Startups Too Can Make It Big At Trade Shows: Here’s How

As a startup, it’s okay for you to be intimidated of opportunities that you are yet to explore, but do make sure that you don’t let the apprehensions stand in your way, not for long. So if there’s an upcoming trade show that you should participate in, don’t think twice before saying yes. Not to worry, you can, just like every seasoned exhibitor out there, get the most out of any show you choose to be a part of.

How Startups Can Take Full Advantage Of Trade Shows

  • Come up with a message. If you haven’t already. Trade shows are all about getting the word out, and if you don’t have anything to say, well, there’s no point in going to one. What it is that you would want to convey to the attendees? Are you clear on the objectives of participating in the first place? The answers to these questions will pretty much determine whether or not you would succeed.

 

  • Wait no more. Start planning right away. The longer you wait, the more difficult it could be for you to devise the perfect strategy. Trade shows call for due diligence. It’s time you get down to work. Find out all there’s to know about the competition, or better still, shift your focus to the attendees. If you know who’d be turning up, you can contemplate establishing contact beforehand and apprise them of your participation, through social media, emails and phone calls. Now’s when you can also let them know of any promotions or let’s say free giveaways. And remember, when you plan ahead, you save big on time – time that you could use to invite the key stakeholders including your investors and customers, and more importantly to make sure that there are no flaws in the booth design.

 

 

  • Invest in a good design. While startups are often tempted to make do with whatever they can their hands on, this is not the time or place to settle for less. Look for a company that knows its way around trade show stand construction, one that can design an eye-catching event booth for you, giving you an edge over the other exhibitors. If budget, however, is a matter of concern, you can always ask for a modular design. This one can be used time and again, saving you the trouble.

 

 

 

  • Look for reasons. Let your booth bustle with the crowd. While an easy-on-the-eyes booth may catch their fancy, the attendees won’t come your way just to appreciate the design, and even if they do, who’s to say they would stay for at least a while? Offer something of value. Make it worth their time. Anything, a giveaway, a demo, a VR experience, a free consultation, games – just make sure there’s something in it for them.
  • Don’t act like an amateur. Won’t go down well with the attendees. The way you and your staff behave is detrimental to your booth’s performance. If you appear disinterested or are rude while answering the questions, there’s no saving you. Case closed!

 

You may be a new company, looking forward to expanding your business, still not confident enough to step out of your comfort zone, but you have to drop the guard sooner or later. Why not do it now and let things take their own course?

Brand Storytelling At Trade Shows: The Whys And Hows

While trade shows do present you with quite a few opportunities, how many have you actually grabbed over the years? Do you even try to stand out and get the message out anymore, or like many of the other exhibitors, have made peace with the idea of getting lost in the shuffle? Well, to each his own, but getting noticed is not that difficult as it seems. All you need is a story to tell, and of course, learn the art of telling one.

Why Tell Your Story At Trade Shows?

The audience wants to get to know you on the whole, but they would love to scratch beneath the surface anyday. Brand storytelling lets them dig deeper.

  • When you tell them your story, you’ll share some of the most amazing and transformative moments within your company, and before you know, they’d drop the guard and relive your journey with you.
  • If your story also makes a mention of how your products are made, especially in case of a rather unusual but interesting process, you’ll see that they are all ears.
  • Interestingly, it may not just be you who has a story to tell. Your team and sometimes even your clients could have some engaging tales.These will pique the interest of your audience even further.  
  • The endgame may be to establish a connection or even generate a lead or two, but the more intriguing your story is, the better are your chances of building a rapport, something that could a long way in securing success.

How To Tell Your Story At Trade Shows?

For starters, make sure that your story is not only engaging but informative as well. You can’t just go on and on, without making a point.

  • Build curiosity and work on the characters of your story. Do keep the 4 C’s of communication (clarity, conciseness, completeness, and consistency) in mind while you weave your narrative.
  • Bragging is a big no-no. The audience is not there to watch you toot your own horn. They would make a detour and head to another event booth, and happily so. Also, be honest with the narrative. Lying or misleading would put you in a tight spot.
  • See if you can spark an emotional response from the audience. While no one likes a sob story, if you have something they can connect to or empathize with, there’s nothing like it.
  • Get a good booth builder on board and tell them your brand story. Once they are familiar with the elements that matter to your audience, they’ll take the cue and make sure that the design offers a compelling narrative, one that is engaging enough for your audience to stay long after the elevator pitch.

How You Can Hit It Off With A Story?

Make sure you know your own brand well before the audience gets to know you. Develop a clear understanding of what it is that you want to convey because unless you do, all you would be able to do is blabber. Here’s the thing: you do have a story to tell, every brand does; all you have to do is to find it and ensure that you polish it well. A half-baked brand story may do more harm than good!

The Evolution Of Networking In The Trade Show Scenario

Trade shows have never been about rubbing shoulders with peers from the industry; truth be told, every time you are out there, all you want to do is to build your network and connect with the potential buyers – the prospects. But do you always succeed? If not, why? Is it because you are yet to catch up on the paradigm shift in networking? Have you given up on the old tricks of the trade, or are still stuck with business cards and other primitive methods of building a network? It’s time you come up to speed!

Networking At Trade Shows: A Whole New Ball Game!

Gone are the days when you had to wait for the prospects to come your way before you could start with the elevator pitch and make an attempt at networking. Today, the two of you can get acquainted long before they actually walk in.

  • Technology, especially the social media, has turned the tables for good, making it possible for you to reach out to your prospects, even if they do not show up when you expect them to. In this day and age of hashtags, forum discussions, and blog posts and comments, there’s no reason to hold back on your “meet and greet” strategy, when you can offer them an immersive experience right in the comfort of their living rooms.

 

  • And even if you would rather wait for the big day, when you can meet them in person, there are quite a few ways to not just ignite their curiosity but to keep them engaged.

 

  • While nothing beats an engrossing conversation, not all prospects may look forward to one, how about then, increasing engagement with gamification? A little fun never hurt anyone, right? Think of some games, get hold of a scoreboard, and before you know, your trade show booth will be bustling with crowd, giving you yet another opportunity to build your network. Better still, why don’t you simply bowl them over with an innovative display of information or take it up a notch with magnetic levitation, 3D projection mapping, kinetic ceilings, and the like?

 

  • Back in the day, you had no option but to hand out flyers and expect the prospects to actually read. Today, you can take advantage of what they call “experiential marketing” and give a product demonstration right there, so as to incite participation. You could also opt for a chalet and get a meeting area incorporated into the exhibit, with enough room for you and the prospects to have inspiring exchanges. And with technologies like virtual and augmented reality being more accessible than ever, it is no longer difficult to make them stay past the elevator pitch. They no longer have to walk out from your trade show stand with reams of paper, which would end up in the trash anyway.

 

Networking has come of age. What about you? That stack of business cards you have been bragging about would do you more harm than good. Move with the times before the prospects make a move. Pun intended!

The Definitive Guide To Data-Driven Trade Show Marketing

A lot goes into making a trade show a success – right from planning to booth designing, everything should fall into place for you to nail it. While you may have been doing all you could to make the most of every trade show, did it ever occur to you that you could probably get more out of it if you knew exactly what the audience wants? No? Well, it should have, but then, there’s always the next time.

 

Data-Driven Marketing For Trade Shows

Trade show marketing is supposed to be a two-way street, where the audience tells you what they want, and expect you to deliver, and for you to hit the bull’s eye, you must first unlock the information they share. Here’s why it’s a big deal:

  • Your audience would, of course, prefer a highly targeted and personalized message, and if you were to send one, back in the day, it would have taken some digging. Luckily for you, that’s not the case anymore. The information or data they share is easier than ever to interpret, and guess what, you need not be a statistician or a data expert to figure it out. If not for any other reason, data, at least for its ease of interpretation, should have found its way into your marketing strategy by now. Give it its rightful place!

 

  • What could also encourage you to embrace data, if you haven’t already, is the easy availability of insights. With social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook giving you access to what the marketing experts prefer to call “integrated analytics”, it’s time you get to know your audience better. The analytics, if rightly used, could be your key to fueling a conversation or better still, measuring the impact of your social media strategy on the whole.

 

Time For Some Result-Oriented Planning

With the right kind of data at your disposal, it is not only possible to add that personal touch to the message you deliver but to gear up for your next show as well. It’s a win-win! You could start off by keeping tabs on the latest trends – what it is that the audience likes to talk about these days – if they and you were to engage in an engrossing conversation online, what it is that might catch their fancy? Make your move, and when you are done, do use the analytics to your advantage to see what worked and more importantly, what didn’t.

 

There’s More To Engagement Than Meets The Eye

You may have been successful in making the audience stay long enough for you to finish the elevator pitch at a previous show, but how do you plan to spark their interest in the future? Again, that’s where data-driven trade show marketing comes into the picture. Whenever you engage with the audience online, you get your hands on what could possibly lay the foundation of a rather long-lasting relationship. For instance, if you were to find out that your audience sits up and takes notice every time you share some visual content on Twitter, you could optimize your marketing strategy right away, ensuring that none of your messages fail to deliver the results they are expected to.

The data is up for grabs, mostly for free and at other times, at an incredibly low cost; it’s up to you, whether or not you would want better audience engagement. Don’t settle for less when there’s no reason to!  

 

Lead Magnets To Increase Conversions At The Next Trade Show

A trade show is simply great, while it’s running – it lets you rub shoulders with peers from the industry, get the lowdown on the emerging trends, and showcase your products to the prospects. The question is: what do you come back with, once the show is over? Leads? Did someone say conversions? You sure did. But if you didn’t quite get enough of these at your last show, don’t lose heart. The next time, make sure to use a couple of lead magnets, the ones that let you maximize the number of targeted leads and resonate well with the prospects, and you are good to go.

Lead Magnets And Your Next Trade Show

What Lead Magnets Are?

Ever heard of “give and take”? That’s exactly what lead magnets are, or at least that’s how they work. You offer something of value to a prospect and in exchange, they provide you with their contact information. Win-win!

What Lead Magnets Are Not?

Anything you offer to a prospect if goes unnoticed or unconsumed is not a lead magnet, and definitely not a good one. For instance, a 500-page ebook or a 15-day mini course of sorts, in all probability, won’t be consumed. Hence, no impact.  

What Actually Works?

Now we are talking business.

  • Hit the bulls-eye – Anything and everything that’s even remotely vague would defeat the very purpose of going for a lead magnet in the first place. You must find a specific solution to a specific problem for the conversion to occur.
  • One big promise – While it may be tempting to offer a few unimportant things to your prospects and expect the contact information in return, that’s not how it usually works. They are looking for something big. A silver bullet, if you may, anything that turns the tables and makes them sit up and take notice.
  • It’s now or never – Newsletters are a big no-no and so are those multi-day courses that you would like to believe are full of knowledge. The prospects are looking for an immediate solution. So unless you can provide one, let it go.
  • Lay the foundation – See if you can offer something that changes the prospects’ mindset and encourages them to take the plunge, if not now then maybe in the near future.  

Lead Magnet Ideas For Your Next Trade Show

  • Discounts – They always work, and for obvious reasons. Try your luck!
  • Handy guides – Just make sure they are somehow relevant to what you do or better still, what you offer.
  • Cheat Sheets – Keep them short and simple. Right from a handout describing the technology in use at your booth to a checklist that could help the prospects choose among two or more of your products, anything that doesn’t take much of their time should do the trick.
  • Surveys – Make sure to get their email IDs before they get to see the results. Give and take, right?
  • Catalogs / Sales Material – Instead of beating around the bush, you can actually think of sharing something that speeds up the whole process – your pricing list or a short description of your products and services could go a long way in ensuring that you get those conversions you have been vying for.

A Word Of Advice

Before you try your hand at lead magnets, make sure you have identified the ideal prospects, know where to find them, and have no doubts about what they would buy.