Trade shows are the perfect place to market your business to a huge range of potential clients, especially those that you may not have thought of before. However, it is also a massive gamble for businesses as the cost of setting up a stall and organising marketing materials can be quite large.
Therefore it’s important to get it right. When visiting trade shows there are times where you’ll see stands that are packed with people, with staff at other stands looking forlornly on as their pile of leaflets never goes down.
It is that first stand you want to be, not the second. With that in mind, here are some of our handy tips for promoting your business at trade shows.
Our number one tip is simple – make sure you attend the right show. Because of the cost of attending such shows, many businesses will choose the shows they attend carefully. But even then you may be over-stretching yourself or attending a show that isn’t really suited to your sector. To make sure you choose the right show, do your research, look at the kind of speakers that will be attending and see which other businesses are showcasing there.
Once you’re set on the show you’re attending, think about the size of your stand and then design your marketing material carefully. It doesn't have to be fancy or particularly expensive, but an eye-catching design will draw people to your stand – even those who may not initially be interested in what you’re offering.
Of course none of this matters if you don’t do one thing beforehand – promote your stand and let people know you’ll be there. Make sure you take advantage of the promotional opportunities the organising company offers when you sign up, ensuring people can plan to visit you before the show even starts. And there’s one other thing many companies often forget to do – let your existing customers know you’ll be there so you can reaffirm existing relationships.
All of the above points are designed to get people to your stand but, once you’ve done that, you need to keep their attention. There are two ways to do this and either one can be the difference between closing a sale or losing a potential client.
Firstly, make sure you have your most knowledgeable, experienced and charismatic staff at your stand. It may mean losing them from the office for a day or two but these are the people that will sell your company. Potential clients will be impressed by their attention to detail and real depth of knowledge about your company and what you offer.
The second way to sell your business is by taking advantage of promotional material and freebies. It may sound very basic, but people love something free – whether it’s a pen, wall calendar or a couple of sweets. You can give them away to anyone who visits the stand or, for a grander gesture, why not run a prize draw for a bigger prize? The frenzy this creates will ensure your company name sticks in their head long after the show has finished.