Trade shows are still a reliable way to grow your small business, with a tendency to give you more bang for your marketing buck than many other forms of advertising. However, without proper forethought and planning, trade shows can drain your budget and leave you with little to show for all your time and effort. Here are a few strategies for making your next event worthwhile.
1. Choose a show that's right for your business. Don't select events blindly; talk to show organizers first to find out what kinds of people are likely to attend. Ideally, you'll want a conference attended by the very customers you're targeting.
2. Spread the word. Many trade shows will provide you with a list of registered attendees along with their contact information. Blast out a short and to-the-point email saying that you'll be at the conference (include your booth number). Sweeten the pot with a special incentive / offer, such as a gift or a discount.
3. Create a persuasive elevator pitch. When a visitor pauses at your booth, you have literally seconds to capture their attention. Prepare a few words (30 seconds or less) to describe what your company does and/or the products it sells. Be sure to emphasize what sets your brand apart from the competition.
4. Keep your booth display simple. Make sure that your exhibit is a fitting representation of your company. Don't overwhelm visitors with wordy displays or complicated imagery. It's a good idea to work with a graphics and/or copy professional to make sure your messaging is concise and compelling.
5. Dress for success. Your employees should wear attire that is comfortable and non-restrictive, but that also accentuates your brand and company culture. For example, if your signature colors are green and white, wearing green and white clothing can help reinforce your brand image.
6. Have a plan for capturing leads. Capturing leads is essential in getting a return on your trade show investment. Make sure you have a solid plan for collecting pertinent details from visitors and that your staff is well trained on this plan. By using one of the many lead-capturing software programs available today, you can collect information right on your iPad and have it sent directly to your database.
7. Give things away. People love free stuff! But instead of passing out cheap water bottles with your logo on them, choose promotional items that have a bit more staying power—like lapel pins or key chains. These items can be custom-made in an eye-popping array of shapes, designs, and materials… and they’re designed to last. Recipients will be proud to wear or carry these jewelry-like pieces everywhere they go, giving your brand exposure far and wide.
8. Follow up diligently. Once you've captured leads, you'll want to "strike while the iron is hot." That means getting in touch with all leads as quickly as possible, while you're still on their minds. If show organizers send you a list of attendees a couple of weeks following the event, use that as another opportunity to follow up.
Make your next trade show count by ordering your custom lapel pins or custom key chains today!
Caryn Smith is Manager of Signature Pins. When you need custom lapel pins, visit http://www.signaturepins.com/custom-html/ today.