These days, a lot effort is being put towards online marketing efforts and with good reason—it is a powerful medium that allows you to reach a wide audience as well as establish trust, credibility and authority. But, offline marketing is far from being obsolete, and one of the most powerful tools is attending trade show, which gives you the opportunity to meet with qualified leads face to face. Here are some tips to maneuver this potentially powerful form of advertising.
Do Your Research
Though a trade show can help you acquire a good deal of leads in a short amount of time, at a much lower cost when compared to other marketing efforts, they require a large sum of money upfront. You do not want to squander the opportunity so it is important to do your homework before signing up for an event. Talk to the organizer of the show to get a thorough breakdown on attendee profiles—you want to make sure that your target market is represented to a degree that makes it worth it for you to attend.
Make Sure People Know You Will Be There
Many attendees will likely head to the event website to find out who will be attending and related information. If possible, consider buying a featured listing to get your company some extra exposure. At least two to four weeks before the show, get the word out that you will be there. Call or email prospects to invite them to come see you there; post updates on social media accounts and your company blog. If you have any enticing giveaways, be sure to mention that to pique interest. A key part of tradeshow marketing is getting the word out that you will be in attendance.
Pick the Right Staff to Attend and Train Them Well
If you are going to bring staff along with you, it is vital to pick the right people. Successful sales are all about successful communication and rapport. You want your friendliest and most engaging staff present, but make sure to pick those who are a bit on the aggressive side. Train them well on the products and get crystal clear on your desired prospects, what questions to ask, how to handle unqualified and qualified prospects.
Try to Get on the Presentation Agenda
This may not be possible but it is certainly worth a shot if you want to maximize the benefits of attending trade show; talk to the organizers about getting a slot to present. Some business owners who do trade show marketing only choose to attend shows where they are given a speaking slot and feel just having an exhibit does not offer the same returns. I imagine this is something you have to decide for yourself eventually.
Considerations for Promotional Giveaways
People love free stuff; people like entering contests where they have an opportunity to win free stuff, so you should plan accordingly if you are going to market your business at a trade show. Whether you are just planning on giving away one item or gift bags full of stuff, you want to give some thought to what these freebies will be. First and foremost, you want to give away something useful, not something they will chuck in the trash. Make sure your company logo and contact information is clearly visible. Even better is your logo and a short tag line describing your services. A USB flash drive is one such item that fits the bill. You might also consider having some less expensive items to give to less qualified prospects and some pricier items that you can give to your hot leads.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers all things business.