As September has come to an end, you may be thinking the only thing notable in the month of October is Halloween, but the GIE+EXPO trade show is also this month and shouldn’t be missed.
Trade shows can be overwhelming and time-consuming, but they can also be well worth your time and money if you follow these tips to get the most out of them.
Have a goal
Trade shows are generally huge events, with numerous booths all wanting to attract your attention. Before hitting the show floor, you need to know what you are trying to accomplish. Whether it be increasing brand awareness or attending a certain number of seminars, the goal should be measurable so you can track how successful you were at meeting your goal.
If you are interested in certain booths, have those mapped out and make a list of the ones you must visit vs. the ones you’d like to visit. Booths can sometimes be crowded so if you really want to ensure a chance to talk to a representative with that company, go ahead and schedule an appointment if you can.
Dress for success
Depending on what type of trade show you plan to attend, what you should wear will vary. If you’re running a booth, you don’t want to over-dress if your audience is rather casual because you can end up alienating potential customers. At the same time, you don’t want to be too casual because you need people to take you seriously and you are representing your business.
No matter what you wear, pack comfortable shoes, as you will be trekking across the show floor all day. If you plan on picking up a lot of literature from booths, bring a bag on the off chance you can’t find an exhibitor handing out free ones.
Trade shows can bring you in contact with individuals you would have never encountered otherwise so take advantage of this opportunity and bring lots of business cards. Introduce yourself to people and see what you can learn from them. Be sure to get business cards from others so you can follow up after the trade show.
Attend workshops on topics you care about so you can talk with others facing the same issues. Don’t feel obligated to stop at booths that don’t interest you, and try to limit your time at each booth to ensure you see as many as possible.
If you have social media accounts, take advantage of the event and share about the conference. Tweets using the trade show’s hashtags can increase visibility and awareness of your company.
If you are running a booth, Twitter can be used to thank guests who have visited and to entice others to come see what you have to offer. Sharing photos and videos on Instagram of people visiting your booth is a great way you can bring the trade show to those who couldn’t attend this year.
After the trade show, use the business cards you’ve collected to find your new contacts on LinkedIn.