Helpful Tips for Trade Show Exhibitors
You’re likely considering exhibiting at a local property management event in your region, or maybe even at the major Apartmentalize, NARPM Broker, NMHC, REALTORs conferences.
They’re exciting events, with thousands of attendees, vendors, and sometimes celebrities and contests. At the Apartmentalize Conference in Denver in 2029, Apartments.com gave away a new car.
Add that to all the various attractions and educational sessions, and it’s a fun experience.
At a recent NAHB event, 70,000 visitors got to meet 1300 exhibitors. These are people working in the industry, and there’s no doubt some qualified prospects are among them. The trends this year point to much more exhibiting.
Trade Shows and Conferences:
- build visibility for your brand and value offer
- provide an uplifting experience/getaway
- bring you together face to face with real customer prospects
- bring your property management staff together to learn
- help you refine your marketing/sales pitches
- help to enrich your digital communications to keep memories alive
Benefits from Trade Shows extend beyond generating immediate leads, and nurturing leads in person. You’ll be connecting with an influential crowd in your industry (which includes bloggers, local news reporters and industry journalists). Your efforts here can be the base of long term engagement with prospects and customers.
Whether it’s at a local county fair or a big convention, these promoted events help you leverage the promotional power of the entire property management industry.
More than Low Hanging Fruit
When property management company managers believe that leads are only low hanging fruit to be picked at leisure, they’re missing out on the active part of a lead generation machine.
An annual trade show booth plus an active promotional campaign spawns continuous business value — such as a market leading branding, networking, visibility, engaging and capturing leads and nurturing them forever.
Yet relying on the property management events and their organizers to produce immediate leads is a mistake. It’s better produce your own self-driven, home grown trade show lead generation success.
Grab the steering wheel, use these trade show tips, and take a higher road to conference and trade show success.
ManageCasa attends many property management conferences and exhibitions throughout the year to showcase our amazing property management software and they are indeed a great way to generate new business.
Reaching Your Ideal Audience
Have you wondered how much visibility most community associations, HOA service firms, property management companies and other industry vendors have in their service marketplace?
Typically, that visibility with target audiences is low, and impact and engagement are even lower.
Many companies barely bother with marketing or advertising and some have websites that diminish their brands and actually terminate leads. That’s not good. Property management related companies need more effort put into marketing — and trade show exhibitions are marketing.
Great products and services are important but marketing drives awareness, engagement and trial.
What’s unique about trade show marketing is that it brings together real people, real events, real engagement, for face to face communications — something the digital world can’t achieve.
Digital media can’t fill that void and connect in a real world way. Trade shows bring people together to share on a personal, engaging, entertaining, and emotional level. And that’s where real decisions are made.
Creating Lasting Effects from Trade Shows
These events create a superb chance to connect with good prospects. Your sales presentations and conversations are powerful in activating a prospect with your sales presentation.
Prospects rarely buy right away. They need more. That’s where your trade show appearance and meeting helps launch the real sales process, to stimulate and keep the memory alive.
Patience is needed. You’ll follow up using continuous online promotion to activate memory (top of mind). That could range from social postings, blogging/SEO, to emails and YouTube videos to stay top of mind. Photos and videos of the event, booth shots, bling, marketing collateral, contests, speaker sessions, group photos, and interviews provide excellent collateral for ongoing marketing.
You’ll capture that sale when they’re ready and able. And if you portray yourself and your team as likable, it can accelerate their choice to hire you.
“81% оf trаdе ѕhоw attendees hаvе buуіng аuthоrіtу” — from Displaywizard survey.
Online Marketing Can Struggle Because It’s Missing Something Important
As I mentioned, a lot of property management businesses don’t even bother marketing. They’ve got their accounts and they’re satisfied. But for property management startups and those wanting to improve clientele and grow number of owners and properties, marketing is essential.
However, marketing needs help. Messages don’t make enough emotional impact by themselves. They work better when they’re associated with real people and events (that’s you!). And trade shows do generate pleasant meetings with prospects.
And prospects need to be reassured of your value proposition, to see it being sincerely and actively promoted. It doesn’t become real until prospects see you promoting it. A company’s lack of active promotion and desire to connect in person sends the wrong message.
If marketing is not your strong suit, you can always find help. And ManageCasa can help too. We have property management marketing tips, listing advertising services, and we offer client marketing websites to help you present the right image and messaging to your audiences.
Trade shows, expos and conferences are a unique marketing opportunity to present your unique value proposition and showcase your products and service capabilities while engaging in helpful face-to-face meetings with prospects
Solution: Plan your Strategy with More Effort
If trade shows or conferences aren’t effective for companies, there are reasons:
- your booth isn’t attractive and doesn’t present you as a credible, significant provider
- your website is low quality and deters prospects from attending
- your core unique value proposition isn’t clearly visible and quickly understandable
- your booth isn’t in the best location
- your booth is next to a lot of distraction due to too much passing visitor flow
Keys to Improvement
- gather the attendee list as soon as possible and reach them before the conference
- review all other competitor’s attending the same event
- ensure you have your displays, laptops, tables and chairs are ready for demos
- ensure you have the necessary business cards, giveaways and bling created and ready
- have a contest/prize created to ensure you get attendees email or name
- have enough staff to greet and speak with attendees, but not too many that you’ll scare visitors
“92% of trade show attendees say their main reason for attending trade shows is to see new products being featured” — Displaywizard survey
How To Make Your Trade Show Booth Successful
- The first action is to review your value proposition and get yourself into the visitors frame of mind (they don’t know you)
- Set realistic trade show goals — establish on leads desired and work your way backwards to all that’s need to produce that mean leads (gets rid of wishful thinking)
- Know what you need to promote, questions to ask, and which unique features will help them feel your brand/service is the one they want.
- Don’t forget analytics, use tagging code on everything and special hashtags on social media to allow your analytics software to record relevant views and clicks. It’s better if you know what originated your leads.
- Design an attractive trade show booth to attract and welcome your prospects
“An eye-catching stand is the most effective method for attracting attendees according to 48% of exhibitors surveyed — Displaywizard survey.
Create an Attractive Display: You don’t need Million Dollar Investments
Today, there are beautiful trade show booths and displays you can purchase, and you can design, buy and assemble your own. The key is to create an attractive booth, because an unattractive one can make attendees avoid you.
Then there’s branded merchandise and bling, to give prospects something tangible to hang onto and bring back memories. The overall effect your want to make is “a visit with us is worth it, come on in!”
At right you can see one of our banners which creates a very professional, modern image. It proves that even a few visuals can carry a lot of impact. When prospects see these photos again online, it takes them back to the event they attended.
Sometimes the memory is the location itself. Attendees travel a long way to Las Vegas, San Diego, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Zurich and other exotic locations. Help your visitors enjoy the adventure and after show parties, not just a day on the trade show floor.
Track Your Lead Gen Performance
With tracking code and analytics tools, you can measure:
- people met at the trade show
- trade show social media messages viewed
- mentions/shares on social media
- trade show webpage views on your site (blog post, event landing page)
- searches on Google for your company name
- number of invited people who attended
- email views and clickthroughs
- opinions of your trade show booth (and display items)
- number of QR code users
- effectiveness of advertising and blogs (your campaign)
- business cards given out
- demos and sales presentations given
- traffic counted passing by your exhibit
- merchandise/bling given out
- live Facebook events viewed (live at the show broadcast can be powerful — people are curious and they’re fascinated by live events)
- actual leads generated
“Fewer sales calls are required to close a lead from an exhibition” — Display Wizard.
Creating Your Trade Show Expo Success
Creating your trade show invites, setting up a promotional effort for the show, creating a good reason for people to come out to the convention or exhibition is going to increase leads. Everyone needs a little nudge to follow through.
Create an invite list, prepare ticket price discounts, write an effective invitation, and ensure it’s delivered at a time they will see and respond. Consider also, buying the pre-show registration list provided by the trade show organizer, and then communicating with those people via emails, social media posts before, during and after the show.
After the conference and trade show, you’ll have things to talk about, images and videos taken, and may even some leftover bling to send out.
These help to make prospects remember in a pleasant way that reminds them of the actions they spoke to you.
Create a Unique Trade Show Booth
Create a visually unique trade show booth along with supporting materials to create an experience that helps you engage visitors. Of course, your choice will depend your budget.
Forget the ultra pricey booth designs that some wealthy companies use. Catch attendee’s attention with a unique look that visually separates your booth from adjacent booths.
Make a comfortable place where visitors explore and be immersed in your product/service offer.
Focus on their comfort: Acquire any needed comfortable chairs/tables/stands/banners or even elevated video screens. And having a large back wall graphics helps you create a visual environment that gets them focused on your brand/company. Use items that make it easy to understand what your product is so they can float in and absorb the benefits.
ManageCasa offers branded merchandise to giveaway, and this year we used a glowing dice with a QR code on the side. That makes it easy for them to connect to our website, receive an SMS message, and get immediate contact information. They might be busy attendees heading to an educational session, who might return. What’s quicker than scanning a handy code using their smartphone?
The best trade show booths create an experience that’s educational, stimulating, engaging or just fun.
As an example, a property maintenance company could create a human sized, physical, interactive display placed prominently in the middle of the trade show booth. It encourages visitors to try to fix something — a mini property maintenance game, and if they solve it, they get a prize! If not, they see how your services are worth it.
Create the right mood and atmosphere. Create some excitement. Make it open and easy for visitors to walk in and engage with your sales team. Set up branded merchandise, brochures, candies or drinks (never underestimate the power of sugar), and other visual items to relax them and put them at ease. Pamper them!
Brainstorm for something that’s intriguing, that they have to ask about.
One company I worked for long ago, at a big Vegas conference actually had a celebrity throw cash out into the audience on the floor. Now if you have some extra cash lying around unused, well, it could help you get undivided attention.
81% of exhibitors use email to follow up their trade show leads — Displaywizard survey.
Attend Some Shows Soon and Learn Before Committing Big Funds
By attending a few initial trade shows, you’ll learn first hand what is actually needed, successful and what’s working. If you attend one of the upcoming property management (Apartmentalize, NARPM Brokers, OPTECH, REALTOR) conferences, you can study and take pictures of many of the booths and exhibits there. It’s a great way to learn from those who are being successful.
Note the traffic flow and volume and where exhibitors are having success or not. Great locations on the floor must be purchased and you’ll want to study which locations are ideal. Trade show organizers may have insights to help you. Regardless, you need to find locations that have enough traffic and are quiet enough that you can speak with prospects for at least 15 minutes.
Final Tips for your Next Trade Show Exhibition
Many exhibitors consider trade shows to be a brand building event and not so much a lead generation event. Don’t kid yourself though. There are a lot of potential customers at these shows. They attend because they want to improve their businesses and find new solutions.
Many trade show attendees are looking for PropTech solutions today, but physical products and services are on the buy list too. From security and home automation, to roofing, HVAC and plumbing solutions, to legal aid and rental advertising help, landlords and property managers need a lot of help these days.
The key is to know your UVP well matched to the market’s need and develop your sales pitch to zoom in on their immediate pain points, because those are the real medium of communication at the show. Their pain points are personal and they have feelings about them. Solving one key pain point issue and presenting the overall value of your company/product covers things well enough. No need to overdo it because you’ll dilute the power of meeting you and your memorable personal exchange with them.
People attending can be overwhelmed and feel alienated at these events too. That makes it the perfect opportunity for you to step in, get them talking, relating and belonging — thus establishing your brand as one that cares and listens, and makes customers feel good.
There you have it, some simple steps that can make trade shows and conferences a focal point for your lead generation strategy. It’s real world, emotionally impactful, and helps position your brand as the most significant one in the market.
You know what they say, “sometimes, success is just showing up.”
We’ll list more conventions, trade shows and conferences as they are announced as the season progresses.
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