Trade shows are an extremely effective marketing tool for many small businesses. But they can also be an enormous waste of money and time. And whether a trade show is an enormous success or a total wipeout for your company really depends on your initial planning. Here’s what you need to know about how to plan your trade show.
First, you must determine what types of products, services, and new customers you want to draw to your booth at your next trade shows. Is your business a consumer product supplier? If so, then you will want to put plenty of high-tech displays in front of your booths offering hot new product lines, innovative software, and cutting-edge customer service to attract visitors to your booth. But if your business is more of a provider of professional, blue-collar services, then the type of trade show displays you choose should emphasize your company’s value and services. A common mistake with many businesses is choosing too many high-tech trade show displays and thinking that this will draw visitors.
The second thing you need to decide is how to promote your booth at the show. Depending on the type of show you’re going to participate in, there are many different ways to bring traffic to your booth. Some trade shows offer free admission, featuring hands-on demonstrations by industry leaders that will encourage new customers to come and experience your products or services. Other shows may have a viewing area where you can watch other booths and be distracted by other displays as you enjoy the ambiance of the event.
Third, you need to decide which format works best for your company. If you’re a small startup company with one exhibit, you might not want to invest a lot of money into a full-fledged trade show display or demo rental. Trade fairs and expo events are often sponsored by large companies that have resources to create impressive booths and exhibits. You might have to pay a few thousand dollars up front to join the exhibit but you’ll be able to earn back this investment quickly through increased customer interest and sales.
There are also several ways to display your company at trade shows and expos. One option is table-top exhibits, which use overhead projector technology to project images onto a flat surface like a table. Another option is kiosks or interactive exhibits, which allow customers to interact with your company information, products, and services while they wait in line. And don’t forget to get out your brochures and business cards to hand out to potential clients.
Finally, if you don’t have the time to set up your booth, or if you don’t have enough space, you can hire temporary employees to do it for you. Temporary employees include tour guides, sales representatives, and volunteers. Hired hands can help you greet and sign people, conduct follow-up interviews, and give advice about exhibiting at the show. You can save a lot of money by getting help from these kinds of experts. In the future of the trade show industry, these professionals will likely be in high demand. In fact, the need for temporary staff will likely be higher than ever.