Trade Shows are an amazing way to market, network, and sell your products and services. When going to a trade show, having a project timeline will amplify sales and marketing efforts as well as put the best possible face on your business. This also allows you to test the market in a public forum and gather much needed feedback.
At a trade show, you can gather intelligent marketing information about your competition, directly contact and show your product or service to potential buyers, and save valuable time and money by reaching prospects without having to rely upon individual meetings and demonstrations.
Here are some tips for preparing for a trade show (starting 4+ weeks before the event):
- Organize your information in a binder or folder (virtual or physical), keeping phone numbers, schedule, and any other information in one place.
- Prepare a project timeline as soon as you book the show, with a checklist for easy preparation. See the Helpful Tools list below to find online checklists and calendars which will help you stay organized.
- Obtain a list of attendees and learn about those contacts you are interested in. Researching the audience and other participants ahead of time in order to prepare for questions and have relevant material will bring you in direct contact armed with info you need. Nothing beats a face to face meeting.
- Ask questions of the event management, such as what is provided with the booth, and the booth dimensions. Ask if there will be wi-fi capability, water, and other needs you may require.
- Organize your marketing materials; business cards, brochures, banner, your website, and any presentations.
- Create a way to collect information from people: names, phone, email, etc… Having a “give away” item is a great way to entice people to give you this information.
- Prepare the booth and demonstration materials. Having promotional items such as key chains, pens, etc… and using decorations to draw attention to your booth.
- Bring a digital camera to document the event for your website and blog.
- Tweet or comment on Facebook from the event.
- Have a follow-up plan to reconnect with people you met or collected contact info from.
Use checklist tools to keep your project organized. These services are free and are accessible through your phone as well as your computer. Some great checklist and task list tools are:
There are wonderful marketing material web sites and tools readily available to help you create business cards, fliers, questionnaires and more:
The most important part is to follow up with potential clients after the trade show. Sending an email to thank your new contacts for stopping by your booth, and let them know that you will be in contact shortly is a great way to start.
Please contact Office Solutions ME today for more assistance in setting up your trade show, creating marketing materials and copywriting, or for any virtual assistance you may need.
Plus, check out the upcoming trade show training program being offered by the Maine Small Business Development Center.