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Making the Most of a Trade Show

Trade shows are a great place to make new business connections while getting your product or service in front of new eyes. They can also be a large business expense. We’re going to provide you with advice to help ensure that this small business investment was worth it in the end.

Before the Show

You’ve signed your small business up to attend an industry trade show. What are the next steps? This may seem obvious, but note your booth number. Knowing where you’ll be setting your booth up on the floor space is nice; however, you should use your booth number within pre-trade show marketing tactics.

You may want to consider running a print advertisement in an industry magazine. If you already have ads running, contact ad sales to see if you can have your trade show booth number added to them.

Many trade shows will provide you with a list of the other attendees along with their email addresses. Look through that list and use it to your advantage. Go through the list and note the attendees that are most likely to be interested in your product or service. Then personally reach out to them and try to schedule time to meet without coming off as overly assertive and pushy. If there are thousands of attendees, you may want to consider using an email marketing tool.

Trade show booth

Choosing the Right Trade Show Booth Design

As soon as you signup to attend the trade show you’re probably going get at least one call or email from a trade show booth design company (yes, that’s a real thing). This can be one of the largest trade show expenses, so make sure to do your due diligence when choosing a booth design. Your booth should be both promotional and ergonomic. Make sure that your trade show booth provides enough room for your team and other attendees to comfortably walk around. You should also have a seating area; trade show attendees are on their feet all day, so giving them a place to relax is a perk that can help bring in more foot traffic.

Giveaways and Promotions

It’s virtually impossible to find someone who doesn’t enjoy being offered free stuff. Brainstorm with your team before the trade show to decide on promotions with the highest potential of bringing people to your booth. You can also use these promotions as opportunities to upsell new customers.

Hypothetically Speaking…

Your small business sells premium dry dog foods and you’ve always offered retailers 10% off on orders of ten bags or more. One of your trade show giveaways includes five free bags of dog food. You inform the winner that their five free bags can count towards that deal. The winner is now a new customer.

Trade show free promotion announcement

After the Show

If the trade show was a success, then your business has built a list of new customers and leads. Now what?

New Customers

Their first impression of your business was good enough for them to pay you for what it has to offer. And keeping that favorable impression is equally important. Sending your new customers personalized thank you emails is a must. But why not go the extra mile and send them a thank you letter via snail mail?

When it comes to the actual handoff of your product or service, make sure that the delivery was as good as your pitch.

New Leads

More often than not, trade shows will provide your business with more potential customers than actual customers. This makes it imperative that you and your team have a way to keep track of the new leads’ contact information. If a specific team member was the one who interacted with a lead at the show, be sure that he or she is the one reaching out to that lead in the near future.

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