Trade shows can be a real boost not only to finding prospects, but also to your overall visibility as an organization. However, before you go, you must be well prepared. Good preparation means finding the right audiences, setting realistic budgets, getting high visibility booth space, and determining who and what will be at your booth. Now is the time to think about using good public relations tools to increase your visibility and develop your business. Here are some items you may want to put on your to-do list:

1) Get the list of attendees in advance. Decide what constitutes a qualified prospect. Make a list of all the companies you want to communicate with, and assign each person on your team a piece of the goals to address. Ask show organizers, current clients, and colleagues to do floor presentations.

2) Cultivate the press proactively – get the press list a week in advance if possible. Pick the top 10 reporters (start with the trade publications your prospects read the most). If you have news, or at least one newsworthy product or service, call ahead and try to schedule interviews. If you have a press release or newsletter, put a stack in the press room; no need for a thick press pack.

3) The “Show Daily”. Most of the large conferences distributed a daily newspaper or newsletter to the attendees. If you have news, provide the information to publishers at least a week in advance so they can publish it on the day you make the announcement.

4) Make your stand project professionalism and business. Don’t fall into the comfort zone of constantly chatting with coworkers. Invite interest. Open your booth physically as much as possible; make it easy for people to enter without feeling trapped. Once they step in, tell them and quickly show them what your product or service can do for them. If you have a tangible product, get it in their hands as soon as possible.

5) Take photos. Invite notables to your booth and take their photos surrounded by you and your staff in logo T-shirts and your booth in the background. These will work well on your website with a descriptive caption.

6) Make following up with attendees a quick but formal project for the team. Use the contact information while it’s up to date and potential customers are still interested. Prepare a short follow-up letter template ahead of time and have it ready to combine with your list of new contacts as soon as you return. Send follow-up letters within seven days of the event.

7) Send a follow-up email to all registered reporters, even those who did not attend the program. Call the people you contacted, offer additional information, and ask if they plan to write anything. Keep track of potential articles for you to see when they go live.

8) If it’s the right program, your competitors will be there. Now is a good time to see them up close. It is not espionage; It’s market research! Choose your marketing materials and listen to your speech. There is nothing wrong with that, you can be sure that they will do the same at your booth.

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