Make the Most of Your Trade Show Appearances

Trade shows can be an excellent marketing opportunity. After all, they’re a chance to introduce your brand to a wide cross-section of your target market, network with peers and potential partners, and keep up on the latest trends in your industry.

But as anyone who has ever exhibited will attest, Murphy’s Law seems to be in full effect at a trade show. We’re sure you’ll take it all in stride, but stuff happens. If you avoid these classic trade show pitfalls, then at least you won’t have to worry about these particular issues while you’re marketing your business.

read the whole trade show manual for small business trade show successNot Reading the Manual

For some people, reading the manual is a part of the process when working with any new toy. For others, it’s just another piece of paper that gets in the way of the unboxing experience and the experimentation process.

We’d recommend that you read your trade show manual cover to cover, or at least the parts that pertain to you. Yes, we know: they’re not always a great read. However, they can save you plenty of time, money, and hassle.

Not Having Specific Trade Show Goals

We’ve already mentioned that trade show attendance can be great for your business, but it’s still a good idea to have some clear goals in mind when exhibiting. What are you there to accomplish? Do you want to build your mailing list? Collect at least 50 hot prospects? Collect 100 new business cards? Recruit employees? Forge new partnerships?

Whatever the case may be, define your objectives before you ever set foot in the exhibition venue, and make sure your team members are on board.

bright eye-catching printing for trade show booth successLast-Minute Printing

Decking your booth out with eye-catching graphics is a great way to attract attention, and passing out swag to show attendees will certainly help get your name out. You’ll also need marketing brochures, sign-up sheets… the list goes on and on. And what do all of these things have in common?

They all have to be printed, and unless you’re a design whiz on top of all of your other talents, they’ll have to be designed, too.

Give your favorite local print shop plenty of time to get your trade show materials ready for you. That way, they can create a design that captures the ethos of your brand, and you won’t have to worry about having your marketing materials ready on time.

Technical Difficulties

Using sound effects, music, and video presentations can certainly give your booth extra mojo, but dealing with last-minute technical issues is the last thing you need. Make sure you bring a backup of everything, including your presentation on a thumb drive or portable hard drive. That way, you’ll still be able to put your best foot forward even if you spill coffee on your laptop.

Choosing the Wrong People for the Job

Your best salesperson might not be the ideal candidate for the booth, even though she’s great at closing deals one-on-one. Assuming you’re not the only one working your trade show booth, choose helpers who will put your business’s best foot forward.

If your goal is to generate new prospects and their goal is to catch up on their favorite series… you see where this is going.

why handing out brochures at a trade show can hurt youOverdoing the Brochures

Thanks to your local print shop, you have these eye-catching, high-quality brochures. Should you make it a goal to pass them out to everyone you meet? Nope.

Here’s why: to uninterested parties, a brochure is something to politely accept and promptly toss as soon as the line of sight is broken. It can also act as a barrier to conversation.

Once the brochure has changed hands, the conversation is over. Make sure you and your staffers are actually engaging with attendees and gauging interest before handing over that flyer.

Good Luck!

Or should we say, “Break a leg?” There is a certain element of performance to a trade show appearance, after all. We wish you every success at your next trade show. May your business be the star of the show.

[Photos via: Geektechbranding, Michaelhyatt, Fourhourworkweek, Thedp]