As a small business owner, finding ways to increase your company’s exposure is vital. One of the ways that many smaller companies go about doing this is by participating in trade shows. These events give you a chance to showcase your products and services to new and existing clients, offer a look at what others in your industry are doing and provide an invaluable opportunity to network.
Nevertheless, trade shows can be rather expensive after you take into consideration the cost to sign up, operation expenses and travel fees. As such, it’s important to approach them with the right mindset to maximize your time and ensure that it’s money well spent.
Before committing to a trade show, research that particular convention as well as all similar shows. Conventions.net is a valuable resource to give you information about various trade shows as well as what works and what doesn’t. One of the best things you can do, however, is attend each trade show that you are considering being a part of to make sure that it is as advertised and that you won’t be wasting your time. There are a number of different conventions that focus on the same industry, but there may only be one that fits the requirements you’re looking for. Also, try talking with friends or colleagues who have attended trade shows in the past to get their opinions.
Have a plan of attack
Don’t simply show up to a trade show without a solid plan of attack and expect to deliver the type of results that you want. As you attend conventions prior to your own, make note of what works and what doesn’t. Use others’ successes and failures to help you decide how to set your own booth up and how to market your products.
Decide beforehand what products you want to show and how you want to display your brand. Trade shows can often be extremely large and clustered so come up with ways that you can stand out.
Another great strategy is to promote your attendance at the trade show through social media and word of mouth so that new and existing clients will look for you as opposed to hoping for a large number of people to walk up. One way to expand your social media presence as well as trade show exposure is to offer a free promotion to those who follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook.
In order to maximize the exposure that you received by attending a trade show, follow up with businesses that you connected with and seemed interested with your products. Just because you had a great conversation with a representative from another company and they seemed interested in doing business with you doesn’t necessarily mean that they will take the initiative to follow up with you. Like you, they probably spoke with a number of different people and are exhausted from a long day of networking.
While an e-mail is a good way to maintain contact, try sending an old-fashioned letter with pen and paper. This personal touch will allow you to stand out from the crowd and let your potential clients know that you mean business. Be persistent with your follow-ups, but don’t cross the line of overbearing. If someone truly wants to do business with you, then a few reminders about who you are, what you talked about and the products you sell should be sufficient.