Hunting and Fishing Conventions: Why Participate and how to Prepare

There are still many Hunting and Fishing Expos scheduled across the country for 2014, and they attract quite the draw. In recent years, we’ve seen companies who curbed their attendance at trade shows return to exhibiting. Why? Trade shows, expos, and conventions have a high ROI.

Jeff Kear wrote in “Strategies: Marketing to maximize your trade show experience” for bizjournals.com what these shows offer exhibitors. “1. It usually costs less to develop a viable lead at a trade show than through traditional field sales calls. 2. Attendees at trade shows are often looking to buy now and have the authority to do so.”

Rob Murphy of business2community.com explains, “81% of trade show attendees have buying authority” (“Knowing Where You Stand After Your Trade Show: A 4-Step Plan.”)

Forbes.com’s David Adelman agrees that trade shows are worth the investment and effort. “I get the best ROI from attending conferences, conventions or trade shows. In two days at a conference, you can achieve what could take months sitting at your computer, all in a fun location” (“10 Simple Tricks For Getting More Out Of Conventions And Trade Shows.”)

When it comes to preparing for your exhibits, you will find a lot of resources offering valuable advice. We’ve collected some of the most useful information that experts offer to help newcomers and veterans alike.

Drawing attention to your booth

Before the show or expo, Kear suggests you decide on a theme and then reinforce it in your design and promotional items. Things to consider when choosing a theme:

  • New products, services, or lines
  • Recent accolades (Best in Class, Best in Service, etc.)
  • What differentiates your products
  • Valuable new or useful information

With a theme in mind, there are many things you can do ahead of time and on the day of the show to drive people to your booth:

  • Send mailers out to attendees. Include your theme and booth location as well as any giveaways or attractions you plan to host
  • If possible, select a booth to the front and right. If you can’t, try for booths near restrooms or food vendors.
  • Schedule a major attraction at your booth like a seminar or demonstration.
  • Be sure to remove all physical barriers to your booth entrance. Kear says this can increase traffic by %25.
  • Make sure your staff is prepared with information that relates to the needs of the audience
  • Choose attire as you would any professional sales call

Takeaways

Your takeaways are important because they both attract visitors to your booth and help them remember you later. What you give away should be thought through, though. Here are some guidelines:

  • Make them easy to carry around. They certainly should fit into a bag, but if they can slide into a purse or pocket to be separated from other handouts, even better.
  • Make them functional. Trinkets can be fun, but if you give people something they will actually use, your marketing goes a lot further. Something like a fishing or hunting license holder can hold your business card now and a license later.
  • Make it relevant to your business. If you sell knives, it wouldn’t make sense for you to give away a stress ball (unless you can creatively connect the two.)
  • Consider giving away one big item via raffle. Lessons, services, gear, and equipment make great raffle items
  • Go a little hi-tech. I know we have discussed QR codes in other posts, and there is a reason they keep coming up. They are free, easy, and connected to technology, which is a must.

Collect and use your information

The information you collect is your greatest asset leaving an expo or show. You want to make sure you collect the right information and follow through with it after the show.

  • Pinpoint all the information you want from people before the show. Know what is useful to you (and appropriate to ask).
  • Have pre-printed contact forms for attendees to fill out
  • If possible, enter all the information, including the customer’s level of need, in a computer or tablet right at the booth. This will help you stay organized.
  • After the show, identify those people who have immediate needs and contact them first. Contact those with the most future needs last.

One final tip is to just have fun. Enjoy talking to attendees and vendors. Be engaged and engaging. When staff has fun, they do better work and attract more people to the booth. They also offer a memorable experience for your future customers.

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