Planning a roadshow – 5 top tips for a successful roadshow 

It never ceases to amaze us just how many successful roadshows, shows and events are held across the UK each year. With a recent upsurge in local and county shows, demand shows no sign of abating.

Furthermore initiatives like British Family supporting British manufacturing and farming and championing events like National Events month in October and the International Festival for Business, have all helped boost demand and interest in this high growth area.

However, most notable has been the increase in roadshows, with brands getting out on the road and visiting customers directly via various retail, merchant and distribution sites around the UK. Clearly the message is out, that the best way to reach and be remembered by customers is face to face. Ensuring planning a roadshow is high on the agenda for many marketing teams.

Indeed the heating and plumbing industry has been quick to catch on to the trend. After their successful autumn roadshow, with their oregon trailer touring the Midlands and Southern part of the UK, Installer Media have planned a number of roadshows.

Bristan took its Shower to the People roadshow out to 100 merchant stores around the UK, promoting its innovative shower products. Grant’s and JW Jones and son’s roadshow, hosted in their roadshow marketing vehicles, took their heating and plumbing products out on the road.

Timber Windows tested out the show and event circuit in 2014 with 25 shows on their busy schedule. The following year they refined their schedule, but with approx. 15 events planned, they’re finding it works for them and shows have continued to be a key part of their marketing plans.

This reflects the growing trend for companies to take more ownership of the roadshow process when planning a roadshow themselves, bringing it in house rather than relying on external suppliers. Which, given that staff know your products extremely well, makes perfect commercial sense to do so.

We’ll assume you’ve already considered your aims and goals for your roadshow. So, our 5 top tips for successfully planning a roadshow are as follows:

Timing is critical

Make decisions early about what type of vehicle or trailer you want to use and whether you will hire or buy. Exhibition trailers can be hired or purchased. Roadshow marketing vehicles, can also be purchased, but you will need to allow for production times for any roadshow marketing vehicles or trailers being manufactured. Depending on the time of year, this can vary dramatically.

If you plan a roadshow at a busy time of year your customers could be too busy, on holiday, or caught up in their own events. So you would need to plan your roadshow at a quieter time of the year, to maximise turnout and your events success.

Also check the dates of major industry events so you don’t clash with any big shows and events running at the same time.

Consider what time of day you’re planning a roadshow for, 9-5 might not work depending on your industry. Consider early mornings or evenings, which could be a better time to connect with your customers, especially if they’re busy with their own customers during the day.

Carefully plan where you will visit

Splitting your roadshow into regions and working your way around each, makes sense if time and budget allows.

Alternatively pick cities and major towns, assessing your database to focus on the locations that will provide the most valuable B2B leads. If you’re chasing B2C leads, depending on your target market, considering high footfall events and retail areas could prove beneficial.

Whilst you may automatically focus on areas that have provided higher sales previously, areas with lower sales could prove beneficial, since you could gain more potential sales from these opportunities to help boost demand.

Bear in mind that prospects may prefer to stay local rather than travelling long distances to see you.

Schedule launch activity

Schedule in save the date, event invitations and reminders well ahead of time to ensure a successful roadshow. Consider setting up appointments for those who want a specified time slot. This ensures you can staff your roadshow accordingly.

Use all available channels to promote your roadshow – Whilst e-mail and web site announcements work well, don’t forget to blog and use social media too.

Even posting about your event trailer or roadshow marketing vehicles as they are being built can help build the excitement. Once the roadshow marketing vehicles are vinyl wrapped is an ideal time to shout about your plans.

Once the roadshow starts, ensure you photograph and video it. This not only helps promote the roadshow whilst it’s running, but time lapse gives good video footage to use during and after the event to promote it and ensure a successful roadshow.

Get suppliers and partners to spread the word and harness social media

Well before the launch is a good time to communicate with interested parties, ensuring understanding of objectives and responsibilities for specific deliverables.

A well thought out social media plan can also help, ensuring all relevant information is distributed in an efficient and timely manner. Begin by announcing the roadshow tour dates and locations then build activity from there.

This is also a good time to carefully research and establish a roadshow hastag #.  Using it early in social media campaigns, will encourage followers to spread the word using it too.

Follow up

This is a critical stage. You should follow up on leads and thank everyone – those who attended and those who didn’t. This is an ideal opportunity to remind everyone about the event, spread the word about your successful roadshow, any promotions you are running, as well as the next stage of the successful roadshow (if relevant).

So there are our 5 tips for a successful roadshow. Tow Master can help any business planning a roadshow, with event trailer hire or purchase, available across the UK. We also build roadshow marketing vehicles, including exhibition vans.

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