Maybe yours is a cyclical business, and maybe your end of quarter results were amazing. What will you do to prepare for the next season? As tempting as it might be to sit back and reflect on a job well done, you really should be devising a strategy to grow your business in the next business cycle. But what steps can you take to help take your business to the next level? If you haven’t done so already, the answer might be to start attending trade shows.
If your business tends to heat up during the spring or summer, a fall trade show is the perfect opportunity to find new clients and build new relationships in preparation for your busy season. No only do buyers attend shows in an effort to maintain existing relationships, they’re also on the lookout for new products to add to their product line for the next fiscal year.
Choosing the Right Show
When it rains, it pours. You’ll likely find that there are more trade shows than you could possibly attend this season. There are a few things that you can do to make sure you’re attending the right show, and they all involve reaching out to others.
First, talk to your existing customers. Which show(s) do they plan on attending? Where they decide to go can be a good indication of untapped members of your target market to also be in attendance. You can also speak to event organizers or refer to their website to see which companies have already committed to attending. Finally, try to pick a trade show that will be heavily attended by decision makers to increase your chances of getting a firm commitment.
Get the Word Out
Hopefully by now your company is making full use of the power of social media. Social media is a free and easy to use tool to keep your customer base informed about the goings on in your company. You can also make use of the registered attendees list that’s available through a show’s organizers. This will allow you to send an email blast to these prospective customers to let them know what will be on display at your booth. This is also an effective way to grow your contact list and create buzz before the show.
Create Your Own Custom Booth
Sure, renting a booth can save you some money, but a rented booth can be more trouble than it’s worth. Display booth marketing is an art as much as it is a science, so you might want to enlist the help of a professional. Having said that, you and your team should absolutely be involved in the design process – after all, your booth is going to represent your brand. Make sure that it speaks to your brand and communicates an exciting and cohesive message.
Nothing Wrong with Gimmicks, Just Don’t Go Overboard
There’s nothing wrong with enticing people to your booth with the chance to win an iPad or some free swag, as long as you don’t let it detract from your overall message. Contests and other gimmicks are great ways for increasing foot traffic to your booth, just make sure you’ve got a strategy to transition the conversion from the contest to your pitch.
Don’t Forget About Yourself!
You and your team are going to be the driving force behind this show. Having said that, make sure your team comes prepared. Comfortable shoes, and water are a must. You might also want to take them out for a pre-show breakfast to make sure they’re all fuelled up and ready to engage passers-by.
After the show, you might be tempted to get back to business as usual. Before you tackle the mountain of work that’s waiting for your attention, schedule time every day for trade show follow up. If you’ve got a lot of leads that you won’t be able to follow up with quickly, assign some of them to your team members. It’s important to follow-up with as many leads as quickly as possible if you have any hope of converting them.