If you’ve created an amazing product or business model, it’s only natural that you’d want to show it off at a trade show. There’s nothing like trade show displays to boost your business profile and get people talking about your service. But if you’re not ready to exhibit, you could end up making a couple of expensive mistakes at your first trade show. From choosing an inadequate or over-the-top trade show booth design to underexposing your social media presence, there are plenty of pitfalls you’d do well to avoid at your first show. Even if you’re an experienced presenter at trade shows, there are tons of mistakes that you could be making without even knowing it, especially if you haven’t updated your presentation in a while. If you’re interested in making a great impression on potential investors, partners, and collaborators, here are a few trade mistakes to avoid at all costs.
Giving Out Too Much Stuff
Everybody loves free swag, but there’s a point at which it can become just too much. While it’s great to find free ways to advertise your business and get the word out, such as through handing out free shirts and baseball caps, it’s important to remember that just because you put your label on something doesn’t mean that it’s actually helping to promote your cause. It looks good to be handing out free stuff, but it can end up costing a lot while taking the focus off what’s really important: Your products and services. Before spending a ton of money on handouts and swag, ask yourself this: Are these things really going to get people talking about my brand? If the answer is ‘no,’ think about better ways to draw people in while actually engaging them in a conversation about what your brand it and what it does.
Not Promoting Social Media
In this day and age, forgetting to use social media as a means of free advertising and customer engagement is simply not an option. When it comes to getting your brand out there at a trade show, it shouldn’t just be about you giving talks or even pulling customers in for a one-on-one talk. For a business to survive, a web presence is essential. Is your company is building up their social media brand? What better place than a huge trade show to spread the word and get tons of new followers at the drop of a hat? Don’t be shy about putting your handles out there. Your social media info should be clear and consistently branded on your business cards, your booth banner, and anything you give out to booth visitors. You should also encourage visitors to follow you and link up with any questions or concerns on your media pages.
Not Socializing Smart
We all know the saying about ‘all work and no play.’ But in the case of a trade show, it pays to know when working is appropriate, when enjoying yourself is appropriate, and when the two things can easily co-exist to give you a leg up on the competition. During working hours, you should be at your booth engaging potential clients or taking note of the competition. At the end of the day, socializing is a great way to unwind and find even more important connections. However, keep in mind that, no matter how small or large your company is, you’re a representative of the brand. That means that if you behave in a manner that makes people think twice about the company and its organization, you’re in hot water. Always remember that there’s a way to relax and let loose without losing sight of while you’re here.
Not Spreading the Word
If you’ve done the work of getting your booth, your staff, and your company trade show ready, don’t make the mistake of not letting people know about it. Before the show happens, find any way you can to let all your contacts know that you’ll be there. You can do this via email blast, through social media, or by setting up a bunch of one-on-one meetings beforehand. Whatever you do, don’t simply show up to your booth and expect magic to happen. When people know that you’ll be a certain trade show, it gives them time to think of things to ask you or talk to you about, creating a much easier setup for a conversation about your brand as a whole. Remember, you’re there to have these kinds of conversations. Do whatever you can to make sure they happen.