Heading to a trade show is a great way to put your business in front of plenty of foot traffic — but you’ll also be one of many different businesses trying to catch customer’s attention. Standing out at a trade show involves some planning and a few tactics to get the most out of the show. Here’s what small businesses need to know before heading out to the trade show floor.
Get the word out ahead of time.
Trade shows can be great for customers that have been wanting to try your business but haven’t gotten the chance to — if they know you will be there. Use your social media platforms and email newsletter to spread the word about the show and where you’ll be during the show. You’ll encourage more visitors and create some visitors that seek your booth out directly.
Don’t ignore the other booths.
Sure, attending a trade show is a great way to get new customers — but what about networking? If you don’t visit the other booths, you’re missing out on one of the biggest perks of going to a trade show. Take some time during the slowest part of the show to visit other booths, chat with other business owners, and find potential new allies in the business world. Be sure to have another person attend to watch the booth so that it’s possible to wander the show floor for a bit to network.
Plan something fun to attract more visitors.
Trade show visitors will see several dozen, if not hundreds, of booth displays that day. Give them a bigger reason to stop at yours. Host a giveaway. Plan a fun demonstration. Create a social media photo contest. Brainstorm a reason for visitors to stop at your booth. Even better — share that reason in your social media posts and email newsletters leading up to the show as well.
During the show, it’s important to make attendees feel welcome to come and start a conversation. Creating a booth set-up that has the exhibitors mixed with the attendees instead of behind a formal table can help. Standing instead of sitting in a chair can also encourage more conversation. And of course, the old go-to like a smile and a handshake go a long ways too.
Don’t let the trade show be your last conversation.
A trade show is a great time to meet potential customers and chat with them, often more in-depth than you can through the normal course of a day. Don’t let that conversation be both the first and the last with that customer. Strategise ways to keep the conversation going after the trade show ends. Host a giveaway so that you can gather email addresses, for example, or encourage booth visitors to like your social media pages. Plan ahead, and you’ll be able to keep talking to those customers long after the trade show is over.
Trade shows can be great for small businesses — but a bit of planning and strategy can help the time and financial investment go even further.