When it comes to marketing, nothing compares to the power of being face-to-face with your customers, making trade shows one of the most effective marketing mediums. Exhibitors spend a great deal of time and money preparing for the event and designing their trade show display, yet many of them continue making the same mistakes over and over again.

Stop yourself from making these mistakes and hurting your return on investment at your next event.

1. Forgetting About Marketing

Through all of the planning and preparations that go into the custom exhibit, pre-show marketing is often overlooked. Get the attention of potential buyers by promoting your show booth a few weeks before the convention begins in order to give your audience plenty of time to plan on stopping by your display stand.

2. Choosing the Wrong Trade Shows

Quality is definitely more important than quantity; instead of exhibiting at every single trade show that you hear about, only participate in the ones that are related to your industry and your competitors and target audience can be found at.

3. Not Qualifying Leads at the Convention

Instead of wasting your time contacting every single attendee that visited your booth, call or email only those that are qualified. You can qualify leads by asking a series of questions to find out their interest level in your products or services, then recording these answers on lead forms. Once all of the information has been recorded, rate the lead forms by high interest to low interest level using a ranking system. For example, you could write a 1 at the top of the form for the highly interested leads, a 2 for the medium interested leads, and a 3 for the low interested leads. The 1 s should be contacted first, followed by the 2 s, and then the 3 s.

4. Cluttering Your Trade Show Booth

Attendees can feel overwhelmed by booths that are too busy , meaning they have a lot of different themes throughout the display and graphics with a large number of images and text. Before designing your show display, determine what your goal at the show is going to be. Once this is determined, create graphics that will help achieve this goal, using minimal text and images and keeping the design simple. For example, if you plan on launching a new product, create graphics with an image of the product and a couple of sentences or bullet points with features or benefits of the product. For a more memorable booth, create a consistent theme among your booth graphics, marketing materials, and signage.

5. Not Following Up

Without following up with leads, all of your trade show efforts will be wasted. Most attendees won t contact you after the convention, so one or two weeks after the show, email, call, or send a thank you note to your leads. This will keep your name in the minds of potential buyers when they are in the market for your products.

These 5 tips are critical to the success of your event, but are often forgotten about. Refrain from making these mistakes and you will definitely accomplish your goals at the trade show.