Five Tips to Help You Succeed at Your Next Food Show

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For the rising food company, exhibiting at a food show can give your brand the boost it needs. Food shows are a chance to build brand awareness and get your product into the hands and mouths of influencers, investors and buyers.

Yet, attending a show can be a major investment. You’ll need to budget for not only the cost of your booth space, but travel, food samples, marketing collateral, staffing, booth signage, venue fees and more. That’s why it’s critical to have a plan in place to maximize your investment and ensure your success at the show.

Here are five tips to help you succeed with your next food show:

One - Start With A Plan

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What are your objectives?

  • What is a successful outcome look like after the show?

  • Who do you want to meet with? It could buyers, influencer, media, or the general public.

Having an understanding of who you’re trying to connect with and what success looks like will help you develop a plan and leave the show having accomplished your goals.

Two - Work With A Timeline

A successful event doesn’t happen when deadlines are missed and you throw everything together at the last minute. If you miss logistic deadlines you’ll pay more in late fees. You might miss opportunities to reach your target market if you wait until the last minute.

Once you determine which show you’ll attend, set up a timeline and work backwards. This way you can be thorough and keep the stress to a minimum, knowing you fully utilized all resources to have a successful show.

Three - Create a Booth Traffic Driver

When you know your show objective, then ask yourself, why would someone want to stop at my booth?

Determine what it is about your booth that will drive traffic and encourage them to interact with you. Don’t be satisfied with just a pass by and grab a sample. Find ways to interact with your booth visitors.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Introduce a new product and have samples available

  • Create a game or interactive experience

  • Use a drawing or contest

  • Create a test market and have visitors vote on a new flavor or vote for a package idea

  • Show a sneak peek no one else will see unless they visit your booth

Tip: Make sure you’re collecting leads - whether it’s scanning badges, taking business cards or an email sign up. You’ll want to connect with attendees after the show.

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Four - Develop a Robust Social Media Plan

If you’re not using social media to promote your booth and interact with attendees, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. Start your social media content early. In fact, according to a study from Buffer, there are nearly as many posts leading up to an event as during the event itself. If you wait until the show starts, you’ve missed huge opportunities to build awareness.

Tip: Make sure you use the official hashtags of the show.

Five - Follow Up With Contacts After The Show

The show is over and you’ve connected with hundreds of people. It’s important to build upon the connections you’ve made at the event. No doubt, buyer may be your most valuable show connection.

Alli Ball , a former buyer for Bi-Rite who now consults with food producers and manufacturers, has three tips to ensure success after the show:

  • Don’t forget to follow up

  • Send a concise, personalized email

  • Pick up the phone and call one week after the show

You can read more about her tips here.

With these five keys, I’m confident your next show will be a success. You will meet your objectives, be a lot less stressed and you can focus on building meaningful connections that will last into the future.

Need help building your next show strategy? Connect with me here.