Spending time and money on a trade show has come into question for many business owners, given the percentage of sales and marketing that happen online. Is a trade show worth it anymore?
Science says yes. We need humans in our transaction processes. We often still need an emotional reason to close a purchase, so it follows that as a business owner, providing human contact, making that emotional/personal connection with potential customers, is going to help close sales.
The tricky part can be choosing which trade shows to attend. That’s where a little research and evaluation of previous experiences will come in handy. Which shows promise the greatest ROI? And don’t think you’re the only one doing research: potential customers are doing their own online research long before they make a purchase, so you can be pretty sure that a contact who approaches your trade show booth has likely heard of your business or checked you out quite thoroughly online. If they’re approaching you, they’ve been impressed by what they’ve seen, so make sure you have a solid, reputable, and engaging presence on the Web.
As social media rises on the marketing food chain, a daily a pre-emptive marketing strategy prior to a trade show can increase traffic to your booth as well as start conversations that can continue at the show. Announce your participation at a trade show well in advance to increase awareness of and interest in the event. Photos of special products to be released at the trade show are great lures and interest-builders. Special trade-show-only discounts for social media friends are also a great motivator to get consumers to your booth.
Yes, Virginia, there is a place for trade shows in the business world. Utilizing online resources to maximize your experience as an exhibitor is not only wise, but increasingly essential. The smart business owner will discover a perfect balance between online marketing and trade show exhibitions that prove to be an ideal combination for helping a business to thrive.