Should You Participate in Trade Shows?
As more and more businesses focus on internet marketing and branding, business owners sometimes think that they don’t need to attend trade shows. After all, they are reaching hundreds, if not thousands of people via the internet, far expanding their brand recognition with ease. However, trade shows fill some very important gaps in building a brand name and in expanding the customer base.
Planning to Attend Trade Shows
First of all, research the trade shows you might consider attending. The right show will open up a whole new market. The wrong trade show will not necessarily damage your business, but could be a waste of your resources.
The budget you plan for attendance should cover the number of days you will be away from your business, the cost of travel and lodging, and the cost of renting space in the display area. If you can afford it, then by all means, book a spot.
Another consideration is if any of your product or service is proprietary. You don’t want to give away your secret for success, and if public display will make your product free to the public, you need to avoid the trade shows
Check, also, to see if you can make a presentation. You will need someone to man your booth while you make the presentation, but by so doing, you become an even more public face for those customers who are unfamiliar with your business. By becoming a presenter, you will elevate your standing in the industry, further establishing yourself as a leader in the field with something unique to offer.
You can build valuable connections at trade shows. While you certainly may not care to have a connection with competitors, remember that trade shows also feature many support industries. You may be able to find vendors for your raw materials that can deliver in a timelier manner for less cost.
You can also find new markets for your product or service. You will meet representatives of forums and groups who may take special interest in your business, expanding your customer base.
Demonstrate Your Service or Product
At trade shows, your potential customers can get hands-on experience with your product. Recently, for example, the company JoyTunes presented at a large convention for music teachers in Chicago. Musicians, music teachers, and even composers were amazed with the technology developed to make a “video game” of playing piano. Other members of the music education community responded with enthusiasm over the interactive program that teaches piano.
Roughly 80 percent of attendees at trade shows and conventions have buying power. They attend, or are sent as representatives, with a certain percentage of the company’s budget to spend on new products and educational materials. This is a good way to up counter sales for the quarter. It also gets your product into the hands of more people who otherwise may not have made a purchase from you.
Attendance at conventions will give a personal face to your business. This is part of the push behind social media marketing, after all. You tweet for your business because people “feel” like they have a personal communication from you, even though you have hundreds of people on your Twitter account. When you are available at these shows, you get to know people who have responded to your social media posts. They put a real face to the business and become more loyal customers.
The only thing you have to lose from attending a trade show is the expense of attendance. The benefits of attending the right show, however, can be manifold.