Image: Malaysia International Halal Showcase – Wikipedia
Tradeshows are the perfect source for new business and if you market yourself effectively, you can gain enough work to keep you busy for a few months. Alongside this, your presence at an industry-relevant tradeshow helps to build connections and solidify your reputation as a service provider. These are a few tried and trusted tricks to generate more leads at your next tradeshow:
- Branded Gifts
Traditionally, bag drops have been the most popular branded corporate gifts, but they’re getting a little over-used. A better idea? Chair drops. Brand your items cleverly, making your company’s presence on the products inobtrusive but still noticeable – and tie it into the theme of the event. Be sure to give your booth a mention somewhere too, inviting anyone with a bag drop to visit you and get a discount or a free coffee (whatever works for you). Set this up by contacting the event organizers and offering to provide whatever items they may wish to include in a bag drop – or a chair drop.
- Create A Welcoming Tradeshow Stand
Look for ways to make your tradeshow booth welcoming and friendly. One element that’s always appreciated by weary stall-visitors is a comfortable place to sit and have a little rest. While they’re resting, they’re serving as a captive audience – giving you the opportunity to strike up a conversation and hand out your marketing materials. You’ll be known as the friendly stall-holder with a wonderful (insert your brand here).
- Start By Creating A Pre-Event Buzz
Plan for the event before the event. The optimal time to start creating a buzz is six weeks before your tradeshow. It’s just enough time for people to plan ahead. A pre-event buzz can come from a competition on social media or you can build a landing page and drive new traffic with exciting announcements and “pre-event sales” on your products. There are a number of ways to get the word out and attract new buyers.
- Utilize a Data Collection Tool
When you’re at the event, you’ll want to remember the people who have requested a custom quote or who would like you to email their business partner. Instead of scribbling in a notebook, use a data collection tool and simplify the way in which you keep track of your new connections. A data collection tool is usually a scanner that allows you to capture someone’s name badge or business card with all of their details. The better tools allow you to choose what the qualitative aspects are – like how hot the lead is, their industry, or how soon to contact them.
- Pick Your Personalities
Tradeshows require you to put your best foot forward. That's not to say you should choose your most accomplished employees. Your time at a tradeshow is best spent building relationships, so choose the personality to represent you that is most likely to enchant people, while still holding a thorough understanding of your brand and what you have to offer. If you are naturally introverted, it will be better to choose someone charismatic to accompany you, and vice versa.
A Winning Swing
Remember, once you have a decent list of new leads, be sure to follow up with them. Generally, it is recommended to wait no more than two weeks before getting in touch – the optimal time is within days. Initial contact can be as simple as an email saying you’re pleased to have met and you will be in touch within a few days with more information.