It’s of utmost importance to put your best foot forward when you’re taking part in a trade show. When done right, these events can help kick start your fledgling business, widen your customer base, or connect you to like-minded individuals or organizations. It’s a must, then, to put a lot of care into your trade show preparation process.
photo credit: iAVM WHQ / Flickr
As soon as you get news about a trade show that you want to attend and are capable of attending, you need to have a plan in mind to ensure that your business will make the right impression. Sometimes, this planning process can take weeks, if not months, so it’s best to get started as early as possible.
Here’s a practical way of making the most of this upcoming opportunity.
Have a Goal and a Plan to Make It Happen
First and foremost, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish by attending the trade show. Do you want to launch a new product or service, connect with people and businesses under the same industry, explore the opportunities that such an event presents, or all of the above? Your preparation strategy can vary greatly depending on your goal.
If you want to launch your brand or introduce a new product or service, for example, then your plan should focus on that and use every opportunity that your trade show exhibit highlights this particular aspect of your company. If you want to expand your network, it’s a great idea to focus on how you can make connections with the other participants even before the big event.
If you have multiple goals, then you should develop a plan for each and budget your time and resources accordingly to make sure that you meet your objectives.
Develop Custom Marketing Collaterals as Soon as Possible
As soon as you have a plan, prepare your marketing collaterals. If you need custom coasters for your giveaways, for example, come up with an effective design and place your orders with your contacts as soon as possible. This is to ensure that these custom items will be completed well ahead of schedule and that the items will not be delayed by the deluge of orders from other event attendees.
If you delay this part of your preparation process, then there’s a good chance that you’ll find a line when you finally present your order to the manufacturer. Plus, this won’t leave you with enough time to come up with a backup plan in case something goes awry in the production process.
Set Aside Enough Resources for the Event
The opportunity presented by attending a trade show comes with its own cost. Often, organizers require participants to pay a certain amount to reserve their space in the event. In addition, you have to consider the rent for the booth that you’ll be occupying, the cost of transporting and accommodating your team members, marketing expenses, the cost of ramping up your production efforts, and a host of other considerations – not mentioning the iPad rental costs your team use!
If you have the budget for it, you can sponsor the event so that your company or products can be more visible to other businesses or customers that are in attendance. If your main goal is to build relationships with other businesses, make sure to set aside enough time to visit the companies that interest you while the event is taking place.
Promote your Business Before the Event Takes Place
As a part of the trade show, you want the said event to be a resounding success. If more people are attending the event, then there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to connect with more consumers and businesses. Make an effort, then, to promote the trade show and your booth.
Use your social media channels to bring attention to the upcoming trade show and invite your followers to interact with you during the event. You can even hold promotional activities and invite the winners to claim their prizes at the trade show.
Schedule Booth Manning Duties with the Rest of the Team
You need to work with a team so that your space in the trade show can continue to entertain customers and businesses while you’re checking out other booths and connecting with other participants. Before the event, make sure your team is aware of their roles and the times that they should be manning the booth.
It’s also important to schedule their breaks and make sure that everyone has a chance to meet with customers as well as use the event to improve their knowledge of the business or the industry that you are in.
Trade shows offer businesses of all sizes many new opportunities to sell their wares, connect with a much larger business community, or learn a thing or two about the industry they are in. Make the most of this opportunity by preparing well for the event.