4 Tips for Setting Goals For Your Trade Show Displays

When you’re setting up your latest trade show displays, do you have your goals laid out?trade show specials

It sounds surprising, but a lot of businesses participating in conventions and shows don’t actually do too much <specific> thinking beforehand about what they want to accomplish. Now, for a business using their trade show display for the first time, this might beunderstandable. It’s enough work just getting the booth up and running in the first place, plus you don’t have any benchmarks.

However, after that first show, you truly need to do strategic planning beforehand and come up with concrete goals for all of your following trade show displays. Here are a few tips for things to think about!

Setting Concrete Plans For Your Trade Show Displays

I. Why Are You Here?

No, seriously. Why are you planning on going to an upcoming trade show? There are a number of different goals you could possibly have. These might include:

  • On-floor direct sales.
  • Building sales leads.
  • Fundraising or pushing crowdfunded projects.
  • Headhunting new employees.
  • Brand-building and positioning.
  • Social media outreach.
  • Showing off new products.

Now, your trade show booth could do any of these things and more. However, the best exhibition stands still have one or two primary purposes, which are their focus. Trying to do all of the above just results in poor messaging and a mixed reception.

So, figure out what your business most needs out of your display stand, and try to build it around that.

II. Establish Benchmarks

Once you know why you’re putting a trade show display up, it’s time to start looking at setting practical goals. Go over the performance of your past trade show booths. How many visitors did you get? How many leads did you generate? How many people signed up for your mailing list?

Whatever your goal is, look at your past performance. Consider that the baseline. Whatever you do with your current trade show display, you want to do better than you did last time, right? So if you lack any other good way of setting goals, just start with last booth’s results and aim to get better.custom eco-2009 trade show booth with recycled fabric graphics

III. Quantify Those Goals

Some goals are easier to quantify than others. If your goal is to make 100 new sales during a trade show, that’s a dead simple one. Either you make it or you don’t. The same goes with a lot of other “simple” goals such as sales leads or job interviewees.

However, how do you measure your positioning? How about your brand awareness? You’ll have to get a little more creative. You could try to measure these things during face-to-face interviews, judging people on their reactions during your discussions. Or, you could put up some iPad kiosks and invite visitors to leave comments. Or, you could send out post-show surveys to your visitors asking for their comments.

At that point, you’d be looking at goals like “fifty people leaving comments on our Facebook” or “thirty people responding to our survey.” That makes it a manageable goal, rather than something nebulous like “leverage our brand positioning.” Then the responses can be used to gauge your effectiveness.

IV. Keep Good Data

Sometimes you meet your goals, and sometimes you don’t. That’s life. Either way, keep good records of your trade show performance. You can begin to start tracking your performance statistically, which becomes a powerful tool for diagnosing how your trade show displays perform overall.

Through a combination of good record-keeping and intelligent planning beforehand, you can easily create a set of achievable goals for your trade show displays. Do so, and you’ll be in a far better position to gauge – and improve – their effectiveness.

For more, check out how to go international with your displays or how to sell your boss on displays.

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