Getting the most out of trade shows takes strategy, planning, and execution. Don’t expect your first event or a new event to yield your biggest client. What you can count on, using the tips below, is to get the name of your business out to the community. You may even make key contacts with whom you can follow up post-event. Over time you will develop relationships with people who may become your client or who know people who are your target client. Be patient and work hard.
8 Great Tips for Getting the Most out of Trade Shows
2. Provide an Amazing Pitch. Don’t just take the same trade show booth you took last year or the year before to your next event. Trade show attendees are there to experience your product. They want to use your magic mop or play or video game or use your app. Telling people about your product isn’t enough. No matter how great you think it is, they want to try it for themselves. You need to be creating an experience. People don’t come to trade shows to talk about products, they want to experience them.
3. Dress for Success. Just because you have a great looking trade show booth doesn’t mean you can slack off on how you look. Marketing is about everything – from what you wear to how you speak so make a great first impression by wearing clothes appropriate for your target audience and industry. A technology-based trade show may be more casual than a financial services trade show, for example. Make sure you and your team are dressed for success based on these factors.
Dress according to your industry and the tradeshow location or event and be sure to dress professional–business or business casual-and wear comfortable shoes. I love to wear heels but I find it so uncomfortable to wear heels for long periods of time while working a tradeshow. If you must, take two pairs of heels so you can change out your shoes and bring ibuprofen to take as it will help with the swelling for being in heels at a show! Men also can have shoes that are not comfortable so the same idea works for you too!
4. Train the Team. Trade show success is about more than what you wear; it’s also about being able to tell customers and prospects about your company. To do this, you need to have a well-trained team working at your booth. Don’t pick the college intern to go to a local event unless they know about the products and services you’re featuring at that event. A better choice would be someone who knows more about the full portfolio of products so they can field questions from a variety of booth visitors. The last thing you want is to be the only person who knows how to answer all the questions.
5. Know Where to Spend Money. Your trade show booth doesn’t need to be a Las Vegas style show – unless of course your business is Las Vegas style shows. For most of us, we have a marketing budget that we have to stick to. Figure out the best use of that budget. Perhaps you spend extra on a reusable swag bag or advertising on the show’s swag bag for attendees. You might revamp your existing trade show booth to add a digital workstation or create an entirely new booth to exhibit your latest product or branding. More than likely you don’t have a limited budget so take some time to think about the best use of resources.
6. Use Social Media. Connect with customers and community by making use of social media and PR provided by the show and on your own sites. Announce which shows you will be exhibiting or attending so customers can connect with you. This is especially important if you are spending time in a different city. Make the most of your time by connecting on social media and in real life with customers and prospects, making the most of the money invested in the trade show.
7. Network. In addition to connecting with existing customers and prospects, be sure you’re networking with the attendees and exhibitors at the show. They could well be your next customers or be able to introduce you to your target clients. Be patient. Building business relationships takes time. The seeds you put down at one trade show may not (and more than likely will not) pay off until you’ve developed a relationship and they understand your business as much as you understand theirs.
8. Follow Up Post-Show. This is where most businesses fail. Whether it’s following up after a local networking event or an international trade show, you’ve got to make following up with clients and leads top priority when you return to the office.
Using these tips, we think you can create a trade show strategy that’s executable and will help you meet your business goals. At EXHIB-IT! we help our clients create trade show booths that get them noticed by their target clients. Contact us today to get started on your path to trade show success.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta event was from Saturday October 4th through Sunday October 12th with over 800,000 attendees and 548 balloons registered – 28 of them being from 22 different countries and 106 were in the special shapes balloon category. EXHIB-IT! participated by sponsoring the Check Ride Balloon with Pilot Ryan Lowenstein. The event was a success and we flew all but two days that were due to high winds or rain. Check Ride participated in three balloon glows.
During the mass ascensions on Saturday, Sunday (cancelled due to winds), Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (cancelled due to wind gusts), the balloons launched in two waves with launches that started as early as 7 Am and continued flights way past 10 Am for all to see. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday were competitive flight days that competing balloons would launch 1.0 mile from balloon fiesta field and fly over field and to target areas to compete. All non-competition balloons, along with special shape balloons, would take off from the fiesta field.
I invited Susan Riedel,Campaigner for upcoming election for Attorney General, to the Balloon Fiesta on Friday Evening and Saturday Morning of the second weekend of Fiesta, She enjoyed taking part in the Balloon Fiesta with all its beauty and was able to meet and greet with the attendees. We had a wonderful time and I enjoyed getting to know her and her assistant, Colt Balok.
Having been a balloon fiesta pilot for 17 years and this year was a balloon sponsor, it was much different for me being on the ground for all flights. While I enjoyed sponsoring a balloon and being a crew member for the Check Ride Balloon, it was both surreal and enjoyable. Yes, I miss flying and this was my first balloon fiesta without piloting a balloon, but I also got to sit back and enjoy chasing the balloon and navigating the streets to be there before the balloon would land. I always loved navigational flights and testing my ability to see what the winds were doing at different altitude levels and challenge myself as a Pilot to tell my crew where I planned to land at takeoff. Now I got to challenge myself as a crew member to navigate the streets while watching the winds to determine wind direction for where I thought Check Ride would land. That was fun!
On Saturday, October 11th, family and friends attended the Music Fiesta with band County Road 5, followed by a performance by Band Sawyer Brown then came Josh Turner, one of country music’s most recognized face with numerous CMA and Grammy award nominations. What a treat it was to be out of the field, hang with family and friends, soaking up the bright sunshine and listening to awesome music. The music festival ended with the start of the Balloon Glow. The winds picked up somewhat and the Glow had a few balloons that participated, including Check Ride with the Large EXHIB-IT! banner displayed proudly on the balloon. The evening ended with Fireworks for all.
Now the Balloon Fiesta is over and lots of memories were made with family and friends along with meeting Pilots and Crew from other countries. Anyone who has not attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta should consider attending next year and save the dates: October 3-10, 2015! Hope to see you there and enjoy the photos taken by Steve Chavez of Zia’s Studios, Edgerton, Wisconsin. He may even sell you some of his great photos – call him at 773-612-4231.