Trade shows can be excellent for expanding your reach, but like many things in life, the more effort you put in them, the more likely it is you’ll see great returns. Keep reading to get some tips on how to make your trade show experiences terrific instead of terrible.
Do Your Research
Many people who attend trade shows are in the mood to buy things and network with people, but it’s still worth doing some research to find out whether the people who tend to go to a particular trade show are likely to be interested in whatever you’re selling.
You can find out about trade show demographics online, and it’s also smart to see if people in your circle has attended in the past. If you find someone who has gone before, be sure to ask what his or her impressions were about the general atmosphere and the attitude of fellow attendees.
Send the Right People
Choose carefully when deciding which of your staff members will be sent to a particular trade show. Usually, you’ll want to pick people who are very personable and engaging, and who are knowledgeable of the product.
Your trade show staff members are representatives of the company at large. Make sure they have an extensive knowledge of whatever you sell and can also give some insight into how your business or a particular product came to be.
When you send people to a trade show for the first time, always pair them up with veterans who will be able to lead by example and make the newer representatives feel more confident by showing them how it’s done.
Depend on Social Media
Your social media strategy should certainly have a trade show component. You can consider live tweeting during the event or running Facebook giveaways that are exclusive to the people who are at the trade show.
Having a solid social media strategy not only helps strengthen awareness of your brand but it also gives the impression you have your finger on the pulse of current events in your industry. Before heading to a trade show, settle on a hashtag you’ll use consistently leading up to and during the event. That should help create momentum.
Use Your Logo Liberally
If your company has a logo, a trade show is the ideal place to display it proudly. Do an inventory of all the things you normally bring to a trade show and determine if there are ways to add the logo to those items.
Also, if you give things away to trade show attendees, those free items should definitely include a logo, along with a way for a potential customer to find out more. Including your website address or a phone number allows someone to easily take the next step once she or he has found out the basics about what your company does.
Ask the Trade Show Organizers if You Can Write a Guest Blog
Sometimes, making the most of your time at a trade show requires a little reciprocity. Specifically, consider reaching out to the organizers and seeing if you can write a guest blog post that simultaneously promotes the trade show as well as your products. Then your company gets promotion as well as the trade show.
Try to use a tone that’s relatable and likely to resonate with other exhibitors and consumers alike.
Make Sure to Collect Email Addresses
Email addresses are valuable marketing tools, because they help connect you with possible customers. In many scenarios, it’s very hard to get customer emails, and you may even have to work with third-party companies in order to do so.
With that in mind, don’t overlook the resource you have at your disposal. People who come to trade shows often willingly give their emails out, especially in return for something.
You can either do things the old fashioned way and have a simple clipboard with a sheet for people to write their email addresses, or take a more modern approach by handing people tablets or laptops to give their details via online forms. Think about offering a discount code, ebook or other perk to anyone who gives their email.
Make Your Display Memorable
There’s a certain degree of homogeneity in many trade show booths. They are usually very simple and to the point, and might have solid-color backgrounds. You may want to experiment with aesthetic techniques that stand out a little more and also help strengthen your brand image.
For example, if you are going to a travel trade show as a company that offers customized trips to Scotland, your display could feature a Scottish tartan pattern and maybe even a soundtrack of Scottish airs playing softly in the background.
Accessories like LED lights can make your display more noticeable by highlighting what you have to offer. The key is to catch attention without being annoying. Also, whether you’re revamping your display or building one for the first time, make things as streamlined as possible and remember you’ll need to settle on something that’s easy to pack away when necessary. The key is to have a display that’s streamlined and not stuffy.
Follow Up With Your Trade Show Team
No matter which techniques you try to get more traction at trade shows, it’s crucial to meet with each of your representatives and get feedback from them about what worked well and what didn’t. Having an adaptable mindset is essential, because it should allow you to adjust according to the responses you get.
It’s useful to keep track of all the feedback in one place, so you can look back at it and discover whether there are links within the data. For example, you may find people at a general outdoors trade show really liked the keychain flashlights you gave away, while the attendees who came to a trade show that’s specifically for recreational vehicles particularly loved the drink can insulators.
Now that you’ve learned practical tips for how to make the most of your time at trade shows, hopefully you’ll see each outing as a constantly evolving process that’s driven by customer feedback, new marketing methods and changes in your industry.