If you have your eyes set on a trade show presence sometime in the next few months, then hopefully you have been instituting your inbound marketing efforts for at least the past few months. The fact is that to have a substantial trade show presence you may need as long as one year to do things properly. Still there are things you can do right now to make yourself felt and improve trade show performance for your business. However, like most things, the more time you have to prepare the better off you are likely to be.
Priorities: What do you hope to get out of this trade show? What are your goals? How are you going to make these goals reality? These sound like simple enough questions to answer, right? Well, they are if you are planning your trade show strategy correctly. Priorities also don't just mean:
"Expand my reach."
"Meet business contacts."
"Spread the word."
Trade shows are a time to get serious. You can quite literally make or break your business at a trade show. Imagine if you show up and in front of all of your peers and reps from potential or current companies, you don't do anything! You leave your booth unstaffed. Your business name is there with no one to speak for you. Alternatively, what if the person who is doing the talking on your behalf is not able to answer even the most basic questions? That is pretty terrible. So regarding what you hope to get out of a trade show, you need to be concrete, and your aims need to be active and aggressive. People are not attending trade shows just to hand you things; you need to seek out the contacts you hope to make. Moreover, you need to know if your trade show exercise was a failure or success. By having measurable metrics you can inform yourself.
Hype: When you are at a trade show you need to be your best friend by hyping your presence there to the hilt. Before you show up, you should be reaching out to others who plan to be there so that you can meet these individuals and tell them why your company is the best. When you are there, you need to be meeting everyone you can. After you've left, it would be wise to touch base with everyone you've met.
Launch: You should also reward those who make the journey out to a trade show with some new, actionable material. Think about the attendees of the trade show and ask yourself what questions may they be asking when they are there? If you preemptively answer what they could be there in search of, then they are bound to seek you out. Intuition goes both ways with businesses; even if you are new to the game and trying to establish a name for yourself, the added initiative of having these new materials which hope to answer questions will be viewed favorably by many.
Leads: Perhaps the best thing that you can do at a trade show is talk to every person who comes through the door and get their contact information. You should also be giving your business card or giveaway out to as many people as possible. Make a note of something about your conversations. If you are not terribly good at things like that, bring your spouse. Alternatively, your kid. Alternatively, someone from your life who does remember these things and likes to work as a tag team. You can still do all the talking, but make sure that “someone” is creating a clear mental picture of your contacts. These little subtleties can be the difference between your trade show presence being a huge flop or surprising success. Like your teachers always told you; take good notes!
Giveaways: This is a tricky one because so many people go to trade shows to get the things that companies are giving away. However, how many pens and notepads and can koozies do you have from events like this? Modern day marketers are moving away from the giveaway and are instead dressing up their presence at these trade shows to make their mere presence impactful. Get creative with your message and your products and see what you can develop. What are some of the booths that have stuck out in your mind from the past?
When you are trying to bring in bodies to your trade show presence, an inbound marketing assault may not seem sensical. If you need help with your trade show tactics, call on the team at Direct Images Interactive, An Inbound Marketing Agency for insightful help.
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