Using Trade Shows To Market Your Business

Why Use Trade Shows

Companies utilize trade shows as part of the over all marketing strategy for several reasons. One of the most important is to get a large number of prospects in a very short period of time. Another reason would be to increase product awareness for a new product or service that you’re offering. Or, you might have a booth at a show to generate recognition for your business in general.

Regardless of the motivation, trade shows can be a large expenditure of money and a lot of thinking must go into using this option over others. Also, if you do choose to add trade shows to market your company, it is important that you do the amount of planning essential to make your event a success.

Trade Show Marketing And Planning Is Critical

There is, what I’d call the obvious planning for a trade show and then there’s the less obvious part which is at least as significant, and nearly always over looked.

The obvious part of trade show preparation is what you would like the booth to look like, the set up and take down procedure, who will man the booth and when. It also has to do with what materials shall be handed out, what’s going to be sold, logistics of getting things from point A to point B and back.

But the part that is ignored is where most of the benefit of having a booth at a show comes in. To have a really effective show, you will need to invest the time in two aspects of your event, the pre-event marketing and the post event marketing. The pre-event marketing is concentrated on how to attract people to your booth.

This should be obvious, but unfortunately is often over looked. But if you want to maximize your event, this part is pretty imperative. Assuming you’ve done a great job of targeting the trade show you want to be at, you now need to focus on the people you want to stop by your booth.

There are a lot of ways to do that. But you should first obtain a list of possible attendees. If you’re attending an industry trade show, they may have that information for you and will likely be prepared to sell it to you. In that case attempt to get your hands on it, the more segmented the better. If the audience is the general public then you should use a list broker or other types of local advertising to reach your audience.

In both cases, you will need to build some type of incentive and buzz around stopping by your booth. The person coming by should be able to get something for stopping by or have a unique experience with your booth. The key point being, you want them to come see you first. Before they look at everything else and before they look at your competition. So make it worthwhile for them to come see you. It can pay off in the end.

Trade Show Prospecting Is Why You Showed Up

The lack of post show planning is where one of the biggest trade show sins taking place. All the effort is put into the function of the event itself, but not an awful lot is put into the post event planning. You attended the show to generate prospects and business, but what is your follow up plan to make sure that happens.

I have seen countless companies spend a fortune to go to a show, walk away having a ton of leads, and do nothing with them. Or, they planned to do something with them, but were overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of follow ups required and did very little with them. This is a real shame and a huge waste of the money you invested to be at a trade show in the first place.

If you are going to put money into an event like this, be sure you have a way to follow up with the leads you capture or don’t go. You will look worse if you tell people you’ll contact them and never do.

I usually break follow up into two groups, hot, or immediate follow up and casual follow up. The hot opportunities, have to be set aside, so that specific requests can be handled. It is important that you write down at the show what those potential buyers wanted so that you can get them the answers, or set up the appointments after the show.

The balance of your leads, need to be put into some type of database with a method of correspondence, like a newsletter. That ought to be ready to go the day you return from your show. If you do that well, you’ll look better then almost all your competition and will be able to capitalize on the investment you made.

Keep the correspondence going and you will build up credibility and your list will continue to be beneficial over time. If you just take the leads and put them in a stack when you get back, then you’ll likely have wasted your investment.

Remember, trade show marketing is expensive. Don’t waste your investment buy not being prepared for the event along with the pre and post marketing. The better job you do with all three aspects, the higher the probability is that you’ll see a positive return for your trade show investment.



Source by Scott Schreiber


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