Trade shows can be absolutely essential events for your business. It’s important not to underestimate their importance. Unfortunately, many businesses underestimate their importance even when they’re about to attend one!
It’s crucial that you really make an impact with visitors when you’re going to one of these things. So take this advice on board; otherwise, you may find that going to the trade show was a wasted opportunity.
Get the Marketing Right
A lot of people imagine trade shows incorrectly. They think that the people who attend them – and by “people,” I mean the visitors who are potential clients, customers, partners, and members of the public – go in without much research. That they go to the event just to see what’s there, because they’re interested in the particular trade that the show is focussing on. But this is a misconception – or, at least, it’s not true for a significant portion of this potential audience. So you’ve actually got to use your marketing skills before you get to the event.
Many people who attend this event know what companies are going to be in attendance. They go because they want to see particular companies to see what they have to offer in person. Don’t get me wrong – they’re also looking to be surprised, and will spend most of their time checking out completely new stands with young businesses. But they also like to know what companies will be there. So make sure you’re actually promoting your appearance at this thing. Social media is, of course, one of the best ways to do this.
Don’t be Boring with the Display
When people think of trade shows, they usually think of the displays. The stands or booth that you use is going to be extremely important when it comes to drawing people in. After all, if you’re a small business, it’s unlikely that the majority of the people who are attending will have heard of you. Your company name may not be enough to entice them to check you out. (Unless you’ve picked a really good company name.)
It’s worth remembering that it’s not just about the color scheme you use. This being said, you don’t want the display to be complex or over-elaborate. The best ones usually turn out to be deceptively simple. And you’ve got a budget to keep in mind here, too. People should be able to tell what it is your company does with a brief glance. Keep it bold and use quality materials. These are key elements to a great trade show display.
Give away Practical Gifts
You don’t want to give away really basic junk. This is what so many companies do when they go to trade shows. You need to keep in mind that a lot of companies are going to be handing out freebies at these events (if not all of them), so you need to find a way to stand out. These visitors can only carry so much home with them, after all! So don’t be tempted to give away generic junk that is only around because it has your company name on it.
The more useful your freebies are, the most likely it is that people are going to take them. And if those items see frequent use by people who take them, it will make it easier for them to remember you in the future. Pens and notepads are obviously great examples. But you could go a step further and look into branded USB sticks.
Bring a Mascot Along
Certain businesses do really well if they have a company mascot of some kind. Thankfully, a trade show is the perfect arena to bring out that mascot. You can do so in several ways, and it’s worth remembering that the design of the character can often be enough to get people to come to your stand. This is especially true if your business is aimed at families and children will be at the event!
Perhaps the most popular ways of doing this at trade shows are via a costume and plush dolls. If you can get a costume of your mascot made, then find someone in your company willing to dress up and come along! You can also get a company to help with making your plush doll, which you can then give away at the event.
Remember the People Skills
You’re going to be interacting with a lot of people at this event. That means you’re going to need your most charismatic employees helping out at the stand. A lot of companies rely on the people skills of their marketing department or people a bit higher up the corporate ladder. But this may not always work out the best for your company.
It’s likely that there are more employees willing to join you at this trade event than you think. And it’s certainly to your advantage that you cast your net wide, here. You need to ensure the people at your display are friendly, funny, and very knowledgeable about your business and products.
So many businesses get this part of the trade show wrong. They think that everyone available needs to be at the company display at all times. They believe that going to the show itself is outgoing enough. They also tend to see all the surrounding displays as enemies. But you shouldn’t just remain stuck to your area for the entire show – and you should certainly go out of your way to interact with other businesses, even if they are your rivals!
One of the best things about trade shows is that they offer amazing opportunities for networking. And any business that wastes opportunities to network isn’t going to be around for very long! So you need to peel yourself away from your display and start exploring the event. See what the other companies have to offer. Perhaps you could strike up new friendships, exchange tips, or even find a new business partner.