Walking into a trade show can be incredibly overwhelming – hordes of people, endless rows of 10ft by 10ft trade show booths, a constant hum of chatter as people try to absorb the information overload. Nevertheless, it is an excellent opportunity to expand your customer base and gain business exposure. So, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd and ensure that your trade show experience pays dividends?
Brand it Like Beckham
Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Make sure that your brand is as instantly recognizable amongst the other businesses at the trade show. From the signage to the tasteful corporate gifts that you give people as a memento, consider how to best represent not only your logo but who you are as a company. If you pride yourself on being at the cutting edge of technology, your trade show stand should be at the cutting edge of technology too, with interactive displays to surprise and delight your visitors.
Lock in Appointments
As well as being a great place to drive new business, companies frequently use trade shows as a chance to meet and network with customers and show them new products or review business. Make the most of this opportunity by booking in appointment times in the lead-up. Some pre-planning will ensure that you meet up with all of your top clients and allow you to stagger the times that they visit the stand. You want to avoid being inundated with new and current customers at 4 pm on Friday after sitting around waiting for some action all day.
Promote in the Lead-Up
In the weeks preceding the fair, make sure that you advertise your attendance. If you create an icon with the trade fair logo, date and your stand number, you can add it to your website homepage, your email signature, your social media accounts, and any invoices or other communication that is sent out to customers.
Offer a Trade Show Deal
A special offer is always a good incentive to drive business, as long as it is targeted and strategic. For example, if your goal for the next trade show is to bring on new customers, think about the frustrations that they may have experienced with your competitors, and consider how you could structure an introductory offer to help them solve these challenges. Alternatively, if you want to increase business with your current customers, you may wish to package up various services that could add value to their business, to encourage them to consider expanding their commitment to you.
Follow Up Your Leads
It may sound obvious, but one of the critical ingredients for a successful trade show is to ensure that you have an effective method to track new leads, record their areas of interest, and follow up in a timely fashion with relevant information. You and your team will have met these people face-to-face at the trade show. Don’t make the mistake of sending a mass marketing email afterward and losing this personal touch. By responding individually and including helpful information that is relevant to that person’s business, you are much more likely to create a new customer.
Make the most of this opportunity to show who you are and what you do, and you should walk away with a solid list of new leads to pursue.