Recognition is the ultimate goal when you’re in the midst of starting a startup or a small business. That is what will get you new clients, additional customers, and push your products into new and uncharted territories. You can go all out when it comes to your marketing techniques, but appealing to your customers is only one side of the coin. To really get yourself out there using a method that encompasses your customers and clients, a trade show is an excellent avenue. Trade shows or exhibitions offer your small company a major opportunity to get noticed on a massive scale, but every other small business would have the same idea, so you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd, which is quite a challenge. Use the opportunities presented to you by doing any of the following.
The right kind of attention, of course! Attracting customers or potential clients to your stall by getting people interested by having banners, competitions, trinkets, or interactive elements like touch screens. Foot traffic is the name of the game here, and so the more people you can attract, the higher the amount of people that will go away with something. Even those that don’t buy anything while they’re at your stall can buy something later on, and if you provide them with a small memento, it keeps you in their minds. You can buy simple items like waist packs with your company name on them from sites like Dynamic Gift for a small cost. It’s a very simple thing to get attention, but keeping it is harder. So even after a potential customer has walked away, if you can find a way to burrow into their brain using appealing imagery, subtle sales techniques, and engaging elements, it will work magic for you later on, not just during the trade show.
Set Yourself Goals
It’s a simple question, what do you want to gain from being at the trade show? Is it a wider knowledge of your brand? Is it more interaction with customers? Is it to interact with potential clients? It’s better to know your objectives before heading in so you can plan your goals and list them in order of priority so you can take the appropriate steps to implement those goals in a sensible way. You only have a few hours to make your mark, so you need to be organized and plan ahead. Work with your staff members to create a strategy that meets your needs and follow it exactly.
Do Your Research
Long before you think about how to design your booth, you need to look into which trade shows are particularly useful for your goals. Look at any of the following to get some inspiration on which trade shows you think are best, the number of businesses that exhibit there, the attendee demographics by job, the average number of attendees (or potential customers). It can be a costly expense to advertise at a trade show, so you need to be sure you are picking the right one(s). Speak to some other businesses who have previously been at that event and ask for some honest feedback so you can decide which shows have the best return on investment.
Register For The Event
Do this as early as you can before the event itself because early registration can potentially save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in registration fees. Registering is generally pretty straightforward and most trade show organizations will now let you register online. It may sound like a simple thing, but in the haze of getting ready for the event there have been some businesses that completely forget!
Advertising And Preparation
For the lead up to the event, be sure to promote your appearance at the trade show through direct mail to confirmed attendees or a list of targeted people. Post it on your website, and via every other campaign you can think of. Email campaigns, newsletters, social media, on your blog, or even part of your email signatures are the most common ways, but if you can make the most of any others without over-saturating your methods, then go for it. Another way to get some more attention is to hold a contest, where you can draw a prize. Always make sure that you notify attendees of where your booth is located so that they can find you. If you plan on networking with a potential client, email them in advance and notify them of your attendance and why it is a great time for them to talk. Granted, they will be busy too, especially if they are attending the same show, and if other businesses have the same idea you’ll need to make your email catchy, but also be sure to contact them weeks in advance, at least three weeks before the show. Another little trick to stand out is to offer a meet up time that sticks in the mind, such as 1.41. It’s very simple, but the client will remember you easier.
Preparation is always key, and so you should make sure there are enough supplies. Everything from business cards to giveaways and brochures. Be sure to make a note of the number of attendees and then work out a probable percentage of those that could visit your stall and bring the appropriate amount. However, all the products and lovely designs in the world will never replace approachable members of staff. So train staff up to be engaging, sociable, but most of all, knowledgeable about your company. They are representing your brand so you don’t want the wrong type of person. Make sure they know about new products and services, competitors, market trends, and so on. Engaging people with intelligent conversation is the real way to build a rapport and to develop customer relationships that will last. In addition, encourage your staff to get contact information by using a leads qualification survey, and also to visit other competitors’ stalls to size up the competition.