June 29th, 2017
In 2015, trade shows generated $12.6 billion in revenue. Combined with the fact that trade shows offer access to potential leads unavailable anywhere else (67 percent of attendees have not been reached previously), it is clear that these events offer a potentially profitable avenue for businesses of all sizes. However, breaking into the trade show world can feel a little more difficult for small businesses. Faced with small budgets, small work forces, and generally more limited resources than their larger counterparts, they can easily feel as if meeting their goals at a trade show would require more investment than they can afford. The truth, however, is that a small business, with the right planning, can succeed in the trade show world. Here are a few of the ways in which a small business can make a large impact with their trade show display.
Opt to attend local trade shows.
Trade shows happen all over the world. You could go as far as across the ocean or stay as close as the very city your business is located in to find trade shows that relate to your industry. However, for a small business, local is often the better choice. Small businesses usually thrive on local patronage, and becoming better known close to home can help you to enjoy greater success, not just at the trade show but also throughout the rest of the year. In addition, a local trade show means you have to transport your trade show display a shorter distance. This shorter distance translates into lower transportation costs (as well as lower travel expenses for your sales team). If you are a small business working with a small budget, these lower costs may be the difference between being able to afford to exhibit and needing to stay home. Plus, greater savings on transportation means more money is available to create a winning trade show exhibit design.
Laser focus on your trade show goals.
Defining, and sticking to, specific goals for your trade show display is important no matter the size of your company. These goals will guide the design and use of your trade show exhibit. For small businesses with limited resources, however, ruthlessly prioritizing objectives for the exhibit is particularly important. For example, a larger company might be able to afford a larger trade show exhibit. As a result, they would have room to pursue multiple goals (i.e. private meeting rooms to close sales, a lounge area to build rapport, etc.). A small business, however, might be restricted to a smaller trade show display, with room to pursue only a single, specific goal. Using that space effectively means zeroing in on what will be most profitable for you. For example, do you want to earn leads? Focus your trade show display solely on collecting contact information from interested parties. Do you want to build brand awareness? Make everything in your trade show display educational. Do you want to showcase a new product? Build your trade show exhibit around that new item. In the end, this single minded focus will help you to achieve your goal even with limited resources.
Consider holding product demos inside your trade show booth.
If a small business needs to invest in a smaller trade show display, getting people to pay attention to that booth in the midst of larger exhibits will require a little creativity and a “hook” that will make them want to visit the booth. And one of the most effective hooks is a product demo. Since seeing new products is the number one goal of trade show attendance, according to attendees, showing them how your new products work is a great way to get attention directed to your exhibit. By planning (and promoting) product demos, you are more likely to attract people to your booth, where your sales team can work on turning them into leads and sales. You might not always have the space or resources to conduct in-booth product demos. However, don’t let that stop you from showcasing your best products. Consider using technology (such as videos or other digital presentations) to create a space where visitors are educated about the innovations you have to offer your industry.
Focus on quality, not size, for your trade show display.
A small business with limited resources may be required to invest in a smaller trade show display. This may feel problematic, especially if your competitors are boasting larger trade show exhibits. However, much of the appeal of a trade show display lies in how it is designed, and not in its size. If you can use your small space to create that hook, or engaging element, you are just as likely to draw in visitors as is your larger, but perhaps less creative, competitor. To make the most of a smaller trade show exhibit, you will need the services of a professional exhibit company. Their design services can create an effective and impactful trade show display while remaining within your budget. Tricks such as using lighter materials to cut down on transportation costs, as well as design elements that minimize expense while maximizing impact, can all help you to build an affordable and eye-catching trade show display. Creating and using a successful trade show display as a small business can feel like a challenge. Limited resources can force you to scale down your plans for making a splash in the exhibit hall. However, it is both possible and desirable to attend a trade show even with limited resources. The brand awareness, lead generation, and profit available at these events are valuable to businesses of all sizes. The key is to plan ahead so you can make the best use possible of the resources you do have. If you can attend local trade shows, laser focus on your trade show goals, hold product demos in your booth, and focus on the quality of your booth instead of its size, you can attend, and benefit from, trade show displays as a small business.