Planning your first outdoor trade show
If you’re currently stuck working from home due to the coronavirus, you might be trying to figure out a way to maximize marketing efforts for your small business. Something you might want to consider doing is planning future marketing efforts.
And after being inside for several months, something you might be interested in attending is an outdoor trade show!
Trade shows allow businesses from similar industries to come together to advertise services and products. Customers that are interested in that particular industry will be able to come and meet with many businesses at once, which almost guarantees that they’ll be able to find what they’re looking for!
However, there are right ways and wrong ways to prepare for an outdoor trade show. If you’ve never been to one before, here are some simple tips to keep in mind.
Keep the location in mind
When planning to attend a fair, make sure that it is within a reasonable distance of your business. If your primary audience comes from your local town and the surrounding towns, you shouldn’t go several states away to attend a fair. However, if your services and products are available on your website, you may not need to worry about the location.
Also, make sure the trade fair is targeted towards your industry before scheduling a booth. No need to go to a fair about books when you sell pet products!
Plan an appealing display
Many businesses make the mistake of attending a fair without paying any attention to their display. However, the more appealing your booth and display are, the more likely you are going to draw people in. You should start planning for your booth several months in advance.
You may decide you want some sort of branded event tent, such as the ones featured here: https://www.showplace.co.uk/event-structures. If you decide not to do a tent, you’ll want to design an appealing retractable banner to put near your table.
Get some giveaways
Everyone likes a good giveaway! To increase the odds of people coming over to your table, start getting some fun promotional materials together. Try to think outside of the box. For example, everybody always does pens and post-its. Is there something else you can do to make more of an impact?
You may also want to consider hosting some sort of raffle with a larger prize. Some people are more motivated by a larger prize. If all else fails, take some candy or other types of food with you!
Practice your pitch
You should also start thinking about your sales pitch. You need to find a way to quickly sell your products to potential customers. Most people are going to be quickly walking past booths, so you need to find a way to draw them in and keep their attention.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t jump into a sales pitch. Finding a way to make a personal connection before trying to make a sale makes a huge impact. Find some small talk topics, draw customers in, and make a sale.
Rest before the event
Attending a trade show can be very physically exhausting. To prepare yourself, make sure that you get plenty of rest the day before the event. Ideally, you’ll want to sleep for at least 8 hours. You’ll also want to make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, both before and during the fair.
If possible, come up with a rotation schedule between you and another employee to make the trade show more bearable. This way, you won’t have to be on your feet and talking the whole time.
Think about follow-up
Another mistake some businesses make is not planning for follow-up. Potential customers are going to be meeting many different companies at the same time; there is a good chance your business may be forgotten about if you do not follow-up with them.
Find a way to gather email addresses or business cards at the trade show. One way to do it is with a raffle. You can then use this information to create an email list, then follow-up with potential customers that way. Those potential customers could become actual customers!
If you’re preparing for your first trade show, make sure to start planning several months. Do not wait until the day before the fair to start trying to pull marketing and promotional materials together. The better prepared for the trade show, the more customers you’ll gain! Start by researching upcoming trade shows in your industry.