing world daily carry to and fro over many kilometers when fetching water.

Every attendee who carries this activity out will immediately understand the need for easier access to clean water. It will both be a memorable experience that converges with the theme of the event to make a meaningful impact.

Remember that the goal here is to create an experience in whatever format you desire, but that which dovetails into and reinforces your theme.

3. Study Your Customer’s Journey

Each trade show you organize will cater to two cadres of visitors. The exhibitors, who are your primary customers, and the attendees who are your secondary customers. For your trade show to be successful, it has to fulfill the needs of both sets of customers.

As such, before you begin developing the event’s value proposition, you need to understand the needs of both exhibitors and visitors.

Using a customer journey map will help you uncover what visitors go through while they interact with the customers or brands that exhibit at your trade show.

Through this customer journey map, you can identify potential frustration points both visitors and exhibitors will face.

That then puts you in a position to develop a value proposition for the event that solves these problems, making the event successful.

4. Adequate Booth Space

The booth is one of the few areas that both exhibitors and visitors will interact with. As such, the kind of space you provide will directly impact the event experience of both sets of customers.

While the idea of having many exhibitors at your event can signal success, you must pay close attention to how you allocate each booth. If you play your cards right, the floor space can be a tool you use to attract top-notch exhibitors to be part of your trade show.

Talk to each exhibitor to understand how they plan to use their booth to display their offering.

You can then allocate the space necessary based on such usage to make maximum use of the square footage available without compromising the customer experience.

5. Track Your Metrics Religiously

Whether it’s your first time at the rodeo or you have been hosting trade fairs for a while, you need to track your metrics without fail.

Failure to measure the right metrics and understand what they mean can make you repeat mistakes that dim the success of your event.

In the planning stages of your trade show, you should keep track of the social media mentions you receive.

That can help you understand how friendly your trade show is to social marketing, which will still apply once the event is underway and being highlighted on social platforms in real-time.

Once the trade show is live, your attention will need to move to the level of social engagement you garner. Through this data, you can uncover the things that attract visitors the most and capitalize on them in real-time.

The number of people who check-in versus the number that registered to attend is a critical figure. If there is a significant discrepancy, it can mean that you are setting up friction points between those who want to visit and those who eventually walk through the doors.

Once the trade fair is over, you will need to run a net promoter score survey for both exhibitors and visitors.

The feedback you receive can highlight the strong points of your trade show while helping you realize the things you need to work on to make your next event have a stronger pull with both sets of customers.

Take Your Trade Show Planning to New Heights

The level and quality of trade show planning you do directly impacts the success of your event, and the success of your exhibitors’ investment as well. As such, you need to look at experiential, functional, and analytical avenues of planning that can help you leverage every strong point available for success.

The Midlothian Conference Center is a state-of-the-art conferencing facility boasting of small-town hospitality. Talk to us today for event facilities that match today’s customer expectation to grow your brand.

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