How the Internet Can Enhance Your Trade Show Experience
There was a moment in the 90’s when the thought of “virtual trade shows,” sent shivers up the spines of some show managers and exhibitors who thought the Internet would mark the death of the world’s oldest marketing tool. Well a decade and a half later, we know that all that fuss was for not. Not only have shows continued to thrive they have done so living side by side with the Internet.
Using the Internet makes a great deal of sense. It can save time, help you focus and ensure that you are participating in the right show.
Here are a few hints and helpful sites to visit before your next show.
1. Finding the right shows.
Gone are the days of the hard copy, telephone book size, show directories. Sites such as www.tsnn.com, www.expotop.com or www.eventseye.com, offer exhibitors a helpful and easy to navigate way to learn about thousands of show options.
2. Learning about your show
Every show has a dedicated web-site. Some shows have replaced their bulky exhibitor manual and have put everything you need to know on line; the floor layout, the show program, timing, links with the show suppliers, attendee profiles, show rules and so on.
3. Promoting your presence
You have two on-line options to promote your presence at a show, your company’s website and the show website.
a. One of your marketing thrusts should be to direct traffic to your web-site. This activity opens up a terrific no cost way of promoting your presence at a show. A banner ad on the first page of your site will let your audience know where you will be exhibiting.
b. Often show managers will provide live links from each exhibitor’s website to the main show website.
4. Find out about your show manager and best show practices
Throughout the world there are many associations that have incredibly helpful web-sites. Here are some noteworthy sites to give you a taste of examples of what is in store for you.
· International Association of Exhibits and Events www.iaee.org
· Union des Foires Internationales www.ufi.org
· Canadian Association of Exhibition Management – www.caem.org
· Associacion Mexicana De Profesonales Deferas, Exposones Y Convenciones, A.C. WWW. AMPROFEC.org
· Uniao Brasileria dos Promotores de Foires, - www.ubrafe.org.br
· Associacion Argentine de Organizadores Y Proveedores de Exposiciones – www.AOCA.org.ar
· Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association – www.HKECIA.org
· Center for Exhibition Industry Research – www.CEIR.org
There are a number of publications that are dedicated to the exhibition industry. They report on such things as trends, industry trends and statistics, best practices, case studies and profiles of industry leaders. Here are a few examples. Check their web-sites and see what’s in store for you.
· Trade Show Week – www.TradeShowWeek.com
· Exhibitor Magazine – www.exhibitornews.net
· Trade Show Expo – www.trade-show-expo.com
· Expone Magazine – www.revistaexpone.com
· Feira & Cia – www.feiraecia.com.br
· Exhibit and Events – www.exhibit-event.com
6. Industry trade shows
Where do exhibitors go to learn? The answer in addition to many of the sites already listed is to attend one of the few trade shows dedicated to the education of exhibitors. You can learn about these annual events by visiting such sites as, www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitorshow, www.TSEA.org and www.ExpoSystems.com.br.
Vendors are easily found by simply googling the type of vendor you are looking for. One good place to start is www.Trade Show Store.com
8. Selling hardware
If you have dated or slightly used hardware that is taking up space in your warehouse there are sites that you can use to sell them. Visit www.exhibittrader.com, and www.boothfinder.com and learn the details.
That should get you started. Happy surfing.
If you happen to run across a helpful site let me know about it. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org