Guest Post by Johanna Cider
Trade shows are a great way to get your company’s name out there and to network with potential customers or clients. If you are planning to start trade show marketing for the first time, you’re probably wondering: What are the best ways to turn visitors into paying customers? Try the following tips to show off your business in the best light and attract great, loyal customers like bees to honey.
Identify your target customers (and send invitations in advance)
Depending on your industry, you may already have a contact list of potential individual or business clients. Send a quick, professional e-mail to this group, letting them know that you’ll have a booth at an upcoming trade show and would love for them to visit and test your product.
You may try offering an incentive for the first twenty or fifty visitors (depending on the size of the show). Something like a discount voucher on your product or a promotional item can work wonders if you’re trying to attract visitors. If presented in a warm, friendly manner, these gifts may even leave your customers subconsciously wanting to buy something in return for your generosity.
Create an attractive booth space
Your booth is a big piece of tangible advertisement, so entice your visitors by creating an attractive, eye-catching booth. Consider sizing – you’ll need room for all of your equipment and ensure that visitors can easily enter and leave. Choose the right colors to match your business theme and the mood you intend to portray. Keep your booth’s decorations tidy, smart, and simple so they don’t overwhelm visitors on sight alone.
Make it interactive
Telling visitors about products isn’t always enough to sway them. What better way to show visitors your product’s value than to let them test it themselves? It’s normal for customers to have some hesitation when buying a new product, especially if it’s expensive.
Ease their fears and allow them to try your product under your supervision and answer any questions. Don’t be tempted to crowd your visitors: there’s nothing wrong with pointing out your product’s features – but allow your visitors to discover your product’s worth in their own time, so they don’t feel rushed.
Staff your booth with well-trained employees
Your visitors are much more likely to become customers if they’re convinced that your product is worth purchasing – and the people in charge of this critical task are your most well-trained staff. For many customers, your booth will be the first point of contact with your company, so don’t let inexperienced employees ruin their perception. Ensure your staff are confident and compassionate, ready to address any queries that your customers may have.
Follow up with your visitors
Remind your visitors about your product by sending them an e-mail or two after the trade show has finished. This might be in the form of a survey about their experience or an invitation to take part in a competition. You could also request the e-mail addresses of potential customers during the trade show, asking them if they would like to be added to your mailing list if you wish. Just ensure they know what they’re signing up for beforehand, as there’s no quicker way to alienate potential customers than by sending them e-mails that look like spam!
Choose a strategic place for your booth
Find out as much as you can about the trade show venue, and see whether there are different zones in the grounds that cater to different types of businesses – e.g. outdoor vs indoor, near windows or natural light, close to plug-in power connections, etc. If you are allowed to choose the location of your booth at the trade show, be strategic. Studies show that when people try to remember a group of items or names, they can usually recall the first and the last ones they heard or saw – so if your booth is near the entrance or exit, visitors may be more likely to remember your company’s name or booth when they reflect on their experience.
Converting visitors to customers at a trade show doesn’t require a miracle. If your company is prepared and willing to adapt, you’ll be sure to succeed.
Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who has published work for hospitality sites such as Strata. An artist as much as a wordsmith, she loves honing her skills at creative workshops and scouting the latest design trends at trade shows in her city. Discover more about Johanna and her work on Tumblr.