Trade Shows – necessary or nuisance?
Every industry has its lean times when clients are cutting back and the markets start to contract. When this happens, what do you do? Will exhibiting at a trade show bring in the new clients? Is exhibiting even necessary during these bleak periods or is it just another expense you could do without? The answers to these questions may surprise you.
Trade shows are specialist market places providing businesses and visitors the opportunity to learn about and promote products and services, reach new customers and generate new sales as well as providing opportunities for networking and making useful contacts.
As a small business, in our experience taking part in a trade show, with a well-planned strategy, properly executed, does increase your chances of meeting new customers and taking your business forward.
Of course there is a valid concern that companies can spend a lot of money to exhibit with little return. In a competitive market it’s important to reach your target markets and raise your profile and picking the right show is important. Before committing to taking a stand, research the trade show. Is it industry specific or general business? Is it established and well promoted? What has the previous footfall been? If you’re not sure about taking a stand then don’t, but do go as a visitor and talk to the stand holders, find out how exhibiting works for them.
It’s important to plan early and plan thoroughly. Every detail of the booth or stand is a visual poster projecting your brand. Make sure your display banners are striking and they communicate your business or product effectively. Plan your marketing literature for the stand. Make sure you have plenty of business cards, leaflets and brochures. Maybe think about special show offers and promotions and a business card prize draw – all good marketing opportunities!
Finally, consider strategies for greeting and drawing customers to your stand. Think about how you’ll be seen if you just sit in a chair writing emails on your laptop. Stand up and smile, talk positively and you are more likely to engage with potential customers.
Once the show is over don’t forget to follow up leads quickly and communicate with contacts made. Review what worked on your stand and how can you improve next time.
Trade Shows: are they worth it? Yes. Properly planned and executed they are a great marketing investment for companies looking to raise their profile and gain new business.
Posted 9th February 2015 by Richard Excell
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