Trade shows have traditionally played an important role in the marketing of a company. With the current digital revolution - email marketing, social media, webinars, video conferencing - many have worried that the trade show might be disappearing from the marketing stage. Although technology is definitely having an effect on trade shows, there are a number of benefits that make having a trade show presence as important as ever.
Trade shows are a great PR tool - if you do it right
A trade show gives you the opportunity to showcase your company to the world. With a well-designed stand, sharp-looking and friendly staff, and perhaps a few promotional items or a nice cup of coffee you can provide potential customers with an impression of your company that they are likely to remember much better than any other form of marketing you can throw at them. Be aware that this also works the other way around - a messy stand with shabby staff is likely to do more harm than good.
Market your products face-to-face
Trade shows give you an opportunity to speak directly to your customers about what your company offers. This is a huge benefit over having to use direct mailings or emails. It’s all about having the right people on your stand - bring your best sales staff, even if your goal isn’t to sell. Any staff in your office that are great communicators and have the right know-how should be in your exhibition team, too. A lot of people have concerns about everything being digital these days - but even today, nothing beats a personal, one-to-one conversation with an expert.
The targeted audience forms a strong direct sales opportunity
Participating in a trade show means exposing your company to an audience that is highly likely to have an interest in your product. That is, if you are participating in the right trade show. The visitor has already made steps in his buying cycle, they are likely to have done research - over 70% of visitors plan their visit to a trade show - and many are ready to buy. Networking is always a big thing - most visitors come to a show to establish new business contacts - make the most of it!
It’s a very effective way of generating high quality leads
As we mentioned before, you will meet with a targeted audience at a trade show, that by virtue of being there, is likely to have an interest in your company. Each and every one of them is a potential high quality lead. Compared to other ways of lead-generation - cold calling, DM, email campaigns - these people are much more likely to engage with you, especially if they are left with a good impression - see tip 1!
Maintaining your network has never been more affordable
Many businesses have a network that stretches across many borders. It can be a costly affair to maintain a personal relationship with your customers if you have to fly across the world to visit them. Also, many conversations are just easier had face-to-face. Participating in a trade show offers an opportunity to meet with your existing network, in a very cost-effective way. Make appointments with them ahead of time, helping to plan your time most efficiently. Most trade show organisers even offer you the opportunity to invite your customers free of charge, as they are always happy to see dedicated visitors come through the door.
If you prepare well, trade shows are very cost-effective networking opportunities
Trade shows are the perfect opportunity to offer prospective customers a chance to meet your company in person. Promoting your show participation to your prospect list, and inviting them to come and see you at the show - preferably free of charge of course - is a great way of reaching out to them. Giving those prospects that have some lingering doubts or questions they’d like to see answered an opportunity to engage with your company, can be hugely beneficial. Here also goes: make appointments ahead of time with anyone interested in talking with you.
6 benefits a trade show offers in the digital age
- Trade shows are a great PR tool - if you do it right
- Market your products face-to-face
- The targeted audience forms a strong direct sales opportunity
- It’s a very effective way of generating high quality leads
- Maintaining your network has never been more affordable
- If you prepare well, trade shows are very cost-effective networking opportunities