How to Take Your Online Business to a Trade Show?

Let’s face it. Working hard in your regular day job isn’t going to make you rich. This is especially true if you’re an employee. So what do some people do? They take advantage of the internet and use it as a means to run their business. Thus, online companies are now everywhere.

There are many ways to boost its profitability. One of those is by taking your online business on a trade show. It’s where the biggest names in the industry gather up and showcase their offerings. This exposes you to potential investors and markets your business to a more prominent network. But how can you do it? Well, read on!

Step 1: Outline your goals in joining a trade show

Know the purpose why you’ve joined the trade show. What do you want to get from it? What do you expect your business to become after the conference? These let you know the things you can do to meet your goals.

Knowing your target makes it easier and faster for you reach it. Connect with the right thought leaders and attract reputable investors. Or if you want to, you can become a thought leader yourself. Though it might not rake in huge profits at first, it will happen in the long run.

Below is a video that details how you should set your objectives and goals for your business before jumping into a trade show:

Step 2: Choose a trade show wisely

The trade show should be relevant in your industry. Choose a tech conference if you’re selling gadgets. Or join a culinary convention if you’re in the food business. Surround yourself with the people interested in your offerings.
Also, know the attending speakers. Are they famous or influential? Do they have a squeaky clean reputation? If so, then that’s a good sign that it’s a good trade show to be in. You might also want to check if they’ve got a functional website or have active social media channels.

Here’s another video by Susan Friedman about choosing the right trade show for your business to join:

Step 3: Do the necessary preparations

Preparation is key to reaching ROI at the soonest possible time. The last thing you want is to cram for a trade show that’s happening in a few days or weeks. Give yourself at least three months lead time. This gives you enough time to prepare for the trade show. Take note that you do 80% of the work before the trade show starts. This shows that preparation plays a significant role in the success of your exhibit.

Get a speaking gig. Being a speaker exposes you to potential investors and shows that you’re trustworthy. Also, gauge on the competition and know their tactics. Will they have a booth? Where is the best location for your booth?
How many people will be attending?

It’d also be wise to unveil something new at the show. Ask for a media list and contact reporters from major media outlets. Expand the list if you’d want to. And don’t forget to get a good signage! Make it simple and easy-to-read but interesting at the same time.

Here’s a video from Milople on how to prepare for a trade show:

Step 4: Have multiple marketing avenues

Gone are the days when marketing is limited to banners, TV ads, and face-to-face interaction. Technology is now everywhere. And because of it, marketing has never been this easier. Hop on social media and use it to reach to millions of people.

Create a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account and post photos and updates there. Interact with potential customers and follow them. Heart their tweets, like their photos, and comment on their posts.
This way, you’re showing that you’ve got an active and tangible business. Also, don’t forget to use hashtags properly. Update the world what’s currently happening at the trade show. If it means posting five tweets per hour, then do it!

Sending out your PR during the conference also makes an impact in the show. But make sure that your team should hand out flyers and trade show giveaways while it’s ongoing. This’ll rake in lots of interviews from media outlets afterward. Be one with the people. Shake hands often, talk about your experiences and how you’d come to this point. And just go with the flow!

Here’s a video about Trade Show Marketing 101 by David Payne, CEO of Invent Dev:

Step 5: Do a follow-up

Everything might be said and done. But that doesn’t mean you no longer have to do anything. In fact, the trade show’s conclusion is just the start! Do a follow up with your new networks and customers. Show that your business isn’t only a pretty face.

Walk your talk and improve your current offerings. The last thing you want is to see potential clients walk away disappointed. This is also the best time for you to view and promote your media coverage. Thank the journalists and tell them that you’re open for more interviews.

Also, follow up with your newly collected business cards. Remind them how you met and opened up topics that can lead to sales. Once you’ve done all of these, you can then analyze the results and see how the trade show improved your business’ reputation and profitability.

UncommonGoods has a video about following up leads and prospective buyers after a successful trade show:

Conclusion

Joining trade shows is a great opportunity to make your online business known. Making your business more competitive is very important especially that 80% of online users buy something from the internet. And it isn’t just about marketing, but it’s also about brand-awareness and acquiring new leads.

Though it might sound simple, joining a trade show is more complicated than you think. Aside from the expenses incurred, you also need to know the right timing and techniques. With the help of the steps mentioned above, you’ll surely make the most out of the trade show you’re going to join. The best of luck, mate!