Trade shows are important to grow a business. Most startups employ them as a way to expand into new markets and showcase their products to new customers. As a result, outdoor trade shows have become a valuable tool for businesses to network directly with both their clients and partners. This is why having a successful outdoor trade show is guaranteed to help a business grow and increase its revenue while building the reputation of the business. It is, therefore, important for a business to understand the dos and don’ts when carrying out a trade show in order for it to succeed.
This article lists some tips on how traders can help their business grow by leveraging on trade shows. Let’s begin:
1. Create a Realistic Budget
When planning for a trade show, traders should take the budget into consideration. This is necessitated by fees such as trade show fees, promotion fees, trade show display fees, and travel fees. Traders often make the assumption that trade show planning is not expensive and is a piece of cake, which then often leads to poor management that culminates in the overall failure of the trade show. A basic rule of thumb is to assume that your trade show budget is triple your current budget.
2. List Down Your Objectives
Traders should not go into a trade show blind—they should ensure that the objectives of the fair are well laid out and understood by the team or volunteers. This can be achieved by listing down an organization’s expectations, activities to be carried out, and the expected end result. A well thought out list often leads to an organization’s booth being more organized, having a sense of direction, and the staff becoming more welcoming to new clients.
3. Look at Your Staff
Trade shows give an opportunity for clients to directly interact with your staff. Having grumpy and bored staff may not bode well for a successful trade show, so it is important to ensure that only interested, confident, and passionate individuals are part of your team. As the core part of the staff in the fair is introducing clients to products, traders should ensure that they are vetted properly as the image is a key element for a company.
4. Have a Good Display and Setup
When setting up outdoor booths, it is important to have it in a good location. A good location paired with excellent design ensures the business gets good and proper coverage. In addition, traders can add banner mesh printing for maximum visibility of their products as they are well suited and designed for trade shows. It’s advisable to not go overboard with designs—a simple and clean design with your logo or branding often does wonders. This is because it does not overwhelm people’s senses, thus attracting them to the business’ booth.
5. Give a Reason for People to Come In
The biggest asset in a trade show is traffic—having lots of people visit the booth counts as a success. It is, therefore, important to maintain a steady stream of people throughout the event. This can be achieved by being proactive and actively initiating conversation with people, or even offering up goodies as incentives for people to visit. After clients visit the booth, rather than asking a client direct questions—such as “How was the fair?”—traders should ask more open-ended questions such as, “Have you seen any interesting products today?”
Staff should realize that the event is not similar to the usual cold calling of clients as this is the only opportunity a business has where a client may directly want to scope them, so making a good first impression is really necessary.
6. Employ Social Media as an Asset
Before the event, businesses should notify their networks on the upcoming trade show. This will help create buzz on the market about the trade show, which can even lead to a trickle effect resulting in increased attendance due to networks sharing and inviting other people. Create hype by showing off your latest products, sharing some new ones, or providing a teaser. Social media can also be used after the trade show to let others know how successful the event was, and what was missed by people who did not attend. This may, in turn, help in future trade shows.
7. Plan What You Will Do
There are a lot of things going on in a trade show. With people to meet and objectives to be met, it should, therefore, be important for a business to know:
- Who will set up the booth
- How many of their staff will be there
- The expected number of leads staffs should talk to
- The time it should take, and if the staff should sit or stand
It is understood that these should be planned earlier before the actual day of the event so that people can have an idea of what they should do.
8. Find and Follow Up on Leads
During the event, businesses should implement a way in which leads can get their information. This can be achieved by providing leads with business cards, newsletters, brochures, and even printed merchandise. Having a digital copy can also be advantageous as information can be easily stored and later retrieved for use in other business strategies. It is important to also have a strategy of rating the leads found and the chances of them converting into sales.
Growing their business is the objective of each trader. To achieve this, one must conduct and follow procedures and best practices that will help them expand. By following the tips above, businesses will have the confidence to grow, increasing their visibility and influence within their field. By starting and hosting a successful trade show, traders can effectively increase a business’ growth potential and may even open up new avenues of growth by leveraging on new contacts that have been made from the event. For organizations that have no prior engagement with trade shows, it is advisable for them to have a look at it, gauge how it would help them grow, and perhaps incorporate it in marketing themselves and their products.