Trade shows are a great way to get your product in front of the right people and can be a huge stepping-stone to helping your business grow, regardless of whether you are a start-up or a corporation. From international shows, such as IFA Berlin to ones round the corner in Olympia, there is a trade show for everyone.
Once you have done your research into which show is the perfect fit for you, it is important that you maximise your time spent there, so here are some tips to help you get more bang for your buck:
Step away from your booth
While it can be tempting to stay at your stall all day, make sure to dedicate some time to networking. Trade shows can be huge, with thousands of exhibitors looking to attract the same attention as you, so it is important you bring some team members along to hold down the fort while you go exploring. Most exhibitions have delegates lists and a break down of those exhibiting, so do some research and identify the key people you want to get your brand in front of. This could be a bigger competitor, a company you want to ultimately sell your business to, or a stockist for a major retailer who is there to spot the next greatest invention.
Think outside of the box
We attend trade shows regularly with our clients and the biggest challenge for them is standing out in the crowd. CES Las Vegas attracts 35,000 buyers every year and IFA Berlin boasts similar figures, so you need to make the most of the space you have and get people to come to you. It could be something as simple as a giveaway, which gets your name out there, but don’t forget to be creative. You can play around with the design of your stand or go all out and create a virtual experience. There is something for every budget.
A great example of this strategy is Charity Water. They are a non-profit organisation, which introduces clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. At exhibitions, they simply invite visitors to walk two 18kg containers of water across a 45-metre platform so they can experience first hand the hardships faced by the villagers who have to carry water from sources miles away from their home. Simple but effective.
This is the key part of maximising your trade show experience. You may have established a variety of new relationships throughout the day but that’ll be wasted unless you get those meetings scheduled. Gathering business cards and adding people on LinkedIn will help you guarantee return on investment, whether that is through leads, meetings, sales or traffic to your website.
The benefits of trade shows is never ending, but they can be expensive, so make sure to do your research and get some meetings booked in ahead of the show. If you commit to networking and get yourself out and about, you’ll be well on your way.