In today’s online world, trade shows may sound a bit old fashioned but for many businesses across the world trade shows are responsible for generating billions in revenue and launching new products to the market that may have otherwise struggled to get exposure and gain traction.
Trade shows can be expensive for businesses to show at and even costly to send staff to, so it’s important to maximise ROI on any that you decide to attend, whether buying or selling.
Today we’ll focus on tips for if you decide to showcase your product at a trade show.
1. Before – Research, research, research
You’ll rarely get a chance to be in the same building as so many people who can make a huge difference to your business, don’t let a lack of preparation let opportunities slip through your fingers.
Once you’ve made the decision to attend, that’s when the work starts. It’s time to look at past regular attendees, those signed up for the upcoming show and any information on important people who are attending.
Create a mini database of all of the opportunities you can, contact them ahead of the day of the trade show, ask if they have 5 minutes on the day to meet with you, or simply introduce yourself and say you’re looking forward to seeing them. Creating an initial touchpoint and already having that recognition on the day makes things significantly easier.
Tip: follow people of influence in your industry on twitter to see if they mention their attendance, or even tweet them to ask.
2. During – Attract attention
If you’ve attended a trade show previously as a delegate, you’ll realise you are overwhelmed by things to do and businesses vying for your attention. For businesses it becomes more of a challenge to stand out and get the attention your businesses needs.
Delegates are looking for something meaningful but using techniques to grab their attention and plant some seeds in the first place is okay.
For example, use opportunities like breaks and lunchtime to have a wander around and hand out some branded coffee cups with fresh coffee in them ready to go. It can be a more natural way of starting a conversation or simply making them aware of your face and brand name so that the next time they wander past your stall, they’ll be much more likely to interact with you.
And just because you’re at a face-to-face event don’t be afraid of combining the day with things like social media to lure people over. A simple social media giveaway such as “the first person to get to our stand in the next 30 seconds and shout wins a high-value prize”, like a super-useful laptop bag, is a great way to create a little buzz and get things moving.
3. After – Be remembered & follow up
If you followed through with our before and during advice, you should now have at least a handful of warm leads that if not quite ready need to be nurtured.
One of the most common ways to stay in delegates mind is with some free swag, that’s both a blessing and a curse because you’ll need to do something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Try and get the biggest budget you can for your freebies and give delegates something they will remember you for, even if you just give them away from your premium freebies to a select group of delegates who you’re interested in having further discussions with after the trade show.
The freebie alone can act as a great conversation starter after the show, ask them how they’re finding their new gadget.
Outside of the giveaway email or phone call following up your cold and warm leads is vital to maximise your ROI from the event. And that doesn’t need to be pushy a simple call or email to say it was great to meet them and do they have 5 minutes to discuss further is often enough to keep the ball rolling and keep them moving down the sales funnel.
We hope these before, during and after trade show tips are enough to help you win new business and develop new relationships that will see your business flourish for years to come.