Attending trade shows is a big opportunity to develop new contacts, get your brand noticed and meet prospective clients. However, travelling overseas for an exhibition can be a huge investment and it is important to think strategically to ensure that your business stands out from the crowd.
Here are some tips for entrepreneurs:
When it comes to trade shows, location matters. Most trade shows provide businesses with the opportunity to choose prime locations at an extra price but you need to be quick to beat the opposition and get the best stalls. Some trade shows are so competitive that you may need to book your space up to a year in advance to avoid missing out on the best spots.
See what you're up against
Do your research before the big day. Check out who is attending: what are they selling? What are they bringing to the trade show? What is their target? Who are your competitors? Then you’ll have all the tools you need to stand out from the crowd!
Create an action plan
Start long before you get there! As soon you know you will be exhibiting at a tradeshow, create an action plan to identify key deadlines for deliveries, promotional requirements and any other things you’ll need. Having all of this mapped out from the beginning will decrease your chances of missing anything… and certainly decrease your stress level!
Invest in a great display… and get your branding right
First impression matters. If you want to look professional - and more investable – you have to invest in a great stand. Make sure you have a display that stands apart from the competition. Another way to get noticed is to have strong visual branding for your brochures, posters and advertising. Make sure your brand is consistent across all media - consider asking a professional for help with the visuals!
Prepare your staff
Make sure your team has the ability to showcase your products and services effectively. They’ll have to be efficient to get people’s attention. Make sure your staff are warm and friendly so they appear as approachable as possible; provide them with branded uniforms; teach them how to engage visitors in a pleasant way to avoid “hard selling”.
Before the trade show, action a social media plan. Share news of the event on social media and explain to contacts and clients why they should attend the show. You should also have a plan of action for during and after the trade show. A member of your team could live tweet the event and share everything as it happens. Make sure you’re aware of potential accounts, tags and hashtags that will be used during the event to make a bigger impact.
Involve your biggest clients
If you have some renowned clients… use them! Make sure their names can be seen in your display – you can use sentences “as seen on" or “approved by”. This will definitely provoke curiosity and increase your credibility.
Use creative tricks to get people's attention
You can beat big exhibitors even with a very small budget by getting people to interact. Hosting a competition can be a good idea: ask attendees to leave their business cards to win a sample of your product or a free trial of your service. Creating a video about your brand could also be a good asset. Instead of talking about your company, try a visual approach: a cool video will impress! Do something unique!
Give away some branded gifts
Trade show attendees love goodies! Something as simple as giving things away for free can create a buzz - make sure it's something fun and useful with your brand (and your contact details) on it so they will remember you when they need your services. Think about your target… what would they need? Get creative with your ideas!
Follow-up all leads
Get as many contact details as you can and send them an email within a couple of days after the show. It’s important to invest time after the event to follow up on useful leads. Prioritise in order to follow up with the ‘most important’ leads first.
If you have an upcoming trade show we can help! We can assist with your on-site media briefings, targeted content marketing for PR and digital channels, video production, website development/maintenance, or design. See you there!