How to Effectively Market Your Business at a Trade Show

Trade shows can be a valuable marketing tool. They give businesses the opportunity to showcase their goods or services to an active audience. Many people make the mistake though of thinking if they leave a show without a certain amount of products sold or appointments booked that the show wasn’t successful.
Jamil Bouchard, a contributor for “Huffington Post” has “Eight Great Tips for Rocking a Trade Show.” Tip #2 is a great start for businesses preparing for a trade show. “Have a goal in mind: When attending a trade show, make sure you know what your intentions are. Are you focusing on attracting new clients, luring in new distributors, establishing your brand, or to gather tips on improving your marketing further? Giving all you can towards one goal will help ensure you accomplish it as well as possible. You can then choose another goal to work towards at the next trade show, and improve your company in various ways.

If you know what you are looking to get out of a show there’s a better chance of feeling like the investment was a wise choice. Trade shows can be a costly marketing move. After buying the booth or space businesses have to put together an attractive or interesting display to get attendees to stop. Also, there is the time and cost of promoting the show.
Don’t just wait to see who comes to your booth during the event. Think about the people you would most like to see your booth. Are you a caterer that would like local venues to promote your menu? Do you sell office supplies and wish you could get that office park to see your new collection? Invite them! Get tickets and drop them off to your preferred clients. Don’t forget to share a downloadable ticket on social media if you are given the option.

Social media is an amazing tool for trade shows. Typically the hosts of the show will have established a hashtag. Be sure to remind your followers to come and see you (and remind them what booth to stop by!). Give shout outs to people you see or interesting swag you get. They will love the attention and hopefully share your mention on their own page.
Above all – create memorable interactions with the people you do get to see. In a “Forbes” article, the author Steve Olenski discusses how trade show attendees can be timid and the importance of engaging them in conversation rather than scaring them away with a sales pitch. “Engage people with a game or contest. Don’t just give away a thousand pens or a hundred t-shirts with your logo on it. Make people enter a drawing or answer a question to earn their prize. Giveaways create no dialogue, whereas a contest instantly creates a participant.
Trade shows are more than passing out flyers and colorful banners. Make sure to use the opportunity to tell your message and remind attendees why to see you after the show. While a sale is great, a lifelong customer is gold.