You might think all you need to do is set up your booth and have handouts ready, but if you don’t stand out, you could blend into the crowd and not be remembered by your possible clients. As doing a trade show is a significant expense (marketing material, custom printed booth, travel, etc.) you want to get the best return as possible on your investment of attending the show. This article will go over a few tips that will make your company stand out and remembered at your next trade show.
You are registered for the show and have a booth. Now, how will people know you’re there? Pre-show promotion is a crucial part of every trade show. Online marketing is used through social media hashtags and targeted promotions or e-mail blasts to industry-specific or purchased trade show attendee lists. Other options include paid advertising with the show. Most trade shows have the opportunity of “bag stuffers” where each attendee would receive your ad with the package they pick up at the beginning of the show. You can get featured on the trade shows e-mail promotions, social media, and website. Of course, if you have contacts that are going to be attending, give them a call and book an appointment.
Don’t plan on putting out a table with some catalogs and sit behind it thinking people will approach you with interest, do something to get their attention and draw them in! Promote a contest with prizes (also a great way to collect contact information), have games in your booth, give out food/drinks or items people will keep and use. If your product is something engaging, itself set your booth up so people can test it out.
Make sure your company name, logo and what you do is evident within looking at your booth for 5 seconds. You want people to know what service/product you’re providing immediately and stop if they are interested instead of just walking by. Custom canopy tents, table covers, backdrops and other items are an excellent use for this. Event flags also help people see your booth from a distance. With most trade shows, there are usually chances to sponsor where you can advertise with banners, flags or branded arches at entry points to the convention center or industry events. The more presence you have at the show, the more you will be remembered!
If you are attending a show, most people there are part of or related to your target market. It is an excellent chance to learn more about them! Ask questions while you are there to find out more about them. It’s an opportunity to find out buying seasons, where to target your marketing, learn about your competitors, how your product/service gets used. It’s a great chance to find out what your target market is looking for in a company like yours and then you can grow your business to meet these needs.
Outside of your booth is a great chance to learn about the industry. What is new, who provides what, maybe the people in the other booths can be your clients too? It’s an excellent opportunity to network and find ways to grow your business other than waiting for people to come to you. It’s also a good time to do some competitor research. What are their show specials? What products/services are they promoting? How do you differentiate between them? It would be a waste to spend the entire show in your booth.
The last tip is to have fun at the show! You will want to stay professional, but that doesn’t mean be boring. Most shows have networking events outside of the show itself where you can meet people. Not only the networking dinner, but a lot of shows also have fun runs, trips to sporting games, concerts and other events after the show. It is is a great way to meet people outside of your booth area, and maybe some of these people will come by your booth the next day who might not have otherwise.
The show is over. You’ve backed up your booth and traveled home, mission complete, right? Well, wrong. The most important part of the show begins now, the follow-up! You will need to organize all your contacts, enter them into your sales management system, and organize mailing lists. From here on it is up to you to qualify and contact these people to turn them into clients. Don’t let your leads become cold or stolen by your competitors.
With these tips, you should have the tools you need to make your next trade show a success to grow your business.