Succeeding at a trade show isn’t just a case of turning up and hoping for the best. Having a clear strategy is important for building strong leads out of the event. Here are just a few handy tips for acing it at your next trade show.
Start Planning Early
There are lots of benefits to planning far in advance. In most cases, the earlier you book your trade show space, the cheaper it will be – events organisers sometimes throw in discounts to those that book early. Starting planning early also allows you to shop around for displays, promotional products and other things you’ll likely need to purchase for the event. It could make the event more affordable overall – you can spread out the cost over a year rather than paying for it all a month in advance. On top of this, you can truly plan out what your objectives are in terms of which products/services you want to promote and how you plan to get people interested.
Invest In Professional Booth Design
Your booth needs to look eye-catching and professional. There are plenty of companies out there that can help you design a 10×20 trade show booth. Planning this early can allow you to work with designers and fine-tune your display. You may also want to consider other forms of display such as flags, banners, signs and balloons – whatever you think will grab people’s attention. Obviously, you should try to keep a tight budget, otherwise you could end up running the event on a loss. Similarly, don’t try to go too cheap as it could affect the quality of your display (always choose a reputable company to build your display).
Assemble Your Team
It’s possible to do a trade show on your own, but in most cases it will benefit to have a team of people to help. If you’re running a food stall, you may want people that can help cook and wash up – it could be beneficial to ask existing employees to help you. If you want help with sales, you may want to consider outsourcing some sales reps. Make sure to brief your team in advance so that they can research/train for the event.
Scope Out Your Competitors
You’ll be competing against lots of other companies for attention. Some of these may not be direct competitors, whilst others may be selling exactly the same product as you. It’s possible that you may be able to research into this beforehand – some events will release a map ahead of the event that shows where every company is, allowing you to research these companies online. At the event, you should also take time to check out all the stalls in your area to see what promotions and products they’re offering. This will allow you to find creative ways of setting yourself apart.
Get On Social Media (Before, During And After The Event)
Social media is a great platform for letting people know in advance about the event. You should also plug the event whilst you’re there – people will be using social media on their phones at the event and using the hashtag of the event in your posts could alert these people of your stall, encouraging them to drop by. Sharing news about the event afterwards could also help to remind social media users that you were there. All in all, it’s good marketing for encouraging people to check out your stall, as well as generating leads afterwards.
Give A Demo
A trade show could be a chance to demo your product so that people clearly understand its application. It can also make your booth more interactive. You could even allow people attending the event to try out products themselves. When it comes to large products and services that you may not be able to demo, consider creating a promotional video instead to help demonstrate what you can offer – this could be displayed on a screen outside your booth.
Consider Hosting A Competition
Competitions are great interactive events that are effective at generating leads. You could enter people into a prize draw by charging for raffle tickets or simply asking people to try and answer a question. You can then ask for people’s contact details to help reveal the results to them – this could be a good chance to sign people up to your mailing list (make sure to ask for their permission first). Use signage to clearly notify people of the competition and entice people over.
Hand Out Freebies
You can also entice people to your stall by handing out freebies. These could be promotional products containing your branding such as pens, baseball caps or yo-yos. Alternatively, you could hand out free food or drinks. If you’re food/drink company, these could be tasters of your product. If this isn’t the case, you may still be able to hand out free sweets, water bottles or alcoholic drinks to attract people (it’s a gimmick, but it works).
Offer Exclusive Promotions
Offering one-time exclusive promotions on your products/services can also help to generate leads. People may be more likely to buy products/sign up to your services there in fear of missing out on this exclusive deal. Make sure to advertise this promotion clearly with signage.
Spare Some Time For Networking
Trade shows can also be great opportunities for building relationships with other business owners – there are likely to be lost of people here within your niche that aren’t direct competitors who you can form cross-promotional marketing strategies with. Give yourself a free hour or two to browse around the other booths and talk to other business owners (and don’t dismiss other business owners coming to your stall who may be looking to do the same).