By: Tim Woitach
Trade shows can be an integral part of an insurance agency’s marketing efforts. They offer an agent the opportunity for face time with an array of prospects and developing relationships with key decision makers in the industries they serve. However, trade shows are a costly and time-consuming endeavor, so it is essential to plan ahead and maximize the effectiveness of your trade show marketing. Below are five dos and don’ts to get you started.
Establish Quantifiable Goals for the Show: With the amount of time, energy, and funds it takes to attend a trade show, it is crucial to establish realistic goals and ways to track them. If you are going to justify the cost of attending a show, make sure you have the statistics to show that it is a valuable lead-development tool for your agency. If the results are not up-to-par, it may be time to consider whether that show is a worthwhile endeavor.
Develop and Promote a Giveaway: With a hall full of exhibitors fighting for the time and attention of each attendee, it is important to stand out. Offering a raffle prize that attendees must sign up for at your booth will drive traffic and increase visibility for your agency. This can also provide an opportunity to easily gather contact information from prospects attending the show.
Planned Follow-Up on Leads: You put in the time and effort to gather valuable leads; don’t let them go to waste. Schedule an email blast or personalized messages to reach your contacts within 1-2 weeks of the show.
Realistic Budget Development: Don’t overlook the ancillary costs when planning your budget. From shipping your display and collateral, to installation and tear down costs, there are a lot of areas of your budget that often go overlooked and can add up quickly.
Take Advantage of Trade Show Marketing Kits: If you are going to commit the funds to attend a trade show, make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Most trade shows offer marketing and advertising opportunities as part of your registration or sponsorship. Take advantage of these tools and use them to promote your agency and drive traffic to your booth.
Start Planning within Two Weeks of the Show: Effectively planning a trade show takes more time than you’d think. To maximize the effectiveness of the shows you attend, it is recommended that you start planning 60 to 90 days out.
Rush Booth Set-Up: Display and collateral are integral parts of your trade show success. Make sure you’re agency is visible, your collateral is accessible, and you have prepared a method lead gathering.
Overcrowd the Booth: You don’t want to overwhelm visitors to your booth. If you have an abundance of agency representatives attending the show, create a schedule outlining each person’s allotted time in the booth. Allow your agents to walk the show floor and create contacts that way as well.
Gather Contact Information for Everyone: Lead generation is an important aspect of attending a trade show. However, if you gather the contact information from every attendee, the actual leads can get lost in the mix. Make sure you take the time to qualify your leads at the show to maximize the accuracy and effectiveness of your leads list.
Attend Exhibit Hours Only: Don’t overlook the benefits of attending educational sessions and networking events. Attending classes and speaker sessions can give you insights into the key topics and concerns of the industries you serve. Networking events and dinners can provide you with an opportunity to connect with prospects in a less formal atmosphere and help develop relationships with decision makers and industry leaders.