Attending trade shows can be a great way to drum up new business, launch a new product, or just connect with new and existing customers, as well as other exhibitors.
On the other hand, trade shows and can be expensive when you take into account all the costs of the stand itself, travel, advertising and the time out of office for your employees.
So how can you make sure that your first trade show is worth the investment of your time and money?
Make sure to pick the right show
First things first, you need to be sure that the show you’re choosing to exhibit at is right for you.
Make sure to do your research to ensure that the show will match your goals. If possible, try to visit a show the year before to see whether it has the sort of clientele who are likely to buy from you, and how many people turn up.
If you can’t attend for yourself, take a look online to see what kind of other businesses have exhibited there before.
Once you’re sure the show will have the right demographic for your business and goals, it’s time to start preparing!
This blog post has more information on how to choose the right trade show for your business.
The show actually begins weeks in advance
Once you’re booked into the show, don’t make the mistake of forgetting all about it right up until the week before!
Make sure to take full advantage of the show well in advance, by connecting with other exhibitors and visitors to the show on social media, letting them know where they can find you and asking them to come and say hi!
Make sure to promote any products that you’re launching or any competitions that you’re holding, to give people an incentive to come over.
Be sure to use any official hashtags that the event may be using, engage with the official accounts and consider whether you want to have any promotional gifts made, as this could take time.
Location is everything
When selecting an area for your stand, location really is everything, even more than the stand itself and its branding.
Generally speaking, you want the stand to be on the path which gains the most footfall, which is usually near to the main stands, food and drink areas and toilets.
Make sure to avoid stands in the back corner, as many visitors will simply get sidetracked before they even make it to you!
And if you’re going to actually be selling at the show, visitors may already be spent up by the time they reach you!
Finally, remember practical considerations, such as power outlets and Wi-Fi accessibility.
Check out this blog post from Expo Display Service for more information on getting the right location for your stand.
Perhaps the best piece of advice is to be enthusiastic on your stand and try to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
While your stand can be great and inviting, it’s the people working it who will make or break your visitors’ experience.
Make sure to take some of your most knowledgeable, passionate and friendly staff with you and consider having them kitted out in branded clothing.
We spoke to Stitch Embroidery who said: “It can sometimes be hard for visitors to tell if the people hanging around on your stand are just looking for free stuff, or if they’re actually your staff!
“Some smart, professional clothing will help them to stand apart, and give them a cohesive look.”
Follow up after the show
Finally, be sure to follow up on any and all leads from the show, to really make sure that your efforts were worth it.
Don’t spam people with calls and emails, but do reach out to everyone to say thank you for taking the time to speak to you, and attempt to establish something of a deeper relationship.
Make sure that you get contact details from everyone you speak to, and follow up throughout the coming weeks to see if you can take things further!