As the pandemic begins to ease out, business owners are beginning to reposition and strategize. And of the best approaches to bouncing back is none other than attending trade shows and exhibitions.
The last year has seen the general public separated from one another. Many have suffered both loneliness and aloneness and thus are struggling emotionally and psychologically. Many have also lost friends, family and now only see the world from distorted perspectives. Depression and mental health issues are at an all-time high among all demographics, including children. It’s no surprise therefore that experts are urging people and in fact, people are more than ever, eager to go out and mingle with friends and meet new people. It has been projected that festivals and events will boom post-covid.
However, for businesses, especially small businesses looking to find their niche and place in the market again, it is more than essential to take up trade shows as an opportunity to reconnect with their target audience in real-time, in real life. Making that physical connection is going to be most essential to the survival of small businesses post-pandemic.
Advantages of exhibiting at Trade Shows
- Pre-event, you will benefit from the buzz – usually creating advertising and promotional opportunities for exhibiting businesses – which could further help raise your brand awareness, boost pre and post-event sales and help raise your brand profile too. Most small businesses realize they get their first media appearance from attending festivals and trade shows.
Tip: Treat bloggers, press photographers, and media personalities with care and you will never regret it. They love to attend events to meet discover new businesses and the best new thing in town. How you handle members of the media may make or break your brand image. Use your exhibitor complimentary tickets to invite lots of media, photographers, and bloggers.
SEO boost – these pre-event activities will help your brand search engine optimization. Oftentimes, event organizers tend to publish little introduction of their exhibiting businesses on their websites as well as sharing about them on social media platforms. Adding a do-follow like and the right keywords will give these businesses a boost in their SEO rankings.
Pre-event sales – The number of sales generated from pre-event activities can never be underestimated. When done right, the exhibiting businesses could see their sales rate soar. During one of our Divas of Colour Festival years, we had some exhibitors sell out their products and didn’t need their stall anymore.
Event Day Benefits.
- In- person meet and greet – Especially after the pandemic, meeting face-to-face with potential customers is now the most crucial way for small businesses to start building relationships and reconnecting with existing customers. This gives your potential market to touch and feel your product and service. Gives you an opportunity to answer questions and interact with your market. Essential for new product launches.
- Networking – trade shows potentially give you the opportunity to meet with suppliers, learn more about your competitors and the industry. Networking when done properly opens a whole new world of opportunities and could increase your influence value.
- Development and Learning – When you exhibit at an event, you’re not only attending as an exhibitor. Oftentimes your exhibitor status gives you access to conferences and other keynotes. Also, every single individual you will interact with has the potential to drop a nugget that could be the key to your business success.
- Database and potential leads– meeting with potential customers at an exhibition help you to start building your marketing lists and generate qualified sales leads.
Post Event Benefits
The most rewarding benefit of exhibiting at trade shows often shows up way after the event. Let’s hope you got all the above right; you networked, interacted, shared samples, connected with customers, suppliers, etc. Now you will come home to enjoy the fruit of your efforts.
You will find that:
- Words will begin to spread about your business. Word of mouth remains the most effective and rewarding marketing strategy ever and remember that people will remember how you made them feel. If they felt right with their interaction with you and your business, they will spread the word – even so with social media. Many brands have made their breakthrough after the media took interest in their business at events when they share videos and images from the events and write their reviews.
- Follow Up – Having interacted with your customers, it becomes easy to make a follow-up contact. It will no longer be a cold call. Instead, it will be a friendly warm reunion.
- Reduces the cost of reaching and keeping the customers: Now that you’ve built your database, interacted with this group, and have had direct contact with your product, you no longer need to spend a fortune trying to convince them or to push a hard sell or work extra to keep them. All you have to do is continue to keep in touch with weekly or monthly follow-ups, offering some discounts and retargeting them with automation and gentle reminders.
- Their testimonials are goldmines. Now is the time to display those lovely comments and photographs of real-time customers on your website and social media platforms. If they like the images they will be happy to share and show them off to their friends who may want to also belong. So, make sure to invest in capturing some beautiful images of your exhibition activities.
- Use a specific code to measure activities from the event. – At the event, give discount cards with unique discount codes specific to that event so that you can track how many conversions continue to come from your exhibition.