According to Trade Show Executive Magazine, trade shows are a $25 billion dollar per-year business. This is due in large part to certain business owners, who spend their entire year on the trade show circuit. But you don’t necessarily need to attend every available trade show to take advantage of trade shows to promote your business. You just need to find the right ones to attend. Last week, we started a two-week series of 10 steps to help you prepare for a trade show. This week, we will cover tips 6-10. To review the first five steps, check out our last post.
The first five tips included:
1. Selecting the Right Show
2. Organizing your Goods
3. Configuring your Space
4. Maximizing your Space
5. Choosing your Booth Location
6. Dress for Success. You’ll likely be on your feet during the show. Don’t forget to pack a pair (or two) of comfortable shoes. First impressions count. So make sure you wear clothing that communicates a professional image. But you don’t want to fade into the background of your own display.
7. Promote your presence (social media, email marketing, PR). Once you’ve decided on a show, organized your hard goods, configured and maximized your space, and chosen your booth location, it’s time to let the world know about your plans. If you haven’t set up social media accounts yet, now is the time to do it. Start with a free WordPress blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. Next, write a 300-500 word blog post about your upcoming trade show. Publish the post and direct traffic to it by sending links to the post via your other social media networks. If you do this on a regular basis, your site will achieve Search Engine Optimization, which means that potential trade show attendees and clients will easily find you when they search for trade shows in your field.
8. Maximize your time at the event. Arrive early and stay late. Research the vendors, potential clients and customers you want to make sure you meet. Then, use the updated show guide you will likely receive when you arrive to revise your plan, if necessary. Bring a pen and paper so you will be prepared to take notes. And plan to attend seminars and workshops if they are available.
9. Network. Trade shows aren’t the time to visit old friends and shoot the breeze. Instead, focus on spending time with potential customers, partners and advisors. So, pass up on an invite to visit your peers and associates for a drink and use the time to introduce yourself to exhibitors and attendees you don’t yet know. Once you’ve established several new contacts, then you can connect with your buddies.
10. Come up with a post-show plan. After the trade show concludes, resist the urge to head home to climb into bed. Follow up on contacts you made at the show. Attend to email inquiries and return phone calls. Report on your trade show success using the social media platforms mentioned above.
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How to Prepare for a Trade Show – by Xylea-Wood Trade Show Booths and Displays