Trade shows are, by nature, a whirlwind. No matter the industry, attendees and exhibitors are busy from sun up to sun down making new business connections, networking and doing all they can to further their business prospects with key industry players. For companies in the industrial business-to-business world, trade shows are an especially important marketing tool.
Approaching a trade show without a plan is a quick way to burn a hole in your marketing budget. To get the most out of your tradeshow attendance, whether you are exhibiting or planning just to walk the show, keep the following tips in mind.
- Set goals specific to each trade show. Is there a particular company or industry segment that you would like to meet or do you simply want to gain the most exposure for your brand as possible? Setting specific goals for each trade show will help guide your actions during the show, making sure you don’t get swept away with the excitement.
- Review the attendee list and exhibitor layout, if available, prior to attendance. Knowing who will be at the show and where, approximately, they are located in the exhibit hall can save you valuable time spent simply trying to locate your target contacts.
- Customize your sales pitch to your target contacts. Research is the key to effective trade show marketing. Knowing the industry and researching each contact prior to introducing yourself will help you stand out among the competition.
- Take copious notes. Earning a business card from a target contact is just part one. After each interaction, take a few minutes to write notes about what you discussed with each person, highlighting key details that you can use in your follow-up contact plan.
- Follow up with each contact after the show. Make sure to take the time to follow up with your contacts within a week of the show. Using the notes you compiled after each one-on-one interaction, remind them of your services and the details of your conversation before you fade from their memory.
Making the most of a trade show takes work, but it is time well spent when your potential business contacts turn into eager new clients.