The trade show industry took significant hits over the last couple of years. The pandemic forced the industry to shut down and make significant shifts in response.
A recent survey of industry professionals found that 64% of them believe that the shutdowns made people realize how important those face-to-face interactions are.
They’re also optimistic about the future of the trade show industry. Demand is steadily rising and the next couple of years look bright as we learn to live with COVID-19.
A lot of businesses still aren’t sold on trade shows. They believe in certain trade show myths that keep them from seeing the full business benefits and results that trade show marketing delivers.
If you want to know how to make the most of trade shows, keep reading. We’re covering the top trade show myths that small business owners believe.
1. Total Attendance Numbers Matter
Small business owners tend to think that the more people that show up at a trade show, the better results it’ll produce.
You can go to a trade show that has thousands of visitors, but it could be a spectacular failure for your business. First of all, you might not have a purpose for being there.
If you didn’t put any planning into it, you don’t know who your target market is, or if they’ll attend. A lack of planning could cause you to have a bad booth space that received very little traffic. Prospects could have walked past the booth because your team looked uninterested.
As you can tell, there’s a lot more to trade show success than sheer attendance numbers.
2. You Don’t Need to Plan the Booth Space
Another myth is that you can set up a small table and that’s your booth space. You’re missing out on the opportunity to build brand awareness.
Your trade show booth is an opportunity for people to experience your brand. It’s how you create a memorable impression that stays with people.
Partner with a tradeshow exhibit company that has experience creating trade show booths that reflect a company’s brand.
You’ll gain the business benefits of great booth space. You’ll save time on trade show design and they’ll manage the logistics of getting the booth to and from the trade show.
3. Anyone Can Work Your Booth
Do you think you can hire a couple of people at the trade show location to help you work your booth? That’s a huge mistake to make.
The people working at your booth represent your company. They’re an extension of your company’s brand.
Hire the wrong people, and you’ll run into a lot of trouble. Picture attendees walking the trade show floor.
They walk past your booth and see people looking down at their phones. They don’t care about your business, they just want to get paid. Attendees will remember that and think twice about doing business with you.
The best people are knowledgeable about your business and are excited to be on the show floor. They interact with people walking through the trade show.
Attendees will feel welcomed and they’re more likely to remember your business because they had a positive interaction.
4. Collect as Many Business Cards as Possible
As a small business owner, you rely on business cards as a lead generation tool. Collecting a stack of business cards isn’t a victory for your business at a trade show.
Would you rather have 1,000 business cards of people who don’t fit your target market or 10 cards from people who are a perfect fit?
That’s why gimmicks and games to encourage people to leave their business cards don’t always work. Always make it a point to talk to people and understand what they’re looking for.
If they’re a match for your business, ask for their business card. Make a note of it so you can recall the conversation after the trade show.
5. Trade Shows Will Go Extinct
Another powerful myth is that trade shows aren’t going to exist. It’s true that virtual events have grown in popularity because of the pandemic.
The truth is that in-person events aren’t going away. Neither are virtual events. The industry is moving towards hybrid events to accommodate more people at events.
As a small business owner, that opens up the door to attend more trade shows because of the reduction in travel costs.
You might have a strategy where you attend local trade shows in person and limit travel for other events. You can attend those virtually.
6. Trade Shows Aren’t for Small Businesses
When you think of trade shows, do you think of huge companies taking up a large portion of the show floor?
It’s easy to think that a small business will get lost in the crowd. A small business can get the same business benefits as a large company with a sizeable budget.
You have to have a plan for your trade show, hire the right people, and create an attractive booth design.
7. You Don’t Need a Follow-Up Plan
The biggest myth is that you don’t need a follow-up campaign after the trade show. What usually happens is that you have a lot of hot leads that never get touched again.
Salespeople return from a trade show with the intention to follow up. Then they see the emails they missed and spend time answering them.
A pre-planned campaign ensures that follow-up happens and you turn those leads into sales.
How to Make Trade Show Marketing Work
Trade show marketing is a unique way to network, find new customers, and give people a full brand experience. What prevents many business owners from seeing the business benefits of trade shows is that they believe in trade show myths.
Hopefully, this article dispelled a lot of those myths so you can get great results at your next trade show. For more marketing tips, be sure to check out the Business section of the blog.
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