Trade Show Survival Guide Part One: Five Pre-Show Tips

Whether you’re a Marketing Coordinator, Social Media Manager or the like, there’s a good chance you’ll be attending a trade show or conference on behalf of the company you work for. While trade shows have the potential to be rewarding, there are classic mistakes that cost time and money. These five tips are designed to help you avoid pitfalls so you can bring home the bacon – a.k.a. leads and sales! 

1. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”

The point of a business is to make a profit. So, before spending time and money on a trade show, consider:

  • Is this trade show right for my business, i.e. can I find ideal business prospects here?
  • Am I targeting attendees, exhibitors or both? And how will I tailor my strategy accordingly?
  • Will my efforts be measurable?

2. Set goals for what you want to accomplish.

Know ahead of time what kind of short-term and long-term results you want. List out realistic goals such as:

  • Interacting with attendees before the event (see tip 3) so they know about your business and vice versa.
  • Establish connections with at least five leads that fall under your ideal buyer persona.

3. Follow your prospects on social media and subscribe to their newsletters.

How awesome would it be if your prospects knew ahead of time who YOU were and what YOUR business does? Well, by doing your research, they will love the fact that you are informed! Social media brings creeping… ahem, “transparency”… to a new level. Take advantage by sniffing out those leads and connecting with them in advance. This way, when you meet in person you won’t be “total” strangers.

4. Pack comfortable clothes and shoes.

Appearance is important, but the fact is that you’ll be standing, walking and talking to people all day. Plus, while those heels are cute, people will be thinking the same thing as you: “Her feet must be killing her.” Keep the focus on your business, not your outfit. 

5. Map out your week – but leave room for changes.

It’s great to be optimistic about the amount of time and energy you’ll have, but stay realistic. Scheduling several small breaks in the day will ultimately make you more productive. If the trade show has break out sessions, figure out which ones you’d like to attend. Don’t neglect cocktail hours; you’ll be tired by then, but those are valuable networking opportunities!

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Topics: Trade Shows/Networking

Candace Graves

Written by Candace Graves

Candace Graves is a digital marketing specialist with a degree in Public Relations from Baldwin Wallace University.

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