For some products and markets having a stand at an international exhibition can be a good way to access customers, analyse the competition and assess demand for your products or services.
It can be costly to have a stand at an international exhibition. You might want to go to your first trade show as a spectator. It will give you a chance to see the show and your competitors first hand to prepare you for your first experience as an exhibitor.
Plan trade show logistics
Being well prepared for a trade show will help you make the most of your time and money.
There’s a lot to organise. Having one person to manage all of the logistics can makes things easier. Think about:
the location of your stand before booking
the facilities at the trade show (electricity, water, loading area, wifi)
how to present your stand including signs, banners or furniture
printing promotional material like brochures, flyers or business cards
having an enquiry form on the stand to collect potential customer or partner details
creating a rota for who will manage the stand during the show
whether you need to ship products or printed material and any permits needed
visa requirements and booking travel and hotels
Make the most of trade shows
Setting objectives will help you measure the success of the trade show and the return on your investment. Decide what you want to achieve and quantify it. Your objectives could include:
a number of confirmed sales
a number of new clients
finding new agents or distributors
finding out about competitors
Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve you’ll need to market your presence at the show. Common marketing activities include:
a profile in the trade show’s marketing material
printing brochures, flyers and business cards
emailing current relevant customers
calling potential customers
putting adverts in the local press
competitions or give aways to attract attention at the show
Be ready to network. Think about how you’ll talk to potential clients or partners about your business, product or service. Remember to get contact details and give out business cards.