You've worked hard to start your small or medium business and establish yourself in the marketplace. Whatever product or service you sell, you're ready to reach more customers, get your name out there, and do more business. A great way to do that is by exhibiting at a trade show. You'll see as many potential customers in just a few days as you might during several months with your store or office. But what do you need to know before getting involved with one?
First of all, you need to know what type of trade show you're interested in, which means you need to really know who your customer is and what types of shows they attend. Sure, networking is great, but in addition to making contacts, you'll want to expose yourself to people who are going to buy your product. Make sure the trade show you attend is not "industry-only" and make sure attendees are the people who would want to shop with you. Talk to someone who is in charge and ask if they have demographic information from past shows - many do! You can also get information about various shows from a number of wesbites including Tradeshow Week and the Trade Show News Network.
You'll also want to make sure you stand out from other booths. If you're looking at larger trade shows, think about how you can make an impact. Often times, smaller businesses get lost in the sea of larger companies. Make your booth unique by using items such as audio visual rentals to attract attention or focus on the aspects of your product or business that are unique and promote them to stand out above the rest.
Make sure you reach buyers before the actual event. A great way to do that is with social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If your company doesn't already have an account on these pages, what are you waiting for? Let your buyers know you're going to be at the show and encourage them to come. Most people don't attend alone and friends and family members may turn into new customers. Also, you might even find yourself in contact with other people in you business who can give you tips about the trade show and what you can expect.
Finally, after a trade show, you're more than likely to see an increase in business. Be prepared for this! Make sure you have the inventory and/or staff or be prepared to hire them. Also, make sure you hold on to contacts and follow up with both other people in industry and customers after the event is over. Remind them that you exist and your product is worth remembering!
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