3 Tips for Success at Your First Trade Show

Attending a trade show for the first time is a big deal, and it can be a little intimidating. There are weeks and months of preparation, considerable expenses, and many other factors that can be a drain on your time and energy. But if you prepare in a smart way, your first trade show experience can be well worth the effort, especially in terms of new leads!

Still on the fence about committing to a trade show? Check out this page of convincing stats that prove the value of trade show attendance for businesses. Whether you’re looking to raise brand awareness or generate brand new leads, the right trade show can definitely work for you. Here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction:

1.  Choose the Right Show for Your Business

Trade showThe importance of this really can’t be overstated. If you choose a show for the wrong reasons (proximity, cheap fees, your friend is also going, etc.), you simply will not get enough bang for your buck. Maximizing the payoff is all about picking a trade show that fits perfectly with your brand, your industry, or your target market.

This means you will have to put in some time researching and reading up on your options, and asking the right questions. Don’t shy away from this stage though – it’s crucial. If your first trade show experience is a bad one because your brand didn’t fit in, or the visitors weren’t your niche at all, you’ll have a hard time convincing management to give you another shot. And for small businesses, wasting time and money at a trade show that isn’t beneficial can really hurt.

2.  Don’t Wait Till the Last Minute

Alarm ClockIn keeping with the first tip – you want to do your planning and decision-making in a steady, methodical way. If time is short your decisions will be based on timing instead, which really hampers your ability to maximize your trade show attendance. If, for example, you wait until two weeks before the event to decide on custom banners and a table cover with your logo on it, your options will be limited to those that can be printed and delivered in time. If you decide on a layout for your booth the week before, you might not be able to get the necessary visuals, equipment, and furniture to make it work. Visitors will absolutely be able to tell if you've thrown your exhibit together at the last minute.

3.  Focus on Goal-Based Planning

trade show leadsFew of us are lucky enough to plan without keeping an eye on the budget at all times. The best way to deal with a tight budget is to set clear goals for your trade show experience, and then plan your staff, your visuals and your strategy around those goals. If B2B leads are your priority, set a number and develop a pitch to get contact details. If you’re hoping to ramp up brand exposure, think up a branded freebie, small sample, or other tangible to help your brand stick around after the show.

Your first trade show is a big opportunity – so make the most of it with careful planning, and strategic branded visuals to get the maximum impact. Get in touch today to talk about your trade show needs!

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