09 Aug Trading Up: How to Have a Successful Trade Show
Trade shows can be a fantastic way to make sales, increase your network, find vendors or partners and assess the competition. But if you aren’t prepared in advance, organized on the day, and strategic afterwards, you can end up wasting time and resources. But there are steps you can take to ensure you have a successful trade show – building your brand as creative, relaxed, informed or whatever you want your business to project.
Ways to make sure that you have a successful trade show:
Line up. Make sure you’re participating in a trade show that lines up with your business. For example, If your business is bath and beauty products, choose a show where your kind of products are closely aligned with the main theme. While a general home show may have some participants who are interested that product is not what motivated them to attend.
Keep fit. Like any other marketing or operating expense, set a budget. It’s ok if you haven’t attended a show before, your budget is still your budget, and you need to stick to it.
Do not go overboard — you don’t want the additional pressure of trying to make enough sales to offset your overspend. There are lots of great opportunities at a trade show not directly related to sales; don’t miss them because you’re so focused on small transactions.
Promote yourself. Most companies fail to let friends, neighbors, and even family know they are participating in a trade show. If they can stop by throughout the event, it can be a welcome break. Plus, it means you’ll be sure to have some visitors to your booth, and interest breeds interest.
And it should go without saying you should have some sort of strategy to let your customers know as well. An email marketing strategy is very affordable. And you can reinforce that with Twitter updates and post Facebook posts. Many trade shows will provide small leaflets to the vendors. Put them out in your store so customers are reminded when they visit.
Create a show special. Bait your customers to come to the show by offering a “special” just for them. You can do this by emailing your customers a printable coupon to use at the show or having small samples (made by you) of some of the products to hand out to them and their friends. A little bit of enticement can lead to unexpected sales increase.
Get prepped. Make sure to get everything ready for the trade show in advance. Trade show days are long, and you don’t want to up late the night before. If you are traveling a long distance, consider having materials shipped in advance.
Shipping the products separately will save time and energy, and if you forget something, you’ve got the space to bring it wit you. And do invest in your materials – don’t rely on signs printed on paper — have a few done professionally.
Hold a contest or offer a giveaway at your booth. Everyone loves free stuff. Whether it’s a sample of a product, or just a memorable giveaway. Be sure your company name and website address are clearly printed.
A successful trade show requires planning and investment.
And the day of the event – have fun. Although it sounds trite, people respond to enthusiasm. If they can see you’re passionate about your product or service, they’ll be attracted. Equally important – practice trade show etiquette. Don’t eat at your booth. Smile at everyone. And keep your booth is clean and tidy. For a few days, your booth is your business. Present it that way.