For any new company, trade shows as a form of direct marketing are an invaluable chance to grow your business, increase brand awareness, make sales, and provide excellent networking opportunities. There are always hundreds taking place all year round and are in major cities across the world. This type of event is really just about displaying your product or service to the general public and industry insiders. Believe us, everyone wants to be impressed and is looking for the next big thing, which hopefully is your own business.
Ideally, you’ve been planning for your first trade show for at least two or three months in advance, because if your plan is “to wing it,” then things will fall apart very quickly and you’ve lost a great opportunity to influence attendees.
There is always a lot of competition at every trade show, so the better prepared you are, the better your chances are of expanding your business for the future. Consider the following tips and bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy when it comes time for your first trade show.
Take along the best of the best
As every booth at a trade show needs to catch someone’s attention, your team is going to have to be very outgoing, talkative, polite, fun, and very friendly. It’s not unheard of to hire staff who specialise in working at trade shows, as even if they don’t officially work for your company, you need people who can strike up conversations with strangers and sell anything to anyone. If possible, you’ll need someone from sales, a tech specialist, and a public relations expert to help answer press-related queries. Three or four people should do the trick, but as these events are long, allow members regular breaks to restore energy. Dressing in the same outfit wouldn’t hurt, either, as this helps the idea of a “team” mentality.
Set up meetings beforehand
Knowing ahead of time that you’ve got several chances to impress attendees with a meeting is a very good feeling. It’s always possible to ask the organisers for a list of guests attending the event, so you can send out a few emails or messages on social media to those you think might benefit from your company’s product or service. If you do this several days beforehand and again on the morning of the event, it sets up some exciting opportunities when things get rolling.
Find comfortable chairs, a table, and some freebies
Fatigued attendees would love nothing more than resting at your booth for a while if it looks inviting. Providing a table with some chairs is a simple solution, but you’d be surprised at how many places don’t have this option. A recharging station for smartphones wouldn’t go amiss, either. What’s most crucial, however, is making sure you’ve brought along some freebies to hand out during the trade show. Even if it’s just a pen or a notepad, everyone loves free things, and if it’s emblazoned with your logo, then all the better for your company. Go online and browse around you’ll find lots of different suppliers offering business stationery you could give out as freebies. Plenty of business cards and brochures are also a must-have.
Be prepared to give many demonstrations
If someone wants to know how exactly your product or service works, then make sure you give them a complete explanation (product marketing 101). Don’t tell someone to watch a video online or organise another time to demonstrate, as this definitely won’t sit well. Attendees won’t take anything at face value and will just assume that everything works fine – they’ll want to see it with their own eyes. Furthermore, be prepared for any question that might come your way and have answers ready to go. If you look unrehearsed and unknowledgeable about your own business, then it’s a terrible first impression.
If you can manage to do all that and give 100% on the day, then you’re doing the best that you can! Trade shows are hard work, but can definitely pay off in the long run. Any chance to give your business more exposure and sales should undoubtedly be taken when possible.