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Did you know trade shows are one of the most effective ways to make connections for your business? However, ROI on trade shows depends heavily on how you present your company. Doing it right can lead to significant results, potentially more so than other channels. Whereas misrepresenting your company could lead to a whole lot of nothing. Consider the potential audience or future customers you could evangelize through direct contact and conversation. Chances are if people are attending a tradeshow, they are more open to connecting with you and learning about your company.
We are here to break down how to get the most bang out of your tradeshow buck. The steps below will provide you a roadmap to get started.
#1 - Go Vertical
Make sure banners you bring rise above eye level and are able to catch the attention of passer-bys. The details add up when drawing the attention of attendees and making sure they can clearly see your messaging and other relevant information is critical. If possible, test your set-up with people outside your team before the event to see if your banners are making the kind of impact you think they are. Variables to consider include the material of your banner, the finish, and the gloss which all make a difference in how they read in different environments. Before you rush to the printers or display company to get your banners made, make sure you optimize your set-up to the tradeshow environment you will be in to avoid frustration later.
#2 - Be Interactive
You can add interactions through lights, spinnings objects, and best of all, free giveaways! Whatever options you decide on, make sure they enhance, rather than distract attendees from the core intention of interacting with you. A strobe light and fog machine may seem like a good idea, but we suggest you think twice about how they may affect your neighbors--those enhancements may be a better fit for Purple Rain reenactments. For giveaways, you can go beyond pens and printed swag. Consider a free trial if you are offering a service or exclusive access to your beta when it is ready. If you have a product, a demo serves as a conversation piece and a way for people to experience your offering first hand and benefit from your team answering any questions attendees may have.
#3 -Make sure the tradeshow you have signed up for fits the demographic you are trying to reach
For example, if you are a coffee company, you would not attend a tradeshow for tea. Some tradeshows will provide a list of attendees and previous exhibitors to give you an idea of the demographic in attendance. Taking a moment to research this and communicate with the event coordinators for each event can provide valuable insight on where to spend your time and money.
#4 - Bring your A-team!
Only bring your starters who are personable and love meeting new people. A trade show could involve talking to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people and each person on your team will probably have varying levels of comfort doing this, so plan accordingly. Having team members present who can explain your offering at a technical level or field financial questions can be helpful as long as they enjoy speaking to a potentially high volume of people. If your A-team cannot answer a technical question, get the contact information of whoever asked it and follow-up afterward.
#5 - Don't be shy!
Always be ready to chat. Engage with everyone who is interested and always stand in front of your booth, and never behind it. Attendees wait in line and travel from all over to be at a trade show. Make the most of the event to connect, educate, and also get valuable feedback from a demographic you may want as a customer. You can do much more than just sell your company. Be proactive and explore meaningful conversations about the industry, recent innovations, and disruptions in the space.
#6 - Have takeaway materials ready.
Make sure you have something that has all of your relevant information and a way to contact you. A good rule of thumb is not to let anyone who visits your booth leave empty handed. If you have a great conversation or meet someone who has a slew of questions, make sure you provide them a pathway to continue the conversation and learn more about you after the event. The people you engage with later may end up becoming a customer down the road.