Are you looking for effective ways to grow your business? If you are a B2B company, then you know how difficult it can be to find new customers. Marketing to consumers is far easier, given the many platforms available to reach them at a moment’s notice. However, finding new B2B clients is tricky. It’s not just about marketing to a company, it’s about marketing to the key person inside each company. Luckily, there are events designed to introduce you to these people. It’s called a trade show.

You’ve likely attended trade shows before, but rather than showing up as an attendee, those looking for new B2B customers need to participate in a trade show by renting booth space. Doing so could put you in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of key people in companies that could become long-term customers. Wondering how trade shows for businesses work? Need some tips for participating in a trade show? Then keep reading our ultimate guide for trade show marketing.

What Is a Trade Show?

Trade shows are an opportunity to market to other businesses within a particular industry. Typically held in large event centers across large cities, trade shows can bring in thousands of attendees over the course of multiple days. And with over 13,000 trade shows held in the US each year, you’re bound to find the perfect one for your company. More often than not, trade shows limit attendance to only those who work in the industry, as opposed to the general public. This ensures everyone in attendance is there for a reason; to find business solutions. As an exhibitor at a trade show, you have the opportunity to showcase your business to thousands of qualified leads. As a result, trade show marketing is one of the best ways that B2B companies can expand their customer base each year.

Goals of a Trade Show

Like any form of marketing, your goal at a trade show is to catch somebody’s attention. Once you catch their attention, you can introduce them to your company, your products, and your services. You can then collect their information in order to follow up with them later on, or you can close a sale right on the trade show floor. Your ultimate goal at a trade show is to introduce your company to thousands of new prospects and grow your business.

What You Need to Host at a Trade Show

You can’t show up to a trade show empty-handed and expect attendees to stop by. You’re going to need a few things to catch and retain people’s attention. After all, there are hundreds of other companies marketing to the same group of people.

Here’s what you’ll need to bring:

Trade Show Booth

First and foremost, you need to have a booth. This includes a table, branded signage, product samples and demonstrations, and many other details. The point of the booth is to catch draw attention to your company and the reps you have running the booth. You want people to stop long enough to start a conversation. Because your booth needs to stand out from the crowd, you need to have a booth professionally designed. You can’t just put a folding table out with a banner and expect to earn new business. Effective trade show displays include tables or a custom-built bar or countertop, along with customized table runners. You’ll want signs, banners, flags, and other eye-catching items in order to draw attention to your company.

Branded Apparel

People on your team are staffing these booths and they will most likely be members of your sales team who are skilled at talking to leads and converting them into clients. Your team needs to have a consistent wardrobe, so attendees know exactly who they are supposed to talk to. Have custom polos or button-up shirts made that display your company logo. Also, ensure matching pants, shoes, and accessories are worn by your team.

Trade Show Publications

Trade show publications are your opportunity to connect with attendees, even when you can’t have a conversation with them. By having professional, printed publications available for attendees, you can convey important information about your company and your services to potential customers. You can also feature industry-related articles that add value to readers, helping them to engage with your brand in more ways than one.

Promotional Items

Trade show attendees have come to expect free promotional items from every booth at an event. Make sure you have branded items to give away to all those who are interested in your products or services. This can include pens, notepads, mugs, travel cups, tote bags, backpacks, t-shirts, and more. When people leave the event, you want to ensure they remember your brand, which can eventually lead to a new customer.

Tips for Effective Trade Show Marketing

Even with a professionally designed booth, you’re still going to be competing with hundreds of other booths. Here are some tips for creating a memorable experience.

Go All Out

Trade shows aren’t boring anymore. They’ve become so popular and so effective, that they’ve become world-class events. As a result, you’ll often attend trade shows that feature live musical artists, revolutionary multi-media presentations, keynote speeches from top influencers, and much more. With so much excitement, it’s up to you to match the excitement of the event. Don’t just market your company. Create a memorable experience for attendees, whether or not they will ever become a customer.

Have Crazy Promotions

The best way to convert leads into customers at a trade show is to have insane promotions. Whether that’s a once-in-a-lifetime discount, a ton of freebies thrown into the purchase, or other creative promotional ideas, you want to do your best to lock in new customers at the event. After all, it may be your only chance at reaching them.

Work With Industry-Leading Experts

Exhibiting at a trade show is not something you can do haphazardly. Those who reap the most benefits of trade show marketing is those who put the most effort and time into planning an effective booth and marketing strategy.

If you learn how to make trade shows work for your business, you can use them every single year to continue growing your business.

Need help planning your first trade show exhibit? Contact us today to work with the top trade show advertising and publication experts.