chapter 35

Get Going with Tradeshows

Trade shows can have a profound impact on your business, especially if you’re the manufacturer or source of your own products. Even if you’re simply reselling products created by other companies, you can achieve a good amount of success at a trade show. If ever you have trouble finding something pertinent to you, a handy resource to look up trade shows that might be relevant is the Trade Show News Network (TSNN) . Not only will you open yourself up to some on-the-spot sales, but hopefully, you'll be able to build lists of highly interested prospective customers while you're there.

Should You Get A Booth?

Depending on the trade show, floor space can be quite expensive. That’s actually why trade shows have become so popular. The trade show organizer is basically renting otherwise cheap floor space for upwards of $1,000 a square foot.

If it’s your first time going to a particular trade show, you might want to come as an attendee and not as an exhibitor. That way you can get a feel of the trade show to see if it would be a good fit for your business strategy next year.

However, if you know there will be a lot of attendees that would be perfect customers for your business, you may want to just bite the bullet and rent a booth. And if you’re the manufacturer of your own products, trade shows are a great place to book large orders with retailers from all over the world. 

Consumers At Trade Shows

If the trade show is more consumer oriented instead of just a bunch of industry “heads” getting together, not only will you be able to make sales at the show, you can add highly interested people to your marketing lists.

Trade shows attract some of the most targeted customers than any other event you can think of. These people are perfect evangelists for your brand and you should treat them very well.

Start by Making them Happy

Consider stocking up on items like stickers, t-shirts, pins and other promotional items that consumers might appreciate. But think creatively, what would your target consumer really like? You want to give them something they will talk about.

After you have given out your swag to these lurking evangelists, get in the habit of having them Like your Facebook page on the spot, or get them to sign up for your mailing list. Remember, these are people you want to keep marketing to for years down the road. So bring a laptop with you so that you get people to sign up for your newsletter or Like your Facebook page.

If you’re selling products at your booth, consider giving your new customers an instant discount for a Like or an email sign up. Don’t get overly excited about sales at the trade show and forget to add them to your lists, being able to remarket to them will bring you much more revenue in the years to come.

Industry Networking

Trade shows are really about networking and building relationships with the right people in your industry.  

Here are some of things to look out for at a trade show:

  • Manufacturers / companies that white label – We can’t emphasize the power of branding enough. If you can provide your customers with high quality products that have your brand label on them, you’ll find this strategy to be much more effective than selling other people’s products in the long run. Generally, you’ll have better margins and you’ll be able to spread brand awareness with every product sold that has your logo on it.
  • Competitors – Find out who your competitors are and talk to them. Building a persona of your competition is usually a good thing to do. Find out how you match up to them and in what areas your company is lacking. 
  • Power Partners – Look for companies that don’t directly compete with you and that you can synergize with. Think of ways where you can partner and run cross promotions. Try to find big companies that might give you a spot on their newsletter or will run a cross-promotional campaign with you. The key is to approach them with an offer they can’t refuse. Consider crafting an entire cross-branded email for them so they don’t have to do any work but send it to their list. If it’s a success, get them to run it on their Facebook page.

What If There Are No Trade Show In My Niche?

This might be the best scenario that could happen. Why? Well, you might want to consider starting the first trade show in your industry. 

Starting a trade show is the ultimate authority power play. It shows that you’re the leader in the industry and will make you the hub of all activity and information.  

But aren’t they expensive to start?

No one said that your first trade show has to be in Las Vegas.  Most trade shows start out small. Call your city and see what local venues they have available and what rates they charge. Even local hotels and event centers might have affordable conference space they can rent to you. You’d be surprised at what is available if you spend some time looking.

You may find trade shows are such a valuable event for your business that you might go to them every couple of months. It’s definitely worth a look into, so make sure to check them out. 

Selling in person at Trade Shows? All you need is your iPad and Shopify's POS Software to easily sell your products and process payments.

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36. Go Door to Door

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