10 Tips for a Productive Aviation Trade Show
The NBAA-BACE trade show is coming up. If you’re involved in business aviation, this is the must-go trade show to exhibit at, or at least attend. If your business is geared towards general aviation, chances are you’ll be at Oshkosh, SUN ‘n FUN or any of the hundreds of smaller trade shows and expos taking place during the year. There seems to be a venue for almost every aviation industry niche: maintenance, training, military, avionics, drones and more.
A Trade Show Can Account for a Large Portion of Your Marketing Budget
This should come as no budget surprise, as exhibiting at a trade show requires a significant investment of time, money and manpower. Nevertheless, attending a trade show provides a great opportunity to meet associates, vendors, customers and prospects face to face, all at one place and time. A trade show should generate an abundance of contacts, leads and sales in a few (although long) days – so there is plenty at stake and you don’t want to walk away with little to show for your investment. To ensure you have a successful trade show, take a look at the tips we have provided below.
Pre-Show Planning is the Key to a Successful Trade Show
- First, identify what are the most important trade shows for your aviation business.
- Second, determine how your exhibit can generate more high-quality leads.
- Third, how can you close more of those leads into sales? It takes careful planning and organization to ensure you’re getting the highest possible return on your trade show investment.
Before you start packing for your next trade show, use the following guidelines to formulate a detailed action plan prior to the big trade show event:
Before the Show:
- Set Goals for the Trade Show – Determine how many meeting, leads and sales you need to generate from the trade show for it to be considered successful.
- Promote Your Appearance – Feature that you are attending a trade show on your website and on your social media channels. Send an email to your customers and prospects. Distribute a press release if you are announcing a new product or other significant news.
- Schedule Appointments in Advance. Reach out to customers, prospects and vendors who will be attending the show and confirm your appointments in advance.
During the Show:
- Attract Attention. To draw people to your booth, consider a live demonstration or create a multimedia presentation. Offer a special promotion or hire entertainment or talent – just make sure it is relevant to your business.
- Staff with Knowledgeable People – Staff your booth with employees that can competently answer questions about your business, product or service. Train them on any special messaging prior to the event.
- Capture Contact Information – It is important to keep track of people who visit your booth. Most major shows provide exhibitors with scanners that can read attendees’ name tags, but keep a printed form at the ready just in case there is a technology glitch.
- Step Away from Your Booth and Explore. Use downtime to walk the floor, network, or to get a look at your competition. Since they’re all gathered in one place with you, this is competitive analysis at its simplest.
After the Show:
- Follow-Up on Leads Quickly – If you’re planning to send follow-up collateral information after the show, make sure it’s ready to send before the show ends. Potential sales are most often lost when too much time passes between the trade show and follow-up materials.
- Do a Post Mortem – After the trade show, assess all the aspects of the event. Get feedback from staff who participated, as well as attendees if possible. You’ll quickly learn which shows and which tactics yield the best results. Then use this information to realign your goals and fine-tune your strategy for the next show on your schedule.
- Track Leads and Sales – Track trade show leads to see how many of them convert into customers and what was the nature and size of the sale. Compare sales relative to the costs for exhibition, travel and promotional materials. Track any media coverage too for a more complete picture of the trade show’s value.
Which trade shows will you be attending this year? How do you track their effectiveness? Tell us in the comments below.