Every year, thousands of trade shows are held across the globe. They are popular, not to mention effective, way to promote products and services to a wider audience. Trade shows have been effectively used to scale businesses and as an essential tactic in taking them to the next level. Startups can find particular success at trade shows as these shows thrive in key areas such as emerging technology and innovation.
The best thing about a trade show is that the startup or small business does will find a ready-made audience available to them. Pick the right event and you will find a significant audience of your target demographic available to you.
“Gearing up for a trade show is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. Pieces can come up missing, but companies should do their best in advance to make it all fits together to their advantage.” – Susan Friedmann, Author
Trade shows are equally popular with customers as they are with exhibitors for several reasons. Firstly, trade allows customers (whether B2C or B2B) to investigate all their options before purchasing goods or services. This is great for startups, too, because it allows them to have real-time interactions with customers and inform them about their product. Secondly, trade shows are frequented by investors because it is a well-known fact that these events are marketing hubs and allow investors to discover the latest startups worth investment. Investors are key players in growing your startup, which can be seen in this example of a startup’s incredible growth.
Once you have made the wise decision to attend a trade show, it is critical to make sure you make the most out of your attendance. Here are some trade show advice and tips for startups to maximize your trade show presence and use the event to attract new customers, drive sales and grow your business.
1. Know Your Niche
Invest in a trade show that is geared towards your products and services. It is obvious that a car accessories company should exhibit their products at an automobile show instead of at an agricultural festival. However, you should dig into this a bit deeper, as within each industry there is a range of shows and you should make sure to attend the ones suitable to your niche in order to avoid wasting time and money. In the same way, you must find a trade show which has an audience relevant to your brand. Knowing your niche inside and out will help you to make such decisions.
2. Invest In Your Display
First impressions last forever. The very first impression your startup will give a potential customer is through your booth or display. A well-made booth will convince attendees that your is professional and is serious about business. Investing in a professional booth from a company like Fret Free Productions will be well worth the investment.
A poorly designed display, on the other hand, will not attract consumers and may give an impression that something is lacking in your company, which is not what any startup wants! It pays to hire a professional to design your display because it is the first impression of your startup that people will have. Make it attractive, on-brand and sure to capture attention even in a busy trade show all!
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3. Advertise As Much As You Can
Ahead of the trade show event, be sure to let people know that your startup will be attending! Marketing your attendance may attract people who have had an eye on your product for a while, or may help you attract brand new prospects. Use the power of social media to promote the trade show and send out invites to people in your network who may be interested in attending your display at the event. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are good platforms for this.
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4. Rehearse Before The Show
Before the show, gather your teammates and employees and decide on a game plan. Discuss ways to approach customers and promote your product and company. Being prepared in advance will pay off on the final day. You can even go as far as to have a “dress rehearsal” of how to set up the booth and how to talk to customers.
5. Encourage Your Team Members
Remember that the success of your startup depends on the performance of your team. Keep them motivated and happy to ensure they perform strongly at the show. Encourage them to do their best. Leadership skills are vital in such situations. Do your best to stay calm and work side by side with your employees. The result will be workers that are happily engaged in promoting the startup and introducing new customers to your company.
6. Create An Interactive Experience
Allow your customers to ask questions. If you talk to them and be open to discussions, they will gain a better understanding of the product and will be more likely to purchase it. Samples are another brilliant way to capture your customer’s attention and interact with them. Testing the start up’s product or service first-hand is a sure way to boost sales! You could also set up other fun, interactive elements that will help draw attendees to your booth such as games.
7. Organize Your Time And Resources
Start planning your display well in advance to avoid any unwanted bumps in the road. Even if a problem does occur, by starting early, you will have ample time to resolve the issue. Being late to the event will make your startup look unprofessional. It is a sign of lack of commitment, so be sure to arrive well in advance! As for resources, create a detailed itinerary and check you have everything you. Also, make sure your employees all arrive. Employee presentation is critical. It is a part of what defines your brand. Ensure their outfits are well pressed and clean.
8. Give away stuff for free
Customers love free stuff. You can offer simple things such as freshly baked cookies. You can go a step further with promotional goods such as pens, hats, notebooks, or water bottles. Try to offer something relevant to your brand.
When customer sees your product more, he or she will become more eager to find your booth and see what you’re about. This strategy is great for sales because once someone has tried something, they often feel obliged to make a purchase.
9. Flyers And Business Cards
Keep a stack of printed flyers and contact cards ready to distribute amongst visitors. This will help them remember your startup and have a way to contact your team for future reference. Make sure they are well designed and professional. Flyers and cards can have a lasting impact on customers, so keep them well stocked and ready for distribution!
“Be audacious and memorable… but smart… and relevant.” -Ken Krogue
Keep these tips in mind when planning for your startup’s trade show. Whether it is the first one, or the last one, the event deserves your full attention. Trade shows can be the key to a successful entrepreneurial future for startups. Your next trade show might just be where you’ll meet your next investor, so make sure to give it your all. Stay on top of things, be organized, and on time. Be patient and responsive to your customers' and employees' needs. By following these suggestions, your trade show event is bound to be a roaring success!