When businesses attend trade shows, they're often concerned with maximizing their ROI by increasing sales and gaining new leads. But this takes more than just great booth design and a clever email marketing campaign that targets trade show attendees.
There are many opportunities at trade shows that businesses should take advantage of if they want to get more exposure and open up new avenues of business. Consider the following opportunities to increase your ROI at your next trade show.
Set meetings with industry press.
If your business is offering a new product or service, a trade show is an excellent place to unveil it. There will be a lot of industry press at the trade show, and if you've proactively set meetings with them, your business can capitalize on some much-needed publicity and brand awareness.
It's important to start reaching out three to six months in advance in order to get on industry journalists' schedules. Give them a reason why you want to meet; let them know that you'll be releasing a game-changing software or that you've got some exciting new products to unveil.
Meet with potential partners.
Most exhibitors like to have a semiprivate meeting room or set up tables and chairs at their trade show booth. Often, this is because they take meetings during the show with other businesses to find out if there are synergistic opportunities for a partnership. For instance, this could include licensing deals or exclusive arrangements between complementary products. If you've been eyeing a few businesses that it might make sense to meet with, reach out a month or two in advance to set up meetings with key people while you're at the show.
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Sponsor an event or station.
A great way to publicize your business's presence at the trade show is to sponsor something. Sponsorship can bring a lot more attention and drive traffic to both your trade show booth and your website. If your trade show budget won't allow you to sponsor a large gala or breakfast, try sponsoring a charging station or a coffee break between speakers' workshops.
The benefit of sponsorship is that your brand is mentioned on the show's official website and in its literature, emails and social media marketing posts. It's an excellent opportunity to get your business's name out to a wide variety of exhibitors and show attendees, as well as people who just browse the show site.
Deliver a breakout session or panel discussion.
A year in advance of each trade shows and conferences, organizers put out a call for speakers and often outline the topics that attendees might be most interested in. If you find a topic that you can deliver expertly, possibly in conjunction with a large industry client, your business will be in front of dozens or even hundreds of people. Depending upon the show and the nature of your participation, speaking at events could be a good way to generate buzz for your business and increase your brand recognition.
Success at a trade show can be defined by more than the number of leads you acquire by standing in the trade show booth. It can also include the relationships you form and the visibility you gain. Before exhibiting at your next trade show, consider how incorporating one or more of these ideas could help your business make a big impact in your industry.