In our last blog post we shared a list of plastics industry trade shows worth attending. In order to get the most out of your time at these shows, you need to have a plan of action. Here are some of the best tips we've learned from our trade show experiences.
1. Map Out Your Visit.
Shows like NPE are too big to simply walk the floor without a map. One piece of advice I would give to future attendees is to map out the booths you want to visit ahead of time using the trade show app (most trade shows have one). At NPE, we began our day at the larger West Hall. Knowing that we were limited on time, we were on a mission to see as many of our "must-see" exhibitors as possible. The NPE app included a very useful show planner which allows you to add booths to your list. It then highlights your chosen booths on the map view. This made it significantly easier for us to navigate the floor. If you are going for just one day like we did, this will help you efficiently hit up all of the booths you want to see without having to backtrack. Given the long walk to the South Hall, you will be glad you took the time to do this.
2. Choose Location Wisely.
We've attended conferences and trade shows in very cool spots (Las Vegas, Orlando & Raleigh for example), but we've also been to some obscure, dull locations that left us sitting in our hotel rooms far away from the nearest city. After a few of those, we've made it a priority to choose shows based on desirable locations. After all, the turnout in a prominent city will likely have better turnout than some rural town 45 minutes from the nearest city or airport.
3. Have Fun During Your Downtime!
Travelling for business doesn't have to be a drag. When in Orlando for NPE, you will have no shortage of things to do in your free time. Many exhibitors even host after-parties in their booths. But if you need a break from the business side of things, Universal Studios is a great way to spend a day out in the sun. There are plenty of restaurants, rides and other activities to make the trip worth it. In other cities, we always make sure to choose a hotel in the heart of downtown so that we can walk around and discover restaurants, breweries, and anything else unique that the city has to offer.
4. Be Patient With ROI.
Industrial B2B marketing isn't easy, especially when you're selling a service that varies from customer to customer. And it takes time. We're just now receiving quite a few quote requests from people we met last fall. We even have people we met in 2017 contact us. Sometimes it just takes that long to get a project rolling. So don't assume that you "wasted" money exhibiting at a trade show. Trust in the process and keep your online marketing consistent. You will see results.
What have you learned from attending trade shows? Feel free to share your own tips in the comments!