Where can you make connections, cement relationships, find potential customers and keep up to date on your industry-all in one place? At a trade show, of course.
The following 7 points have been adapted from the U.S. Small Business Association’s article,”Effectively Marketing Your Business through Trade Shows.”
Set goals for the show. What do you want to accomplish at the event? Do you want to talk to a 15 of potential clients and leave with their contact information and qualified leads? Set specific goals and make them quantifiable.
Plan your logistics. Think about everything you might need for your booth – from signage to sample products to laptops for making presentations. No detail is too small to ignore. Know what’s included in your booth space rental and what’s not. Will you need power in your booth? Is it worth springing for a fancier booth or bigger signage? Figure out the costs of shipping everything you’ll need.
Sweat the small stuff. No detail is too tiny to consider when making your exhibit run smoothly. If it’s not included in the list of items provided to attendees, you probably won’t get it-so don’t assume you’ll be able to find things like scissors, tape or an extra extension cord at the venue. Bring them along.
Staff adequately. Your staff is part of your marketing message, so make sure they’re dressed appropriately (business casual is fine for most trade shows), high-energy and friendly people. Rather than just sitting and waiting for people walking by to talk to them, the people in your booth need to reach out and engage passersby. You should have at least two people in your booth at all times, which means you really need at least three people so one person can take breaks.
Bring marketing materials. First rule of trade show: Bring twice as many business cards as you think you could possibly need-and then bring a few more. If you’re doing it right, you’ll always run out. Also figure out what type of marketing materials you should bring for the goals you have in mind. This could be brochures, samples of your work or your products, forms people can fill out for more information. Promotional products such as pens, caps and tote bags are always huge hits at trade shows. To get the most from these, ask for something in exchange by having the recipient fill out a form with their name, e-mail and other information.
Get known as an expert. Most trade shows feature seminars, panels or workshops. Share your expertise by offering to participate in an event that’s relevant to your business. You’ll have a chance to promote your business and will meet lots of new contacts.
Socialize. Much of the key business of trade shows takes place after the exhibit booths close. Don’t hole up in your hotel room; attend mixers and make plans to meet up with other attendees for drinks or dinner. If you’re on Twitter, it’s easy to find out what people are doing and start to build relationships.
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Full article may be found here: https://www.sba.gov/blogs/effectively-marketing-your-business-through-trade-shows