Getting your business name out there is the key to a growing business. Even if you sell the best product or offer the most excellent service, your business won’t survive without customers. So you need to figure out a way to get people to know and recognize your business. One of such ways is to go to events related to your industry and spread the word.
No matter what business you are in, there is probably a convention, trade show, or conference that brings together the biggest names and brightest minds in your industry. And that is one major benefit of promoting your business at a trade show. The room is filled with people already interested in your business’s industry, so driving valuable leads to your business won’t be much of a stress.
If you have been thinking of including conventions and trade shows as part of your marketing efforts, this article will come in really handy. Below are some tips to help.
Tips for Promoting Your Business at a Trade Show
#1: Identify your primary goals for the trade show
This should be the first thing you should figure out before thinking of a way to promote your business at the event. You need to know what you intend to get out of the trade show you are attending. Are you going there to meet and network with top movers in your industry? Or are you going to attract potential clients and investors to your business? Different people attend such an event for various reasons, and yours can even be more than one.
Here are some goals you can target to achieve through a trade show or conference:
- Meet and network with relevant people in the industry
- Increase your exposure
- Attract potential clients and investors
- Raise your social media profile and get new followers
- Build up your marketing lists and develop marketing collateral for future use (this could be pictures or videos)
#2: Choose the right trade show to attend
There are several trade shows available out there. It is best to research and choose one that best matches your industry and will have the most potential for helping your business grow. The kind of trade show right for your company will be graced by your target market or people who will most likely be interested in buying your products. Therefore, do your research and find that kind of event.
If you are not sure where to start, you may want to check TSNN.com. It is a pretty extensive database of trade shows that you can easily search through by industry, date, and location. To make this easier for you, here are some factors to consider to determine if a trade show is worth attending:
- The relevancy of the event to your industry
- The event’s website – If the website is crappy, chances are that the organizers will also handle the event the same way
- See who is attending – check if your competitors are going. Look for potential customers, investors, or partners. Are they coming to the event?
- Check Reddit – if a certain show is being talked about on Reddit, it is probably an event you should attend too.
- Big name speakers – big name speakers will attract big name media outlets and important people that will mean a lot to your business.
- Active social media – if the conference or trade show doesn’t have active social media channels for marketing, that may be a bad sign.
#3: Prepare and promote way in advance
The next thing after choosing a relevant trade show to attend is to start preparing for the event. This is usually the place where a lot of work is required. How well you are able to leverage a trade show to promote your business will depend on how well you have prepared ahead for the show. Therefore, give yourself at least 30 days to put in the real effort.
So, how do you prepare for the event and also promote your business in advance?
- Try to get a speaking gig
Do you think you have something interesting to say at the trade show? See if you can get yourself a spot on the lineup as one of the speakers at the show. This may get you free or discounted booth space and a ticket to the event. It will also give you a good privilege to market your business to the people.
- Make your booth stand out with colorful banners and signage
There is no better way to get people to recognize you in the midst of several other displays than to have your company’s branding anywhere and everywhere. Use colorful banners and signs at your booth and make sure your logo is boldly printed on them. This will not only help people find you but will also help them remember your company name even after they leave the trade show.
- Order your printed materials
Get your business cards ready before the event. And get enough of them. If you will be handing out branded tchotchkes, make sure they are relevant to what your company does. On the other hand, if you don’t want to spend money paying for printed materials, you can consider creating a digital press kit. This can be easily emailed or given away on branded USB ports.
- Send out a press release
Will you be launching a new product or updating a product design at the event? Consider sending out a press release a week or two before the trade show. Announce there that you will be unveiling the new product at the event. Generating buzz for your company before a trade show will help more people become aware of your company even before they finally get to meet you at the event. It usually comes as an excellent way to create sales and networking opportunities for a business.
- Use social media
What about letting your followers, clients, and others know your plan about attending the trade show? Post links to the event on your social media profiles and let people know about any demonstrations you may be holding at your booth. Let them know if they should expect new products or anything else you think might draw attendees.
However, do this in the most attractive way. You can utilize a good graphic design tool for this. You will need beautiful and amazing posters and flyers. Also, try to get some fun videos on the list. Even if you are not a graphic design savvy, a tool like PosterMyWall has some small business poster templates you can use for this purpose.
- Use the event hashtags
Nowadays, almost every event has a hashtag surrounding it. Attendees can use these hashtags when sharing content on social media. So, before the trade show happens, ensure you follow the hashtag and also use them when posting content about it on your social media platforms. Let the attendees see how excited you are attending the event and let them know they can connect with you at the show.
#4: Live tweet the event
While you use social media to engage with new potential customers and attendees at the trade show, you also want to engage with those who couldn’t make it. So, cover the event and live-tweet so that those who aren’t there can also follow along and feel like part of the fun. But don’t limit yourself to Twitter. Use other social media platforms to promote your coverage immediately.
However, remember to also file it away for future use. You may want to use them later on your press page, website, or newsletter.
#5: Host contests and giveaways
Everyone loves to get something for free, and this could be a great way to attract people to your booth. At the point of declaring your attendance at the trade show, let people know they can come around, complete a leads qualification survey and win nice gifts. Offer branded swag, water bottles, or T-shirts when they visit. This will help you make a lasting impression while attendees also show off your name and logo everywhere they use your gift.
#6: Follow up with new contacts after the show
It shouldn’t all end at the event ground; you should continue marketing your business even after the show is over. Reach out to everyone you were able to meet at the show. This may be people who left a business card or got their information on your mailing list. Let them know it was a great pleasure meeting them, and remind them how you guys met at the event. Discuss potential sales or partnerships with them too.
#7: Measure your results
After the whole show has ended, do you think the juice was worth the squeeze? You should analyze your results and determine if getting in the trade show was worth it. Check if you were able to achieve your goals. Were you able to get new sales and leads? Did your website traffic increase, or do you get the awareness you want for your business?
A trade show is a perfect place to promote your business and enhance its growth. However, not everyone knows how to make the most out of this. If you are thinking about how to promote your business at a trade show, the above tricks and tips should get you started on a good foot. Try them out and let us know which of them works best for you.