The trade show season is just a few months away. Trade shows and exhibitions are a great way to get attention for your company and its new products or services. There are trade shows for everything from interior decorating and fashion, to vehicles, video games, and sports.
This year, why not make sure you make an impact on the trade show scene? The initial expense of exhibiting at a trade show may seem intimidating, but the benefits definitely make it worthwhile. If you plan your trade show investment carefully, then this year could be the best year yet for your company.
Planning Your Trade Show Investment
There's more to attending a tradeshow than renting space for your exhibition trailer, decorating a mini artic, and showing up to hand out business cards. If your trade show plan relies on passing visitors dropping in to your exhibition trailer, then you probably won't get much out of attending a show. To see a return on your investment, you'll need to have a solid promotion plan that starts early, and continues after the event:
- Tell people you will be attending the show - send out promotional emails and newsletters, and try to get space in the trade show magazine
- Set up appointments with people that you know you want to talk to at the show - don't leave meetings to chance
- If you're renting a mini artic, make it stand out - brand it clearly, and make sure it's clean, well lit, and inviting
- Make sure your business cards and marketing materials are up-to-date, and that you have more than enough to hand out at the show.
- Get some promotional pens, key-rings, or similar items to hand out to passers-by.
What to Do At The Show
When the show starts, try to get contact details from as many of the people that visit your exhibition trailer as possible. You could do this by running a prize drawer or a raffle. Provide a clearly marked box for people to drop their business cards.
Send your most cheerful and presentable employees to the trade show and task them with networking. Have them take lots of notes so that they can remember who they talked to, and what they talked about.
After The Show
The day after the show, follow up on everything you promised to do at the show. Once you've got any commitments out of the way, make a point of emailing everyone you met, and making a database of the business cards you collected.
Next, put together a report - was the exhibition trailer good enough for your needs? Did you see the number of visitors you expected? Were the visitors the kind of people you expected? Add to the report over the next few weeks - did the contacts you made convert to new business? You can use this information to decide whether that particular trade show was worthwhile for your business - remember that some shows are better for media, b2b, or consumer companies - it may take some time and research to find the right show for your company.