In today’s society, it is very easy to get caught up in the online world. Between social media, shopping, video streaming, video chatting, and instant messaging, being online has a way of taking up a lot of our time and our energy whether it’s for catching up with family and friends, preparing for the week, or relaxing for a little while before we wind down.
The same thing can happen when it comes to marketing your brand.
It is very easy to focus on the online aspect and making sure your brand is represented through social media, through your website, and dealing with your customer service team online. Yet the offline experience and networking can benefit your brand just as much as the online marketing campaigns.
Trade shows are still a fantastic way of helping boost your brand and meeting others who can help move your brand forward. In 2016, 30% of companies were looking at increasing their trade show budget to get their brands out there.
So how can trade shows benefit your brand?
They’re a Learning Experience
By going out to a trade show, you can gain a vast amount of knowledge about marketing your brand, as well learn what customers want from both those visiting the trade show and other exhibitors. It also allows you to get feedback on what is working and isn't in your industry.
One example of this comes from small business artists. They set dates to show up at different trade shows and while they’re there, they connect with other artists that have shown up to do the same thing. In many cases, they have been doing it for a while and have noticed trends that have helped build their brand that they’ll share with others.
Other small business owners at trade shows you choose to exhibit at or visit can do the same for you. The knowledge you can and will gain from them can help you improve your own business.
Meeting Prospective Customers
Through the course of the show, your exhibit can receive a lot of foot traffic. Every person that comes by becomes a potential customer for your business; many of them may not have heard about your brand and it becomes your time to shine and get them interested.
This is an opportunity to learn what they’re looking for, showcase what you offer that meets their needs, and showcase a level of customer service they could expect if they decide to invest in your brand.
And even if they choose not to invest in your brand at the show, they can go home with your information on a business card to remember if their needs change in the future.
An experience that can start off as just a casual conversation with someone passing by can easily turn into a new customer experience later down the road.
They Draw in Media
A lot of trade shows draw in a lot of media exposure. You can use this to your advantage and work to get interviews with many of the media outlets and reporters that will be covering the event. This will help get the word out about your brand to help build your consumer base.
Along with scheduled interviews, you can also pass on your story to editors in advance and provide them with media kits, customer testimonials, and press releases. Trade shows also give you an opportunity to have these materials on hand to provide to the various media outlets you encounter.
With the right materials and a member of your staff ready to handle any questions they may be asked, you can find your brand covered by newspapers, websites, or the local news.
A Better Network
Ultimately, trade shows allow you to build a better, wider network for your brand. From potential customers, to other brands, to fellow business owners, your network can gain a lot of value that can help get word about your brand out there.
This can lead to a wider, broader consumer base as the word of mouth about your brand spreads not just in your social circle or business network but through those you have met as well. Those potential customers you spoke to can bring in more potential customers, those business owners can connect you to other business owners in their network, and potentially be open to partnerships or affiliating with your brand. Those media outlets can lead to your brand being spread as far as the outlet reaches, including online platforms.
So even now, in 2018, where the whole world is connected at your fingertips and your online marketing presence can go out throughout the World Wide Web, it’s important not to neglect the physical person to person aspect that comes with exhibiting at trade shows.
One study shows that 90% of those who attended trade shows claimed the show was a success for their business and the Simmon Market Research Bureau shows that half the customers that show up to trade shows make a purchases while they are there.
So look in your area to see what trade shows are popping up, which ones suit your industry, and make that investment in a trade show budget. While the exhibit can take a lot of work to put together and run well, it can work wonders for your business, your customer base, and your business network.
While you’re putting your brand out there online, don’t forget to put yourself out there in person as well.