Trade shows have an important role for many companies’ marketing strategies. They are places to show off your new products and services, meet clients and customers, and mix with other industry experts. But a successful trade show requires careful preparation on your part.
So what should you be doing to prepare properly?
Here are a few of the most important things to do to ensure your booth is a success at your next trade show.
Start Planning Early
The first thing to do is work out which trade shows you want to attend, and you should do this as early as possible so you can plan in advance. Try to go beyond the obvious ones and to look at smaller ones as well. Find the ones where your competitors are less likely to go, and make sure when you do attend that it will be worth your while.
Which types of potential customers are going to be in attendance? Who will be sponsoring? Who is speaking? These are all things to consider before you book your place, and only when you are sure should you spend money on a booth.
Determine Specific Goals
When you decide to attend a trade show, make sure you have specific goal for what you want to achieve by attending. Is it to meet new clients and customers, to network with other industry specialists, to sell more products, or for branding purposes? Decide what you want to achieve, and set specific targets.
How many meetings do you want to set up? How many leads? How many demos do you want to carry out? Come up with numbers and then you will be able to judge whether it has been a success.
Schedule Meetings in Advance
Reach out to people you know are going who you want to talk to, including vendors and other industry experts, as well as organizers of the event. Be brief in your introduction, and ask about speaking to them when you arrive. You could use LinkedIn and emails to get in touch, or contact them via mutual contacts on LinkedIn. Follow up with them if they don’t get back to you, and try to book in some meetings before you arrive.
Tell Everyone About Your Presence
Don’t go in without letting people know you are going to attend the trade show. Use social media by sending out reminders that you will be there along with the official hashtags for the event. Email your list, write a blog about it, and try to get people thinking of you before they attend, then they are more likely to look out for you.
Be Social at the Conference
People will be active on social media at the conference itself, so get involved. Use the hashtags, upload photos, provide anecdotes, and highlight any special offers you are running or competitions. Get people talking about you on the day, and get more visits.
Design a Fantastic Booth
Once you are at the trade show, you want to ensure you stand out and attract attention from the right people. There will be many opportunities for new meetings and demonstrations, but you need people to stop.
Use a professional design company to create your exhibit, and work with them to create the best design possible. This could be a company like Steelhead Productions with lots of experience, and you can use their creative flare with a focus on results to stand out and get more attention.
Invest in Giveaways
Giveaways are a great idea for any trade show. It can be something as simple as a pen, or something more unique. Make sure it is branded, and consider something useful. A bag that attendees can use for all their other freebies is a great branding opportunity.
Follow Up with Contacts
After the show, follow up quickly with the new contacts you have made. Reach out via LinkedIn or email, and this is a great way to solidify the connections you made. Remind them quickly about how you met, and make it personal to make more of an impact.
Train Up Your Staff
Make sure your staff know your objectives, and help them out by running some training events. Ensure they feel confident reaching out and greeting people, and they should know what is expected. Ensure they are approachable and engaging so they don’t sit glued to their laptop all day.
Get More from Your Next Trade Show
Attending trade shows can be a great way to network and market your company, and it can lead to some fantastic contacts and a boost in sales. Just make sure that you make the most of every trade show you attend by keeping these tips in mind.
About the author
Jake Knowles has been attending trade shows for many years, both as visitor and exhibitor. He writes about how to make your booth, or stand, standout from the crowd and get you some new business contacts.