Like any business, you probably use a wide range of marketing materials to spread your message far and wide, from traditional printed pieces to digital media. Possibly due to fear of the unknown, one marketing opportunity remains largely untapped by many businesses: the trade show. Expos, conferences, trade shows, etc., are complicated, and require a good amount of planning and capital. However, they provide opportunities you simply can’t afford to pass up.
Face to Face
The goal of marketing is to grab the attention of your target audience. Often, those who receive your mailers or who see your posts online aren’t necessarily looking for your particular product or service at that time.
In contrast, a trade show is essentially the opposite situation. Trade shows, by their very nature, are designed to bring businesses and their clients/prospects together in a venue where interaction is the name of the game. Attendees are there because they are interested in your industry and have come to the show for information or to make a purchase. You simply have to grab their attention with your display and qualify them. As a result, trade shows are excellent opportunities to create lasting relationships.
We can see how big an opportunity your trade show is by looking at the number of attendees. The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, for example, brings in more than 150,000 people per year. Even niche shows like the San Diego Comic Book Convention, which is a mecca for all things entertainment and pop culture, draws over 100,000 people (and growing) annually.
This represents a massive opportunity for generating leads you literally won’t find anywhere else. Every single person who walks through the door is a potential lead just waiting to do business with somebody like you.
People are People
Trade shows and events have withstood the test of every technological revolution because people buy from people. Trade shows are a time-efficient way for sellers to sell and buyers to buy; the right companies and people are concentrated in one venue for a brief amount of time. To keep the expos fresh and interesting for attendees, show organizers and exhibitors have woven digital media into the fabric of the event.
Worth the Expense
No doubt exhibiting at trade shows can cost a lot of money. However, think about the investment you put into the efforts of your salespeople every day, especially if they have national or international territories. The expense of the show is akin to sending your sales staff to a single place where perhaps thousands of clients and prospects are concentrated. Compare this to sending your staff all over the country or the world to get in front of a mere fraction of those prospects.
Think About It…
From the lasting impressions they create to the face-to-face encounters, trade shows are truly an excellent opportunity to reach new customers. There are few better venues for finding like-minded individuals who are already interested in your particular industry. By all means, be selective about the expos at which you choose to exhibit. Make your investment count! If you train your booth staff, practice brand consistency, and have a plan for following up on leads, you’ll discover that trade shows are an investment that can pay dividends for a lifetime.
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