If you are a small business owner, you know how important building a loyal customer base is. Taking your product and service to new potential buyers becomes supremely important for the success of your business. Trade shows can help you introduce your brand to new buyers and help promote your business on a grander level.
Trade shows are now happening online as well as offline. They can either spell success for you, or they can prove to be a futile endeavor. It all depends on your approach. If you are new to trade shows, you might need to prepare adequately so that the experience is worthwhile for the business. If you are investing in a trade for the first time, consider the following things:
1. Be Ready With a Plan
If you want to participate in a trade show, you need to plan how you will do it. There is a lot of competition, and you need to distinguish your product or service from your rivals. You need to decide what your goal is and work accordingly.
Planning is essential, whether it is selling a certain amount of inventory or building a customer base by contacting wholesale suppliers. Whatever your goal is, and there can be more than one, your preparation must be top-notch.
2. Do Your Research
It is normal to research any new thing thoroughly before considering participating in it. Trade shows are no different. Researching for trade shows would include looking for a show that would give you a greater return to your investment of participating in it. Researching would also let you know where you would be acquainted with your target audience so that you don’t invest in the wrong place. Research the trade show objectives and invest accordingly.
3. Know Your Audience
Following up with the research mentioned in the previous point, make sure you know what kind of audience you would be coming in contact with. More often than not, the attendees’ list is made available. If there is someone you want to do business with, send them a short email beforehand to visit you when they make their appearance. Understand the basics of email marketing to boost your traffic.
The email should be concise without bombarding them with information. If you think the audience is not what you were expecting but have already decided to participate, consider toning your services accordingly to appeal to the attendees. Market your services so that they reach the maximum number of people possible.
4. Set up a Budget and Get a Booth
Overspending can be a considerable risk when you are taking up a new project. Setting up a budget and sticking to it will ensure that your expenditure does not harm the business in the long run. Once you have set aside the money, book a space. The earlier you book a booth, the more cost-effective it would be as there are many discount offers for early bookings.
Booking a space or booth would include getting the information regarding the possible spaces available for rent and then understanding the best way to approach new customers. A typical 20 x 20 trade show booth design should be such that it places you in a unique space where you would get buyer traffic and would get a fair opportunity to promote your business. The size of your booth does not matter much as long as your approach is well-planned.
5. Designate Duties
Planning for a trade show can be done alone but executing it is another matter. Make sure you know the strengths of every team member you are taking on board with you. You can either pick a few people from your staff or hire a professional team that will help you organize and execute the entire plan. Choose people who are both professional and outgoing.
Play to your team’s strengths, keep a specialist for everything you would be dealing with on your team. Whether it is your expert salesman or your PR head, allot responsibilities keeping both technical and soft skills in mind. If you plan on presentations, it would be good to keep a tech-savvy person on your team. Also, be vocal about your brand by being informative. Do not oversell.
6. Give Freebies
Freebies might seem like a significant investment, especially when you are working on a tight budget. But if you want to have more traffic to your booth, freebies just might be the answer. Whether these are pens, notebooks, notepads, caps, or cookies, people will flock to your booth for the freebies, and if they like your product, they will stay.
This is a great strategy to attract attention, and you should not shy away from taking full advantage of it. If you find potential buyers at your booth, tell them about your product and try to make a sale. They might make a purchase simply because they have taken something from you and might feel obligated to make a purchase, But it will only happen if you are good at selling your service.
7. Advertising is a Must
Setting up a budget is crucial because you would need to take a portion of it for advertising. Advertising before a trade show would include notifying your existing contacts like your buyers, suppliers, and other business contacts. Along with this, you need to find a medium to spread the news to the maximum number of people possible.
Advertise your booth number and other details that will make locating you easier in the trade show. Advertise on your website as well. Also, remember to print out pamphlets and business cards so that you can pass them on to interested parties.
8. Social Media is your Friend
Advertising on social media is a big plus if you target your promotions right. Depending on your budget, you can research how to engage more people via social media or hire a social media manager. Use relevant hashtags and put your website link in all your social media profiles. Add your social media handles to your business cards and pamphlets, and use every opportunity to promote your appearance at the trade show.
Trade shows can be a very fulfilling experience if you know how to make them worthwhile. Research, look for opportunities you can take advantage of, invest in advertising and marketing. Play to your strengths, keep a goal in your mind, and work towards it. If you are new to trade shows, these tips have surely made you more familiar with how you can make your first trade show appearance a success.
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