Trade shows are, before anything else, places to network and expand your contact base. They are also effective in booking new business, maintaining existing relationships with your customers and keeping your brand powerful in your market. How you promote your business at trade shows depends on your budget, communication skills and charm. However, there are multiple cost-effective ways you can use to make the most out of any trade show.
Before even going to a trade show, reach out to industry experts, conference organizers and vendors. Introduce yourself and ask them for a few minutes of their time you’re at the trade show. Sending an email and a LinkedIn message at the same time will provide the highest response rate. Before you start sending out cold emails, sift through LinkedIn, other social media and your life for mutual contacts who could introduce you. Write a concise message, consisting of five to seven sentences max.
You will not be able to sell in person when you are away from your booth or are with other attendees. Create easy-to-read sell sheets that potential buyers can pick up and quickly view your benefits. Avoiding to clutter texts with lots of information on the front page, like technical data, will make your sell sheets more readable and therefore, more likely to be remembered. Unless technical information and in-depth approach is your unique selling point, don’t make your copy too complex. Link your elevator speech points to your sell sheet copy and include your phone number, website, and email address. Stable your business card to each sell sheet if you want to give people a personal contact or are on a commission.
Go and socialize
The point of a trade show is networking, not getting stuck on your smartphone or sitting in conference sessions all day long. Socializing events are where you’ll start all those important conversations. Although they may cost a few extra dollars, still sign up for them. Bring a lot of business cards, and use reliable business card printing services to create brand new cards for any new trade show. Having brand new business cards for every trade show lets you use more efficiently their unique benefits. For instance, their ability to remind your customer about your business every time they look at it. Also, don’t limit the socializing only to formal events. The more genuine and open conversations you start the more doors will open for you.
Location still holds the number one place for propelling your business to success. Customers will always associate your location and your business, making it a single term. Often a trade show will offer prime location booths for an extra price. If you’re willing and able to pay this, look into it as early as possible. Usually, trade show’s prime locations sell out quick; some are even reserved way advanced, so you may need to plan out everything even further, like next year. This is also something to consider when negotiating a contract. When you plan on attending a trade show long term, year after year, prime location is something that you can leverage at that time.
Offer Workspace and free Wi-Fi
Although offering workspace while having a small booth is downright impossible, when you have the space to share, try sharing it. Offer a few comfortable chairs, desk spaces, and plugs. Attendees always like to have a place to relax and complete some work – letting your network in the process. Not to mention that people will remember this good deed. Free Wi-Fi is only a natural extension of this. How else would they use your offered workspace? However, some locations provide free Wi-Fi to all, free of charge. Maybe you can even tie your product or service into this offering. At the very least, ensure that visitors have to visit your booth for the Wi-Fi password.
To carry off a successful trade show, you need to do some planning. As trade shows are often a risk since they’re costly and short term, it is imperative to do enough to make sure you succeed. These points we have illustrated attract buyers, but only with some research and planning ahead of time. If you regularly attend trade shows, you will form a routine; but even with it, ensure to constantly continue to innovate and improve.