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How Long Should You Stay at a Trade Show?

Whether it’s your first trade show or you’re well known in the trade show community, there are some tips to keep in mind that will ensure you’re making the right impact on attendees who will hopefully turn into customers. One of the things you should consider is how long you should stay at a trade show, and there are several factors that can help you make your decision.

Trade Show Location

Think about the location of the trade show when you’re trying to decide how long you and your team should stay. If the show is in your home city or region, you can stay a little shorter than you normally would because you may still have customers that need your assistance during trade show hours. You can also have a team member or two stay at the trade show booth while you head back to the office to conduct business. This shows attendees that your company is still thriving even though you’re doing promotion at a trade show. If the local show is one that you’ve been to before, staying for three or four hours may be ideal. Promote the fact that you’ll be at the show and the times that your trade show exhibit will be active, so attendees will know when to come meet you in person. However, if you’re attending a trade show that is out of town, it may be best to stay at the show for as long as you can. This will allow you to take advantage of networking activities that may not be available at local shows.

Trade Show Size

 

When you’re coming up with trade show ideas to help you determine how much time you should spend at the show, think about the size of the event. If yours will be one of the main trade show booths in your line of work, staying for the duration of the show (from morning until night) is a great way to attract new customers. However, if you want to appear exclusive, have more than one event to attend that day. If you want to attract customers by advertising the times that you’ll be at a trade show, cutting your time short at the trade show could be an effective marketing tactic. If the trade show is pretty large, stay as long as you can, and make sure your trade show booth is colorful and creative, so you can grab the attention of people who could become customers.

Exhibit Set Up/Breakdown

Finally, think about how long it will take for you to set up and break down your trade show exhibit. If you have to arrive at the venue an hour or so before the start of the show to set everything up and if you need to stay at the venue an hour or two after the show, you should make the most of your time by staying at the trade show for as long as you possibly can. If you’re out of town and the trade show lasts for more than one day, attend as many days as you can afford. If it’s easy to break your booth down and the trade show is local, staying for a few hours could help you make the right impact.

 

Should You Host a Trade Show?

Now that you’ve been attending trade shows for a few years, you may have become known as one of the leaders in your field. If you and your team are usually at regional trade shows for your industry and have made a significant impact over the years, you may be considering hosting your own trade show. There are some things you’ll need to consider if you’re going to organize this type of event. So here are some trade show ideas that could help your team.

Book Hotels Far in Advance

Make sure that the hotel that is close to the trade show venue is booked months in advance. Of course, you can also have the trade show at a conference at the hotel, depending on the size of the show. Keep in mind that companies usually aren’t sure whether their team members will be coming to a trade show until about a month before the event. If you wait until this time to book rooms for the people who are traveling to attend your trade show, there’s a good chance the rooms will be sold out. It’s best to book a block of rooms and then change the names once you have a final list of individuals who will be attending the show. This will keep you from having to pay more for hotel rooms, or from booking rooms that are too far away from the trade show location.

Have Extra Supplies on Hand

You should also make sure that you have a trade show kit you can use for each of the trade show exhibits that will be at the venue. To create a trade show kit, simply put office supplies like printer paper, staplers, extra pens and pencils, and paper clips in a labeled bin and make sure that attendees know how and where to access the kit. You should also have a bin designated for medical issues or emergencies that could come up during the trade show. Allergy pills, pain medication, and bandages should go in this bin, along with items that can help business owners and representatives look their best, i.e. lint rollers or stain pens.

Consider Your Company’s Reputation

Even when you learn the steps that are necessary to make a trade show successful, you should think about how many people you can expect to attend the trade show based on your company’s reputation. For instance, if your marketing team has done a good job of promoting both your show and the business, this means that more potential attendees will hear about the show and want to attend. If you post pictures of your trade show booth from previous events or livestream customer feedback, you can increase the interest of people who could benefit from a trade show. If you’ve got a great venue in mind, a favorable relationship with vendors who can offer food and beverages during the show and a number of peers who would be interested in a trade show, hosting a show could be a great way to propel your business to the forefront your field.

Why Your Last Trade Show Wasn’t Successful

If you and your team have recently attended a trade show but didn’t get the results you wanted, there could be a number of reasons for this. It’s important to be prepared for a trade show in every way, and to be aware of the needs and preferences of your customers. Here are some of the reasons the trade show didn’t go as planned for you, as well as some solutions that you can incorporate into future trade show ideas.

Lack of Customer Service

 

When people come to your trade show and you’re not warm and friendly to them, this can give people a negative impression of your business. This may not be intentional, but you have to make sure that every member of your team is attentive and knowledgeable when it comes to dealing with customers. Everyone who comes to your trade show exhibit should feel as though they’ve learned something and could use what you have to offer. You should also make sure that every potential customer knows how to get in touch with you after the trade show, which means you should offer business cards that are expertly designed or create an exciting way for attendees to leave their contact information.

 

Unappealing Trade Show Booth

 

Your trade show booth should be colorful and visually appealing. Remember that the exhibit is the first thing people see when they’re learning about your company in a trade show environment. Use bright colors that will immediately attract the eyes and make sure that your signage is easy to read and looks professional. You should also add elements that attendees are sure to tell others about, such as a prize or raffle wheel or delicious edible promotional items.

 

Bland Promo Items

 

Marketing items that are practical and expertly made will help you to make a great impression after the trade show has ended. Put together marketing packages that include items that your customers need based on research you’ve conducted before the trade show. If you want to give useful or common items to attendees, be sure to use vivid colors and the most updated version of your logo. This boosts the chances that potential customers will remember your company weeks or months after the trade show is over. Items that are trendy and/or edible work well, too; for instance, a gift card for coffee at a local chain is ideal if the trade show is lengthy or will last more than one day. Also, a quality cell phone cover makes a great promo item because attendees will see the cover every day.

 

Attending the Wrong Show

Finally, make sure that you attend the right shows if you want things to go well. You should be going to shows that are for businesses in your industry, and the technology that you use for your trade show exhibit should be just as advanced as the technology of the other exhibits that are at the show. When you’re in the right place, you’re more likely to attract the right customers, which helps you to make the right connections for future sales.

How Trade Shows Help with Professional Development

There are several benefits to attending trade shows. You will get practice marketing your goods and services to several different types of customers. You will have a chance to create a display that allows you to put your best foot forward in your industry and connect with CEOs and other business owners that you can work with to advance your company. Trade shows also allow you to improve your professional development since you will be faced with a number of scenarios that will allow you to gain more confidence when it comes to your business.

 

Being Organized

 

Creating a trade show exhibit and getting ready for an upcoming show means that you will have to be organized, which is an important part of professional development. You will need to know ahead of time how much space you have to work with at the trade show venue, and you’ll have to get in touch with vendors that can make the signs, banners, and table covers that will make your booth complete. Being organized also means choosing the team members who will be at the trade show with you and briefing them on the goals you want to accomplish well ahead of time so that everyone will feel comfortable talking to potential customers. The more organized you are, the most at ease you’ll feel about showcasing what your company has to offer in a way that customers can understand and appreciate.

 

Public Speaking

 

When you set up your trade show booth, you should be aware that you will have to do a lot of public speaking. This is another essential part of professional development since you’ll need to be comfortable talking to people about your business in a way that doesn’t feel forced. You should also be knowledgeable about your product and learn the ways that people in your demographic communicate, so you can get your marketing message across effectively. The same confidence and preparation that you need to make sure that board meetings and interactions with investors go smoothly are the same skills that it takes to successfully talk to attendees at trade shows.

 

Networking

 

Make sure that you practice networking before the trade show as well. You will need to know how to actively listen and describe your business in a way that will help you make positive business connections. You should also have a plan to keep up with the people you’re networking with so that you can strengthen your potential business relationship. Offering free or discounted products or services to other businesses can help with networking as well and can open you up to new opportunities to expand your business.

 

Of course, a combination of these skills is necessary to put your best foot forward at a trade show. Be sure to meet with your team often before the show to go over these professional development skills so that everyone will be on the same page when it’s time to showcase your company at your next trade show.

Do You Need to Attend Trade Shows Yearly?

Trade shows are some of the best ways to showcase the best that your business has to offer. You can also make worthwhile business connections at these events, and you’ll meet attendees who will potentially turn into long-term customers. But, how often should you attend trade shows? Here are some things to consider when you’re putting a trade show schedule together for your business.

 

Types of Trade Shows

 

Think about the type of events where you set up your trade show booth. Are these events lucrative marketing opportunities? Are they held annually? If you notice that you’re getting great feedback from attending these trade shows, it’s probably a good idea to keep attending regularly. However, if you notice that you’re encountering the same people after going to the show a few times, it may be best to start looking at other trade shows that will expose you to new customers.

 

Distance

 

If you only go to one major trade show a year and you normally come back with a lot of qualified leads and positive feedback, an annual trade show is likely a good idea for your business. If you find that you need to connect more with your local community, perhaps you should set up your trade show exhibit at shows that are closer to your office. In most cases, you won’t have to change your marketing materials and you could appeal to even more customers. This is also a good way to network with other local businesses and possibly come up with promo packages that can benefit both companies and show your sense of community.

 

Team Members

 

Think about the team members that you have available for attending trade shows. If you have a reliable team that usually attends your annual trade show, ask these employees to come to smaller trade shows where you can make even more connections. If you find that attending an annual trade show doesn’t get you as many leads as other marketing methods, such as social media or giving promo items to people who visit your website or office, it may be best to skip the trade show for a year or two.

 

Your Business

 

Consider whether your business actually benefits from setting up a trade show exhibit. Do you find that you’re making a significant amount of revenue after interacting with trade show attendees who become customers? Do you have enough team members in your office to run the business as usual while you’re at a trade show? If going to a trade show means that your bottom line will suffer while you’re marketing to other potential customers, an annual trade show may not be necessary right now. However, you may still want to showcase your products and services in a way that will appeal to those in your demographic, so live streaming or demonstrating your products on social media can also serve as an effective way to make sure you’re reaching more people without compromising the customer service you’re providing for your current consumers.