If you’re a small business owner, trade shows can be a great way to get your products and services in front of potential customers. But if you’re not careful, trade shows can also be a big waste of time and money – whether you’re a pool service company, a home watch company, or a similar type of small business.
Entrepreneur emphasizes the importance of doing your homework before you even decide to attend a trade show. “Before you arrive at the tradeshow, set up meetings with people who you know are going to be there ahead of time. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure you meet face-to-face with the people who are most important to you. Try to connect people at the conference to each other. If you meet an accountant who works with startups, introduce them to a lawyer who works with startups, or to a startup. Get contact information from everyone you meet so you can follow up with them after the event.”
Here are some unique ways to put your best foot forward at a trade show:
Make sure your booth is eye-catching
You only have a few seconds to make a good first impression, so make sure your booth is clean, well-lit, and attractive. Use color and graphics to grab attention, but don’t go overboard – you want people to stop and take a closer look, not run away in confusion!
Give away something memorable
Trade shows are all about getting people to remember your brand. So why not give away something that they’ll use and appreciate? Customized pens, water bottles, or tote bags are always popular choices. Just make sure your company name and contact information are prominently displayed.
Have a contest or giveaway
Nothing gets people’s attention like the chance to win something. Offer a prize for the best trade show photo, or for filling out a short survey about your products or services. And be sure to publicize the contest ahead of time – social media is a great way to do this.
Hold a workshop or seminar
Trade shows are also a great opportunity to share your expertise with potential customers. Offer a workshop on using your products, or a seminar on the latest industry trends. People will appreciate the chance to learn something new, and you’ll be able to show off your knowledge at the same time.
Make it interactive
Trade shows can be a lot of work so make sure your booth adds an element of fun. Use games, activities, or demonstrations to get people engaged with your brand. The more fun they have, the more likely they are to remember you afterwards.
You might want to use a digital kiosk to showcase your products or services and give people an interactive experience. Or, set up a virtual reality station where people can try out your products or services. Using tablets or phones to let people sign up for your newsletter, enter a contest, or learn more about your company is also a great way to collect leads and get people engaged with your brand.
Use social media
Live-tweet or livestream your trade show experience. This helps to generate a buzz and get people interested in what you’re up to. By incorporating some technology into your trade show booth, you can make sure that you stand out from the crowd and get people talking about your brand.
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