Attending an internationally-syndicated trade show is an effective way to grow your export business. A trade show not only helps you develop your brand awareness, it’s also an excellent way to meet other companies and discover what is going on in your own industry. In addition, there’s the added bonus that you can broaden your customer base by marketing to people who normally wouldn’t know about your company. When putting together a trade show, the most important thing to remember is to be prepared. Here are some tips to help you get started.
First, prepare to travel and arrange your transportation early. Trade shows take patience and organization, so it’s very important to get everything in place as soon as possible. The last thing you want is to be trying to set up an exhibit design, hiring personnel, and other logistical details at six weeks or less before the show. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got plenty of marketing materials ready – including brochures, business cards, and sample presentations. Check out our preparation/debriefing/checklist for more information on preparing to travel and exhibit at a trade show.
Second, get organized. A few weeks before the international trade show, you’ll need to go over your booth and marketing materials with a fine-tooth comb. You’ll want to look over each item and determine if it has any flaws or if it’s in line with your branding objectives. Also, consider making any necessary changes. For example, if your products require international postage, determine how much postage you’ll be paying and whether you’re willing to pay that extra postage.
Third, make sure your hair and makeup are in order. Attend any number of international trade shows and you’ll be confronted by hundreds, if not thousands, of sweaty, tired individuals. Make sure you dress accordingly and that you don’t go wearing too many hats or clothing options.
Fourth, be careful what you promote and how you promote it. Trade shows are also opportunities to increase your social media presence. Social media is one of the best ways to create brand awareness and build customer loyalty. However, there are some trade show strategies that you can utilize to maximize social media marketing without jeopardizing your booth space or exposing your staff to potential violence or other issues. On your social media networking page you can plan the booth at least one year ahead, start inviting friends and family, and include pertinent company information. While these strategies might not immediately garner attention, with enough planning and following through a few months before the trade show, you can build brand awareness while positively impacting your bottom line.
Fifth, remember to follow-up. A month before the international trade show, it’s important to set up a booth, giveaway prizes, and contact any previous clients to schedule follow-up visits. It’s also important to schedule a post-show conference call with all of your contacts in order to plan any follow-up service-related questions. While many businesses chalk up trade show experience to stumbling onto a couple of good trade shows, the process actually involves a number of different steps from the initial visit to the follow-up call.