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5 Killer Trade Show Tips

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If you’re looking for a way to attract new customers and publicise your services and products, then trade shows are a great place to start. There are a number of ways to ensure that your company creates a positive impression on potential customers, and it’s safe to say that there’s more to it than simply turning up. Here is a quick guide to making sure you’re utilising trade shows as well as possible.

1) Planning In Advance

Make sure your marketing strategy for the show is planned well in advance and used in conjunction with your overall strategy. If you leave everything until the last minute then you’re bound to forget at least one thing. It’s also worth earmarking which shows you wish to attend months in advance so you have as much time to prepare as possible and research the audience demographic.

2) Drumming Up Interest

There’s nothing wrong with dropping a quick email or letter to people who’ve shown an interest in your business in the past letting them know that you’ll be attending the show. Whilst not everyone will pay attention, it may point a few people in your direction. Visibility at these events is key, so why not kit out your staff out in printed t-shirts or another form of personalised garment? Putting a snapshot of the team in the newsletter you send round should make sure that any confusion is avoided.

3) Simplicity Is Key

Filling visitors’ heads with facts about the history of the company and details of the ins and outs is simply not going to work. Try to get the simple things out there and get the contact details of the potential customers. There’s no point over-complicating things as you only have a small window to try and impress them – leave the research to them.

4) Stand Out Above The Rest

Prove to people why they should visit your stand over the rest. Make sure that everything they need to know is readily available, with the company logo and mission statement clearly on display. Although the personalised clothing will help you stand out if you do decide to go with it, it’s not going to pull everyone over to your booth. One way to generate leads is to offer an incentive to anyone who fills out a contact form. Something like a prize draw is always a winner. Likewise, giveaways always draw people in too and don’t have to be anything too expensive. Something as simple as free stationary or sweets should be enough to make people want to fill out a simple form.

5) Say It Right

Make sure you go into a trade show knowing what you need to tell potential customers. Tell them basic, important information that isn’t likely to overwhelm or put too much pressure on them. Act natural and human, don’t sound like you’re reading a cue card or act wooden. Simply pass on a leaflet, try and get contact details and leave it there unless the customer seems really keen to sign up to something long term on the day. After the show is the ideal time to follow up on any leads gained with an email or a phone call. If you left a good enough impression on them at the trade show, this should be enough to gain a customer.

About the author: Paper Free Invoices started out as a small blog for my invoicing software business Paper Free Billing but has morphed into something much more useful. I’ve really enjoyed reading the guest articles and speaking with guest publishers so much so I’m always looking for talented bloggers to contribute. If you have any questions or feedback on this article, please find your voice in the comment section, we will try to answer every genuine comment!

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  • Jason Williams

    Standing out is big with today’s busy trade shows. The busiest booths always seem to be the ones with live demos or something spectacular that grabs the potential customer’s attention.

  • Phyllis Moore

    I agree that trade shows are a good opportunity to expand one’s contact list — with an incentive — as you point out.

    I also think giving people souvenirs of some kind with the company name, logo, Web address, etc. is a great idea. It should be something simple but yet useful such as pens or key chains. Business cards, too, preferably plastic or some other durable material. These days people expect to gather up free items at each trade show booth so it’s best to make it something they are likely to hang onto and to use in daily life.