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The Ultimate Guide to Exhibiting at a Trade Show

Trade shows can be an excellent tool for promoting your business. You have a chance to reach a new audience and demonstrate your products. Plus, it’s a useful arena for scoping out your competition. You can find trade shows up and down the country. You can even go abroad to find the right place to exhibit for your industry. However, successfully exhibiting at a trade show is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of effort to pull it off, so you have to go in prepared. If you want to experience trade show success, you need to start planning for each show far in advance. Follow this guide to ace your first trade show and each one afterward too.

Your Reasons for Exhibiting

Before you sign up for your first trade show, you should think about why you want to do it. Are you going just because someone suggested you should? You might not be entirely sure why you should do a trade show. You need to think about what you’re hoping to get out of it. Otherwise, you won’t be able to measure whether it was a success. There are lots of fantastic reasons for attending a trade show, but they still need to apply to you. A trade show can help you connect with new customers and strengthen your relationship with existing ones. You can learn more about your industry and any new developments. It’s excellent for brand development too, and there are plenty of other reasons to go.

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Image by Rico Shen

Find the Right Trade Shows

If you want to exhibit at a trade show, you need to begin by finding one to go to. There might be several shows suitable for your business. Think about what sort of trade show is going to work for you. Some companies might benefit from going to a show that caters to a specific industry. For example, you might go to a trade show for household products. Other companies can consider targeting a particular demographic. You might go to a show being held in another language or perhaps a wedding fair. You should be able to find a range of options both local to you and further afield. You can start looking for trade shows at http://www.tsnn.com/.

Your Trade Show Budget

Exhibiting at trade shows is going to cost you money. It will hopefully help to improve your business, but it’s not going to be cheap. You need to pay for the space to put your exhibit and everything in the exhibit itself. You are going to need staff to run the stall and possibly to network throughout the show too. Planning for and attending a show requires time as well as money. If you want to be in attendance, you’ll have to put other tasks aside to make time for it. You need to come up with a budget for each show to make sure you don’t overspend. Don’t forget about things like getting to and from the show. You might also need to find accommodation if you’re traveling far.

Have Professionals Design Your Exhibit

You need to have a well-designed exhibit to set up at each of your trade shows. You will be competing with a lot of other businesses, so you need to stand out. Many people will choose to put something together on their own. You might decide to get a table cover, a couple of banners and perhaps some balloons. But if you want to make an impact, you should consider hiring a professional design service. Visit http://www.steelheadproductions.com to see an example of some experts who can help you. A marketing firm can help you create an exhibit that gets attention. They can create something that promotes you in a way that speaks for your brand.

Your Trade Show Representatives

You are going to need people to run your exhibit and maybe circulate throughout the room. Choosing the right people to do this is essential. You need to know who is going to do a good job of promoting your brand. You also need to know who you can afford to have out of the office for a day or more. So how do you choose the perfect person or people to represent you at a trade show? There are a few different qualities you should look for. You might not select individuals who have all the skills you need. You could pick one person who excels in one area and another who does well in something else. Some of the skills you need include one-to-one sales and presentation skills. They should also have excellent knowledge of your industry and products.

Giving Out Responsibilities

Once you’ve chosen who is going to the trade show, you need to ensure that everyone knows their roles. Giving out responsibilities will make sure that no task is forgotten. You should do this for both preparing for the trade show and for the big day. Think about the strengths of each of the people who is helping you with show. For example, one person might have stronger product demonstration skills. You should also think about everyone’s responsibilities back at the office. Don’t forget to assign these tasks to other people. Then you don’t have to worry about them while you’re at the show.

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Image by Kprateek88

Organizing Transport and Accommodation

If you’re going out of town, you will need to organize transportation and accommodation. These might seem like simple tasks, but you need to put some thought into it. Firstly, you need to transport everything that makes up your exhibit. Many items can fold or roll up into smaller bags, but you could also have some larger pieces. Sometimes it’s worth hiring a large vehicle so you can fit in everything you need. If you’re going to book accommodation for everyone attending, it needs to be close to the trade show. Your employees need to be comfortable too, which might require getting them a room each.

Tailoring Your Approach to the Show and Its Audience

Each time you visit a trade show, you need to approach it slightly differently. Not every show is the same, so you need to change how you present your brand. One of the first things you can do is see what the show’s message is. They are likely to have an overarching theme or feel that they want to project. You can tailor your approach to meet this so that your message somewhat matches theirs. It’s important to think about the audience of the trade show too. Each one will have a different demographic you should be targeting.

Practice Your Approach

You might have put everything together for the show, but don’t go in there without rehearsing. You wouldn’t give a huge presentation without practicing first. So don’t set up at a trade show without running through what you’re going to do. If you’re planning on giving product demonstrations, you should have everyone go through their sales spiel. All your representatives should practice what they need to do.

Promotional Materials

Giving your audience something to take away with them is always a good idea. You can help them remember you by giving them something with your name on it. You might decide to have print materials, such as business cards or flyers, that you can hand out. Put some on a surface in your exhibit so that people can pick them up. You can also have someone give them out both at your stand and perhaps around the room too. You can also have other promotional materials that you sell or give away for free. It could be anything from pens to keyrings or even t-shirts.

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Image by Charles & Hudson

Using Social Media at the Show

Another way to promote your brand while at the show is via social media. It helps you stay in touch both with people at the trade show and with the “outside world”. People will be using social media to talk about their experience. Twitter, in particular, is a popular channel for keeping up with the conversation online. Check to see if the trade show has an account and perhaps a dedicated hashtag. You can take photos and share information while you’re at the show. You might also have something as part of your exhibit that connects to your social media channels, such as a game.

Collecting Leads

You want to walk away from a trade show with leads you can follow up on. But how can you collect and manage these leads in an organized way? You should have a method for gathering people’s details, whether it’s simply asking for them or something a bit more clever. You might have a prize draw for which people need to write down their email address and phone number. Find some ideas for collecting leads at trade shows by visiting http://www.everytabs.com. Try to have a laptop or tablet with you so you can enter your leads into a database as you receive them. If you’re trying to book appointments, it’s always best to do it on the spot than to try and make them later.

There’s a lot of planning involved in organizing the perfect trade show exhibit. If you want to benefit from going to one, start thinking about it far in advance.

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