Trade shows can be the perfect opportunity for your company to showcase its new products and make important business contacts. But they require careful strategic planning on your part, otherwise all the time and money you have invested into your booth will be wasted. If you’ve signed up for a big event, here are some things to remember that should ensure you make the best use of your time there:
The Right People: It’s very important that you find the perfect delegates to send to the trade show. If, for example, you’re looking to forge new partnerships or win new customers you should consider sending executives and key sales people. If you are targeting a niche market then you should send an employee who is an expert in this field. It also might be worth arranging for a team member to speak at the show in order to set your company up as an authority. If you do, then obviously you need to pick a member of the team with great public speaking skills.
Plan Meetings: Don’t just turn up at the show and expect to be overrun with new contacts. To help you hit the ground running you should have planned meetings well in advance with potential customers or business partners. In addition to individual meetings, a good idea for wider networking is to hold a cocktail reception or something similar in your hotel suite and give a brief presentation. Invite as many people as possible to this, and hold it early on during show so you can reap the benefits of those new contacts.
Marketing Is Key: If you’re not going to put as much effort into marketing your appearance at the show as you do into your strategy whilst you’re there, then you might as well forget it entirely. Prepare a press release about your presence and distribute it through all available channels – email mailing list, social media, industry portals and so on. This should highlight what you intend to be showcasing and where you can be found.
But in addition to pre-show publicity – and this is one thing that many companies forget – your marketing efforts should carry on after the show has finished. Have somebody there taking pictures or compiling video footage so you can post recap blogs or send out press releases after the event, reminding customers what you were showcasing and how successful it was.
Plan Your Booth Well: Pay attention to the design and placement of your booth. Ideally you want somewhere with a high level of footfall; but supposing you are not able to secure a great spot, you will still want it to stand out and draw people in. Make sure it’s large and eye-catching with some attractive visual displays. If you’re showcasing new products, they should be the focal point of your entire set-up and clearly and succinctly described. It’s a good idea to have some kind of interactive element to the product display so visitors can really come and engage with them. A few free giveaways never hurt as well, as they give a good impression and also serve as visual reminder of your company once the show is over.
Don’t Just Sell: This may seem strange given that the purpose of your presence at the trade show is probably to generate new business. But this is not the time to make a quick buck: visitors will quickly melt away if your delegates give the hard sell as soon as they get within a certain radius. The people you send should be your relationship builders – those who can network and secure good contacts to follow up on when they return to the office. Make sure you are listening to potential customers – asking about themselves, their business and their needs.
If you are not sure of all the marketing angles you should be promoting at your trade show or exhibition then search out an expert in exhibition marketing to assist you.