If you could do only a single thing to maximize the impact of participating in a trade show what do you think it would be? Regardless of whether you are going as a vendor or merely a participant there are several things you can do. Most of the times ideas about how to maximize your investment tend to focus around things such as business cards, brochures, and even possibly giveaways that someone has decided was a great investment.
The idea of giveaways may seem quite intriguing to most people. With giveaways ranging from pens, pencils, calculators, calendars, and even sometimes rulers or letter openers there is a wide range of products that are quite popular to be used as a giveaway. But stop and consider how much does it cost to purchase these items and how often do they really provide a good return?
How much would you as a vendor really think is an appropriate amount to spend on giveaways before a show such as trade shows? Most people spend several hundreds of dollars and are still not ultimately prepared. The pure idea of giving something away during the trade show when people are all excited and hyper outshines the idea of coming up with a better long term marketing strategy.
Stop and consider, which is better to capture someone’s attention for a few brief moments as they are stopping by your booth to see what you are offering for free, or trying to build a lasting relationship with someone? Most people will agree that lasting relationships is where the real money is. From referrals, specials, promotions, discounts, increased business and even word of mouth advertising conducting business with someone whom you have a pre-existing relationship is usually preferred over doing business with someone who gave you a $.02 pen.
How can you really maximize on all of these people? Easy! It is called plan ahead, do not possibly go into a trade show thinking that only cheap free giveaways will provide you with the business presence that you need. Instead it is very important to come up with a better course of action for handling all of the business cards, brochures and pieces of paper with contact information that you will be receiving. While not everyone is quick to hand over personal information there are ways to encourage people to hand over information.
If you are looking to increase the number of contacts you have period, then you should consider a major giveaway. This would mean you need sign up forms, a collection box and of course a prize to give away. If you have the sign up forms designed so you can determine if someone is a vendor or was merely attending it gives you a great way to organize the information later, and you can watch all of the contact information pour right in. Stop and consider, not all of the information that you gather will turn into useful contacts, but if even only 10% works out to great contacts and you have collected 10,000 contacts then you have just added a huge number of contacts for your business at a wonderful price!
Remember, having cheap giveaways is always great and fine, but having a way to create a lasting relationship is going to provide a much better investment in the long run and will have you much happier. Once the trade show is over you will be much happier with the return on the money, and your business should also see a nice increase over the next few months as those contacts are strengthened.