Updated: Apr 8, 2019
Last week, Trade Ideas spoke at the Coastal Women's Forum in New Bern, NC about preparing for a trade show. Those in attendance at the Coastal Women's Forum meeting were other small business owners, looking to get the most impact for their brand and business at an upcoming trade show. We are sharing some of the most important factors in not only creating a brand, but also preparing for a trade show where your brand is highly visible.
The first step to prepare your business for an influx of searches on both social media and the web is to review your presence. What social media sites do you actively use? What does your feed look like on those accounts? Does it reflect where you see yourself as a brand? These same questions can be asked of your website. In an increasingly virtual world, often times the first interaction a potential client has with your brand is online. Creating a cohesive social media feed that displays the message you want to convey, as well as a functional and professional website, are the best ways to encourage new clients to do business with you. Focus on quality images and information. When we are posting for ourselves and our clients we try to post an average of 3 times per week. Do some research to see when others in your field are posting, and which of their posts get the most engagement. Social media isn't just about posting, it's about engagement. Engage with your followers, and seek out new followers by commenting on their posts.
Next, think about what you will actually be bringing to the Trade Show, i.e.: Print Materials. Are your business cards up to date? Do you need to order more? Is your brochure, rack card or other marketing materials updated and reflect your brand identity? Leave plenty of time (at least a month) to edit any of these items, and have them reprinted. One of the things we don't like to see is information on a business card or brochure that has been crossed out, covered by a sticker or fixed with a pen. Take the time to have these items reprinted if there is a mistake. Having a suite of consistent, correct and on brand marketing materials is one of the keys to presenting your business in a professional manner.
Finally, consider a giveaway. This can be as expensive or inexpensive as your budget allows, but think of the giveaway as extra time a potential client will spend with your brand. An example of a giveaway is something we did for our sister company Small Batch Gallery + Goods, leading up to their Valentine's event last weekend. At the Coastal Women's Forum meeting, Small Batch was able to take part in the networking hour before the meeting started, and handed out postcards inviting people to their Valentine's event. At every place setting was a small muslin bag, stamped with the Small Batch logo and filled with their business card and chocolates. This is an inexpensive, but effective giveaway. As the potential client opens the bag, they can re-engage with your brand. Instead of Small Batch's event invite getting lost in a stack of other cards given out during the networking hour, it stands out. People remember special gestures, big or small, and even just taking the time to eat a chocolate can be all they need to remember your brand, and put it to the forefront of their mind.
We hope that these quick tips will help your business as you prepare for a trade show or other networking event. With questions and comments please feel free to reach out to us! You can find our contact information here.