When you have an exhibit at a trade show, your time and money must be spent wisely – or the whole process can end up being a huge waste.
Learning what it takes to be successful at a trade show will help you invest your time and money wisely.
Make a Plan
Before you set up a trade show exhibit, you must spend an abundance of time planning for the event. Months before the date of the trade show you need to make goals for yourself and develop a strategy.
Adequate planning will ensure your overall success.
Make sure you send out pre-show postcards, e-mails and press releases to clients and the local media. Network with other trade show exhibitors and business associates prior to the show.
Develop visually appealing marketing materials that will help draw attendees into your trade show exhibit. Two word headlines usually work best, but make sure it is applicable to your products or services.
Location, Location, Location
Not every trade show is worth your time, so make sure you pick the trade shows that you will attend carefully.
Do some research and find out which trade shows are established and have a good track record. Additionally, when you choose the location of your exhibit think about it carefully.
You want your trade show exhibit to have high visibility and heavy traffic flow. The general consensus is that the end spots and peninsula areas are the best.
Work the Show
When you are exhibiting your small business at a trade show you have to actively work your booth. Don’t just sit behind your table and wait for attendees to come to you – get up and greet the people passing by!
Have something that you can hand out to them to get their attention.
Another good trade show idea is to network. Networking is an important part of the trade show experience. Many people think they should get as many business cards as possible when they are attending a trade show.
However, this is a mistake. Your small business will be much better served if you make a few solid connections with exhibitors and prospective customers.
Visit other trade show booths and invite other exhibitors to visit your booth. Make sure you follow up with your contacts when the show is over by sending an e-mail, making a phone call or penning a note the day after the trade show.
When you create more personal connections and you follow them up immediately, your business will still be fresh in their minds, so they will be more effective.
Exhibiting at a trade show can be an expensive endeavor. However, the contacts you make and the things you learn can be invaluable. If you are just starting out, or you cannot afford to set up a trade show exhibit, attend the show anyway.
Go as an attendee or ask for a vendor pass. This will enable you to do some networking and take notes on other trade show ideas for your exhibit when you can afford it.