Thriving at Trade Shows: Right Target, Right Venue?
It can be challenging to decide if you should participate in a trade show. An event is a form of advertising, and you need to evaluate the option from that perspective. Customers will flock to your space if you are aligned with their needs.
The first question you must ask is whether the trade show caters to your target market. If it doesn't, then spending your money, effort, and time there makes no sense. Go as a visitor but not as a participant. Why would you invest in advertising that has slim chances of succeeding?
If you are unsure of the type of consumer attracted to the event, look at other vendors who have registered. Are they compatible with your products and services, are they categorically different, or worse, is there a conflict? For instance, vendors selling hunting equipment mixed with vendors promoting veganism. Customers are now split between 2 different lifestyles and depending on how the event was marketed, one half may not be promoted at all.
Taking the time to do research on the expected visitor can make a big difference. A trade show is an investment, and you want that work to pay off. It is excruciating to put yourself out there only to find you are in the wrong place at the wrong time!
Aligning with your target market at the right event gives you a chance to leap forward with potential new clients. If 6000 people show up, that is 6000 new customers you can educate about your products and services.
Having personal interactions starts with new relationships much faster than an online presence. A trade show is great because it gives you the chance to meet and greet individuals you may not have reached before. They relate to your expressions, body language, and how you present your expertise. You can deepen your relationship with your current client base as well because it offers a different side of you. Still professional, just not in the regular work mode.
Researching the venue is also essential. Having a successful event means more than opening a few rooms at the local library or company office. Even with thousands invested in advertising, not everyone will see it, hear it, or even know there is an event! It is just the way things are in today's digital world. Venue location becomes critical for this very reason, as it serves as the advertisement itself.
You want to look at the foot traffic around the location, along with ease of parking, disabled access, and safety. It is much easier to draw in pedestrians when the venue is visible from the street and has outside promotions.
The Alternative Health Expo in Grand Junction, CO, uses colorful outside displays to catch the eye of those in the area while the event is underway. Balloons, banners, and signs, all letting the passersby know, "Hey look, there's something exciting you should see in here!" Those promotions catch those who didn't travel there specifically for the trade show and bring in 25% of the visitors overall.
Lastly, look at the safety of the venue and parking accessibility. You want to make sure consumers can get inside the event smoothly, without a lot of concerns for the wellbeing of their property or themselves while attending.
It can save you time and money to verify the target market is compatible with your business, and that the venue is in a good location. This is just one more piece of how to make sure you thrive at trade shows.
This article is the second in a series of Thriving at Trade Shows as we prepare for the 2020 Alternative Health Expo. Check back weekly for new tips on how you can optimize the experience and make your participation a success!
Kathie Fingerson is the founder of Healers of the Valley and the Alternative Health Expo. This event attracts thousands of visitors each spring in Grand Junction, CO. See more tips on creating a successful expo experience, click here.
The Alternative Health Expo is growing into a destination event for our community. Our March 2019 event was a huge success with around 4000 visitors! E.P.I.C.™ Grand Valley magazine launched their first issue, a wonderful publication dedicated to Empowering People and Inspiring Community. Everyone had a great time and learned about lots of new and exciting healing techniques.