Have you been interested in marketing your small business at an industry trade show? Conferences, conventions, and trade shows can be effective ways to gain exposure for your business. But before you spend money on an expensive event display, take the time to plan ahead for success.
Here are a few pro tips for maximizing your trade show experience.
1. Set clear goals for your trade show participation
“What do you want to get out of it? How many attendees do you want to stop at your booth How many leads do you hope to generate? How many products do you want to sell? Are you focusing on promotion or hoping to launch a new product?
You can have more than one goal, of course, but the point is that you need to be clear about what your participation in the trade show is going to achieve. Determine what your ROI would be – if one new customer helps you justify your being at the event, then focus on getting that customer.”
2. Make a grand entrance
“Once you set these goals, start implementing them early. There are many tools available to you even before you hit the trade show floor. Try buying the pre-show registration list, and connecting with trade show attendees via emails, postcards, and social media before AND after the show.
“It is a good idea to cross-reference lists of trade show attendees with a list of your current customers, and send those people personalized invitations so they know you will be there,” said Christina Hundschell Dela Cruz, Senior Manager of Business Development at EBD Group, the leading partnering firm for the global life science community.”
Source: CG Life
3. Choose an appropriate show
“Trade shows vary in shape and size. Some are industry-specific, while others have large consumers. Nonetheless, you should ensure the show you want to attend fits your business.
As you choose a show based on size, you should note that large consumer shows might have more foot traffic but not as many qualified leads as industry-specific shows. Lastly, you should consider the cost of exhibiting at the show. Ensure a good return on investment (ROI) since trade shows are expensive.”
Source: Superior Expo Services
4. Choose a good location
“As they say in real estate, it’s all about the location. This can also be applied to trade shows. Being able to put your booth next to exits, entrances or connecting corridors gives you an immediate advantage. You get more exposure and more visitors. So, plan ahead and book your space at a trade show, well in advance. Even if you plan to have a 10×10 booth for rent, you can get a significant leg up by having the freedom to choose your own location.”
Source: Exponents Insta USA
5. Attract attention
“Attract attendees to your booth through banners, banner stands, giveaways, contests or prize drawings, literature, and interactive elements such as touch screens to gather customer information, demonstrate a product, or conduct a survey. Choose a unique theme for your booth and make it interesting, fun, and engaging. Key sales and marketing messages, eye-catching signage, informative literature, appealing giveaways, and engaging elements will generate a higher volume of booth traffic.”
Source: Snap Surveys
6. Get social
“Use social media to generate more interest among trade show goers by tagging photos of them in front of your logo on Instagram or Twitter. Hire a photographer and an established figure, like a local sports celebrity or cheerleader, so people can take pictures with them at your booth and share on social media outlets.
Go a step further and promote the use of a relevant and creative hashtag to use on Instagram and Twitter. If you get a few dozen photos posted, you’re putting your brand in front of potentially tens of thousands of people on social media.”
7. Check the event schedule before you go
“Check the schedule of events before you go to the trade show. You may find that one or more of them conflict, and you will not be able to go to both (and will need to make a last-minute decision at the show). Or, you might see a great session on a new technology that you want to learn more about – and then want to participate in that session. If you register online ahead of time, it is very quick and easy. Most shows have their sign-up capability on their website.”
Source: Everything Tradeshows
8. Attend workshops and seminars
“If you’re not tied to a booth all day, or have knowledgeable staff to stay with the booth, attend the workshops and seminars that are most relevant to you. Also, attend the ones your potential clients may attend. By attending a workshop you’re already an expert in, you can show your expertise. Ask questions and offer insights, noting your experience in brief so you don’t sound like you’re bragging.
As the expo ends, mingle with people exiting the doors or are waiting to talk to the presenters. Talk with the presenters if you feel the relationship would benefit you. Better yet, ask the conference organizer if you can participate on a panel during the next expo.”
Source: Small Business Chronicle
9. Follow up
“If you follow these tips, you’ll collect dozens of business cards at the conference. But that’s just the beginning. On the plane back home, write a personalized email to every contact. Briefly rehash what your company does and why it could be interesting for that contact. Send emails that are friendly, personal and short, and watch the replies fly in.”
10. Review your team’s performance
“How did you perform based on the goals you listed? How many prospects did you manage to capture and convert? Were the costs of attending the trade show worth the revenue you received? Conduct a debriefing to evaluate all KPIs and assess the true ROI of your trade show marketing strategies.”
Source: Sales Hacker
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