Trade shows are a great tool for small businesses to promote their companies and draw in potential partners and customers alike. If you’ve never presented your business at a trade show before, the task might seem slightly intimidating at first. After all, you’re putting yourself out there right next to your competitors, some of whom may be bigger companies with more resources.
However, Don’t let that deter you from attending. Presenting at a trade show brings many opportunities that you don’t want to miss, especially if you’re just starting out and want your business to grow. Don’t worry if you’re on a tight budget; even a little investment goes a long way if you spend it right.
Follow our tips and make the most of your time at a trade show:
1 – Start preparing early
Register as soon as possible so you can pick out the best space for your booth. Draw up your goals and make a plan for what you want to gain from attending the show. If this is your first trade show in Canada, decide on your top three priorities. It’s easy to look at the size of the Canadian market and get overwhelmed with the possibilities. By focusing on just a few you can help make your trade show experience a success. Be clear on the thing you need to do to achieve those goals. And don’t forget to plan out how you’re going to measure your success.
Draw up your goals and make a plan for what you want to gain from attending the show. If this is your first trade show in Canada, decide on your top three priorities. It’s easy to look at the size of the Canadian market and get overwhelmed with the possibilities
2 – Make your booth stand out
We know that it’s difficult to compete with a large company that can spend thousands of dollars on a professionally designed, shiny new booth. But don’t let that intimidate you; instead, get creative!
What is the thing that makes your company unique? A simple, yet eye-catching roll-up or banner may be the only thing you need to attract the eye of visitors. Make sure the design fits your brand.
3 – Get the word out
Advertise your booth on all possible channels of social media. Offer something enticing to readers that encourages them to look your booth up, like a sweepstakes or a promise of free cookies.
4 – Gather a crowd
Let your clients and partners know you’ll be attending and encourage them to go as well. You may even want to buy a ticket as a gift for your best client.
5 – Create a buzz
If visitors see your booth surrounded by people, they’ll want to know what it’s all about. You have several ways to do that:
- Offer refreshments. Nobody can refuse a free cookie or a glass of lemonade.
- Organize a little game. Have visitors participate in a raffle or sweepstakes; they’ll love the excitement, even if the prize is as little as a small PR gift – with your company’s logo of course.
- Get visitors to participate. Think of a creative way to give visitors an insight into what your company does, and if possible, let them “try working for you.” For example, if you make cosmetics, bring a few ingredients and let people try to mix them together. This not only lets you show your passion for what you do, but it will also create an experience people will walk away remembering.
- Bring swag. If your budget allows for it, hand out your company’s PR merchandise and encourage people to wear it. This will attract even more visitors to your booth.
6 – Use the opportunity for networking
Check out the other booths and look for companies offering products and services that could complement yours. Introduce yourself to potential partners and brainstorm ideas on how you could work together. Distribute your business card and collect as many in return as possible.
7 – Feel free to borrow ideas
Look at your competitors, or any other company presenting at the trade show, especially if they’ve been longer in business. They are sure to know a trick or two that you can use the next time you present at a trade show.
8 – Don’t forget to follow up
Get in touch with people you encountered at the trade show and let them know you’re ready to start working together. And don’t wait too long to follow up. It’s possible they met hundreds of people while at the trade show. When you do reach out, mention something specific about your conversation or booth to help spark their memory.
Don’t wait too long to follow up. It’s possible they met hundreds of people while at the trade show
9 – Don’t shy away from international suppliers or customers
Working with a supplier in Canada may seem a bit daunting, but opening your business up to the global marketplace can help keep your costs low. To make the most of those lower costs, use Veem to send payments to your suppliers in Canada. Not only is it as easy as sending an email, but it’s cheaper, faster and safer than your bank.
Attending a trade show in Canada is a big step in bringing your business into the global marketplace. Just remember, everyone there is looking to make connections to grow their business, so don’t be intimidated. If you want more tips on doing business in Canada, check out our guide.
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