A trade show is an exhibition for companies to show their products and services. In most cases, trade shows are only open to company representatives and the media. Even though trade show marketing is tilted towards the more prominent businesses, the small businesses also have a place. This article discusses some of the trade show tactics that you can employ to have trade show success.

1. Set Clear Goals

If you are going to display your products and services at a small business trade show, you must have clear expectations. Setting the goals will help you in measuring the success of the trade show. Some of the possible targets include getting a given number of new customers, getting new partners, brand awareness, and building the mailing list.

Setting goals will work to your benefit in different ways. It will help you get genuine customers. It can also be used for planning on how to network. Setting goals are merely the roadmap to success. This will make progress achievable.

Therefore goals should follow the SMART rule, that is; Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Relevant.

2. Choosing the trade show

The first step towards attending small business is picking the right trade shows to attend. You need to make the choices early enough, even before settling on the best trade show marketing ideas. This will give you enough time to prepare your team and presentations. Most of the time you will consider the well-established trade show that has assured results and exposure. Additionally, you have to choose a trade show where you will have a successful trade show booth.

Some of the factors you should consider when choosing trade show best practices include; relevancy, does the conference having a solid website, and how active are they on social media channels.

You should also consider trade show marketing ideas when choosing a trade show. This will guarantee a trade show success.

3. Pre-show promotions

Even with everything all set for the show, you need to invest a little bit on trade show marketing for your business. This will give you audience during the whole exercise.

You can use several trade show marketing ideas for your trade show. Some of the trade show ideas that will work for you include; sending out direct emails to your in-house created list, putting information about the trade show online on your website pages, social media, providing limited time incentive, and direct invitations by the sales team.

4.Attend other trade shows

Successful trade show ideas don’t come easy. You should embark on your own, attend other small business trade shows. The Huffington post roots for this as you will learn more about the process. You will see what works for them, and even how to improve on it. Moreover, other trade show marketing events are also a source of networks and experts who can help you plan your trade show. You will also learn the best trade show best practices.

5. Learn your competition

To succeed at a trade show, you need to know more about your competition. This is one of the best trade show tactics where you learn about their products, and find a way to offer superior quality. If at all you are ready for direct competition, then you can use their trade show marketing methods. But if you want an indirect competition then go for different strategies. You will also need to have the best trade show marketing ideas to edge your competition.

6. Provide give-away

One of the best trade show best practices is relying on the fact that people love free stuff. You can use this by providing freebies to visitors who attend your booth. The best way to work with the giveaways is making them collateral, where every purchase comes with a complimentary freebie.

Ensure the product you give has your product name, contact information, and website inscribed on it.

7. Get media exposure

Publicity is one of most important trade show ideas especially when you are heading up to a small business trade show. The more publicity you have, the more traffic you will be able to amass during the trade show. You will also need the media for advertisements and to reach your intended audience.

Make sure that you have quality products that will catch the attention of the media. This will serve as one of the best trade show marketing ideas.

8. Choose a great location for your booth

To have a successful trade show booth, you need to choose a place which will lead to more traffic strategically.

Setting up your booth near food and beverage stands will guarantee more traffic. Those who value visibility will take spaces near the entrance. Those who would like to take advantage of the shared audience can set up near their competition.

9. Prepare your staff

It is no secret that you have to prepare your staff for the trade show. They have to understand their roles and learn how well they will execute it to have a trade show success. You need to train them on how to discern different visitors who visit your booth, how to create leads, and make follow-ups.

10. Lead capture

One of the reasons for participating in small business trade shows is to get leads and connections. Therefore, you must learn how to capture your leads. Therefore, you need to set your booth for lead capturing. You also have to use other incentives and follow up on the connections.

To be successful in getting quality leads you to need to have several means of doing it. This is where technology comes in handy to speed up the process. They include; trade show apps, like iPad lead capture app, iPad contest, and offline trade show apps.

Recommended reading: Trade Show Software and iPad Apps For Small Business Success

11. Network

Small business trade shows provide one of the best networking opportunities with stakeholders in your industry.

The American Marketing Association cannot stress enough the need to network during the trade show. They say that you need to create some time to network with the other exhibitors. This way you will be able to establish whether they need your services, or even get to know how to carry other complementary services. A successful trade show booth always has more audience milling around asking and listening to your explanations. Therefore, this offers you an excellent opportunity to network and makes connections with stakeholders

12. Social media

The effects of social media on every aspect of our lives cannot be ignored. One of the affected factions is the business world. You can use social media skillfully in trade show marketing to help make your small business trade shows a success. Social media can help make your trade show a success in many different ways;

  • First, you can use them for contests where users interact with your social media sites to win.
  • Secondly, you can use social media for promotions even beyond the trade show.
  • Social media can quickly pick QR codes which are time-saving.
  • Finally, you can hype your events through the social media since social media allows different literature and content.

13.Follow up

Even though most people would want to take some time out after a trade show, do not fall victim.
You should use the first few days to make follow-ups. Contact all the leads from your trade show apps that you made as soon as possible. This is because most of them are busy and are easily forgetful. You should also use that time to keep your word and send whatever you had promised. Also, sending follow-up emails to everyone who attended your booth is the way to go.

These trade show tactics assist small business owners to be a success in trade shows since they add value to your business. Trade show marketing ideas will always help your business grow.

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