Trade shows are one of the best ways to network within your industry and connect with potential clients, but many businesses are afraid to throw money at a trade show without any guaranteed results. Luckily, getting your money’s worth out of a trade show is more a matter of strategy than anything else.
Here are a few trade show tips to ensure your success.
Before the Show
Your trade show success is usually proportional to how prepared you are. Before the show, check in with the venue to make sure you’ll have everything you need to run operations from your booth: this includes wi-fi and an electrical outlet for you to plug in any equipment you might have.
Get strategic about your handouts. Don’t just bring business cards: your potential clients will end up collecting hundreds of those before the show is over. Instead, make your materials stand out. You have to create an impression that they still remember once the show is over and they’re sorting through stacks of the papers they picked up at the event.
Make sure your handouts and business cards remind visitors of who you are and what you do. If you can, match the handouts to the design of your booth so they’ll be able to make the connection once the show is over. You can also consider printing them on unusually-shaped paper for added uniqueness.
It also helps to bring swag to give away, but think outside the box: everyone brings lanyards and pens. Think of an item that someone would want to use, such as flash drives, PopSockets, or mints that taste good. The Balance has an excellent article on trade show tips that can help you determine what kind of product is right for your business.
Trade Show Booth Tips
The next step is setting up an impressive, memorable booth. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s a good idea to consult a quality branding marketing agency that can give out ideas and execute the graphics and signing. Find a small, affordable partner that can position you well. It’s worth the investment for a great booth you can use over and over again.
Here’s a killer trade show tip: make sure you have motion in your booth. An easy way to do this is to have a TV or monitor with a video loop of your company doing whatever you do. Even on a low budget, you can accomplish this by setting up a projector screen or at the very least, your laptop.
You can also brainstorm an activity to host at your booth to generate buzz. Setting up a mini golf hole, creating a simple game, or DIY-ing a photo booth are all ways to get people interested in your booth.
Trade Show Success Strategies
At the trade show, it’s all about making connections. To do this, you need to adequately staff your booth. You need to have both a pitcher and a catcher. The pitcher is in the aisle interacting with prospects and directing them to the catcher for more in-depth information. This will help you handle a rush with ease, without missing out on prospective clients.
Trade show tip: keep your booth staff standing and working hard. Nothing is more uninspiring than to see people sitting down and looking bored. Your staff should be friendly, engaged, dressed professionally and ready to jump into conversations with ease.
In addition to giving away your handouts and other items, set up a raffle to gather contact information. You can offer a chance to win a complimentary service or a big prize to encourage signups.
Most importantly, follow up promptly with your leads. Don’t wait for them to forget who you are: according to these trade show tips from Forbes, you want to be shooting them an email as soon as that very night.
Above all, your goal is to communicate how you will solve your customers’ problems. If you are just another vendor with product samples, you lose. If you can craft the message that you are faster, better, cheaper, easier, or more innovative than your competition, you’ll have the other wannabes eating your dust.
I highly recommend that you consider introducing your business at an industry trade show. Your goal should be to create new prospects, leads, and ideas. This article illustrated some trade show tips that you can quickly implement. Click on my contact form and let’s have a video call to discuss other ways to exploit all of your marketing efforts.