Trade shows are effective marketing opportunities, but they require significant resources. The last thing you want to do is foot the costs of travel, food, and lodging and not have a successful turnout. Unfortunately this happens to some businesses, especially when they’re just starting out.

As you prepare for your next trade show event, be sure to steer clear of these common but crucial blunders.

Not Engaging on Social Media

Social media is your friend. Be active on your social pages before, during, and after the event to attract more attendees. Post videos, images, and short posts about what’s happening. You may even want to come up with a hashtag that is used specifically for trade show content. This makes it easy for followers to track your events.

Not Defining Your Goals or Messaging

Another common mistake is throwing an exhibit together without having clearly defined goals and messaging. Before you even select the events you want to attend, know what you expect from them. Is your goal to generate brand awareness? Increase lead opportunities? Also, what message are you sending to your audience to help reach your goals?

Too often, businesses think that by attending an event, it’s enough. However, the competition is high and there are many, many exhibits to go through. You need to stand out while also meeting your goals. If you plan to increase leads, be sure to choose a show where your target personas will be. Order relevant promotional items, hire extra staff to tend your booth, and adopt a method for capturing leads.

Not Having a Custom Booth Made

Simply having a booth is not enough to make you competitive. You must plan ahead, and that includes working on your display early on. Larger exhibits get more traffic than smaller ones, particularly because they are centrally located and demand more attention. But, if you can’t afford a larger space, consider standing out in other ways.

For example, The Exhibit Company, Inc. will design and build a custom exhibit that is fresh, inviting and effective for your target audience. We work closely with our clients to deliver on-target solutions that increase visibility and ROI. We also believe in providing sensory experiences as these tangible interactions make your brand more memorable.

Not Following Up with Leads

One last mistake to avoid is not following up with your leads. After investing significant resources, don’t throw them away. Have a plan in place for following up with leads, whether it’s by sending an email or calling them directly. The best time to connect is right after the event. Otherwise, information is lost, people grow disinterested, or your brand loses its appeal. Be sure that the right data is captured, otherwise sales can’t qualify leads.

When done right, trade shows offer a huge return on investment. Being physically present allows you to create meaningful experiences that can’t be achieved online. Make the most of your upcoming events by having custom signage made for your booth.