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Tips for First Time Exhibitors

Trade shows can be a lucrative marketing effort for a majority of companies, but there is a very high initial cost so it is very important to research everything involving the first trade show. It should be treated like any other business venture with a strategy and well thought out plan.

Finding the Right Show

The most important aspect of creating a trade show event that will result in increased business is finding the right show for your industry. Depending on the industry, this can be clear cut or kind of tricky. One easy way to find the correct shows for a particular market is to research competitorís activities. If the majority of direct competitors are going to a particular show that can be a strong sign your company will exhibit to the correct crowd of attendees. Another factor to consider is your place in the market. Are you a niche market, mainstream, or both? This can be important because niche market shows usually have fewer attendees and can appear less lucrative than a mainstream show with higher attendance, but that is not always the case. Most buyers attend shows where they will find products or services to fit their company, so exhibiting a mainstream product at a niche show can prove unprofitable and vice versa. Just like any marketing campaign, always exhibit to your specific audience at a trade show.

Finding the Correct Marketing Materials

After finding the correct show or shows, the next very important step is to find the correct marketing materials for your booth space. These items include a display backdrop, flooring, fliers, business cards, and/or trade show giveaways. Before looking for marketing materials first consider your budget. It can be very easy to spend too much money on marketing materials and end up reducing your ROI dramatically. This is where we come in; we offer many low cost options that work great for first time exhibitors. One of the most popular systems is the Waveline portable stretch fabric display. This system has many benefits including low initial cost, durability, low cost shipping, low cost replacement graphics, professional look, and easy set up. All of these factors contribute to reducing total trade show cost. Larger and more intricate exhibits can be very expensive to ship and sometimes require union set up at a show, both can add to your bottom line cost for the event. Depending on the industry a more customized booth can also increase ROI by gaining more attention than your competitors. We highly recommend business owners to think about this purchase carefully to insure maximizing traffic show after show.

Portable flooring can be another way to save cost by reducing the rental cost per show. NWCI also offers a wide range of portable flooring solutions that cost the same as a onetime rental, but last for many shows. Marketing materials such as fliers and business cards will offer a takeaway for your clients. This helps because many buyers can get overwhelmed with the number of exhibitors and forget about certain companies. If they have a well designed business card or flier to look through after the show it will insure a second look at your company. Trade show giveaways can also be a great takeaway, but have a much higher cost per unit so itís important to consider all or both options for a first trade show. As with any product, itís important to shop around to find the best pricing on like products to minimize expenses. One thing most exhibitors can forget with a first show is that all marketing materials are extremely time sensitive, so vendors with great customer service can be worth their weight in gold. If you are on a tight timeline and need to insure on time delivery, a reputable and helpful vendor can be more important than saving a couple dollars.

Using Technology and Social Media

Social media has become one of the fastest growing marketing tools for trade shows. Social media is free and can be highly effective if done correctly. Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Google +, and blogging are some of the most effective forms of social media and can be used all together to maximize exposure. Our most recent info graphic after the trade show results offers a clear explanation on how social media can help to keep attendees informed and excited about your company and products. Itís also a great way to launch a new product or promotion. Our first info graphic on social media and trade shows has specific details on how many business professionals currently use social media to find new vendors.

How Fortune Global 100 companies are using social media events:
  • 77% Twitter
  • 61% Facebook
  • 57% YouTube
  • 36% Blog

These stats are very important to consider when developing a trade show marking strategy. Social media can be a free and highly effective form of communication to follow up with all attendees!

Wrap Up

First time exhibitors have a lot of factors to consider when going to a trade show. The three most important factors are:

  • 1 Ė Finding the right show for your industry
  • 2 Ė Create an effective booth design with marketing materials
  • 3 Ė Use social media to stay in contact before, during, and after the show

Taking these factors into consideration can lead to an effective first trade show which can lead to even more effective future shows. Trade shows are still considered one of the best ways to access a large number of potential buyers in one collaborative environment and taking advantage of them can be very profitable for most companies!