Trade shows can be a great way to market your business to a large audience in a short amount of time.  Here are some tips to get the most out of your trade show experience from beginning to end.

1. Pre – Event Planning
Gather as much information as you can through research and the event promoters.
• Know the anticipated attendance so you can bring a sufficient number of handouts and giveaways.
• Know exactly what is and is not provided by the venue.
• Are door prizes you are asked to contribute given out throughout the event or all at the end.
• Will you be asked to present your door prize to the winner?
• Do they circulate through the vendors and give them the microphone to do a 30 second commercial sometime during the event?
• Know when attendees will be in educational sessions and be ready for a rush during the breaks.
• At outdoor festivals the flow increases before the entertainment starts.
• Look at the event schedule and Prepare!

2. Showcase Your Brand
Depending on what your budget allows here are some ideas of what makes a stand out booth.
• Branded Table Cover / Table Throw / Branded Runner over a plain table cloth
• Retractable Banners in all sizes free standing or table top
• Back Drop
• Printed material / Collateral should have a consistent look
• Wear Branded clothing and/ or name tag
• Flags / Banners
• A Branded Tent does stand out for outdoor events

3. Showcase Your Product or Service
• Think outside the box as the best booths are the most inviting and most interactive.
• Use a continuous loop Video, samples, demonstrations and be creative
• Be cheerful and inviting, introduce yourself and SMILE!
• Body language is everything, be warm & engaging.
• Games or a prize drawing registration can bring people in long enough to hit the highlights of your business.
• A must…have a 30-60 second elevator speech crafted, as you don’t get a second chance at a first impression!
4. Collecting Information
• Have a drawing for a prize with the participants completed registration slip.
• Use a sign up sheet for your newsletter or additional information and then give them a ticket enter the drawing.
• Engage and listen to peoples needs and interest.
• Start a list of people you need to follow up with right away who were very interested and had an immediate need.
5. FOLLOW UP…the event may be over, but Your Job is Just Beginning!
• Follow up immediately with people that are on that list you made and wrote notes on.
• Enter all contact information into your database and begin a drip follow up campaign.
• Be sure to record the event this prospect was generated from to calculate your ROI.
One Final Tip…
The other vendors and everyone involved in facilitating the event is a Prospective Client! Walk the floor, getting around and talk to the other vendors. Learn about them, their product or service and exchange business cards. You could find a great strategic partner this way, or a great client!