Trade show season is almost here, and it is time for small business owners to start preparing for these events. A strong presence at a show can have a significantly positive impact on a company's prospects because it reaches out to clients in new markets and establishes new partnerships with other enterprises.
The opposite is equally true – a weak showing at an event can be a disaster and hamstring a company's growth through the rest of the year. Small business owners must be at the top of their games to ensure that they do not make any mistakes when preparing for a trade show. Small gaffes like having inadequate amounts of unique promotional products and missing key deadlines can lead to large headaches.
Keep a sharp eye out for these common mistakes that hurt small businesses during tradeshow season.
A few missed deadlines will hit small business owners where it hurts the most – their bank accounts. Many organizations and vendors allow companies to submit late paperwork and buy necessary equipment at increased prices because of the short notice. The expenses can quickly add up and put even the most flush enterprises over budget.
According to to a recent report from the Trade Show Institute, missed deadlines can cost an entrepreneur upward of $2,000 in late fees. Most independent business owners do not have the assets to cover that amount without hurting their long-term prospects.
Entrepreneurs must keep their deadlines in mind and avoid missing any important dates. Additionally, the early bird gets the worm when it comes to trade shows – many organizers offer discounts to businesses that purchase equipment or rent services in advance.
Trade shows are hectic events for presenters and consumers. Attendees are bombarded with dozens of advertisements and sales pitches throughout the day, which makes it difficult for them to remember all the companies. Small business owners should always distribute reminders like promotional marketing products to avoid being forgotten after the show.
The best promotional items are the ones that help consumers enjoy the trade-show experience. Gifts like branded tote bags and water bottles help people address basic needs during the chaotic events. Potential customers appreciate businesses that distribute functional presents that simplify everyday activities like carrying giveaways from multiple companies.
Alternatively, small business owners can use items that would be more useful at home or in the office than at a trade show. Promotional magnets, wall calendars, pens and flash drives are great prizes that every consumer can regularly use.
A lack of pre-event advertising
Most of the attention that businesses attract during trade shows is from passersby. Consumers stop at booths with bright signs and other decorations, but relying on interest from random attendees is a faulty strategy. Some customers have clear strategies when they attend the events and do not deviate from their objectives – they are there to visit certain businesses and won't give much consideration to other organizations. To ensure that prospective clients want to see their displays, entrepreneurs must advertise before the trade shows.
DIY Marketers recommends using email and direct mail marketing to generate excitement among leads for the event. Both tactics allow small business owners to target attendees so that they are not wasting resources on other consumers.
Direct mail might be the best platform for advertising to potential customers because it can be combined with promotional giveaways. businesses can mail small gifts like magnets to endear themselves to prospects and build a rapport. When leads visit the business' booth, employees can remind people about the presents to open lines of communication and make a sale.