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Tradeshow Tips for Small Businesses - Part 1

By Garrett Spence   |    November 12, 2014   |    9:54 AM

Budget-saving Ways to Attract Customers to Your Booth at Tradeshows

Tradeshows are still one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences. They can, however, be very expensive, especially for small businesses, and often a waste of time and resources of your business doesn’t figure out how to stand out from the crowd. There are tactics that small businesses can use to be noticeable without breaking the budget.

Use Social Media

Social media is an excellent way to create buzz for the business appearance before and during the event. Announce the event on all the social channels (as well as via email and direct mail). During the event, offer branded swag or contests to people who post about your business or booth on their social media networks. Live-blog or tweet during the event (perhaps using a specialty hashtag), and share experiences or photos of the event. Post the company’s social media profiles on all flyers, swags and booth displays.

Invest in a Good, but Not Necessarily Expensive Booth

Many people think that a booth has to be large, but small booths can be effective and are usually a fraction of the cost. The key factor for your booth is that is should be well designed and have the ability to capture the interest of passersby. Make sure that  your banners are colorful and that the booth has some good technology like iPad demonstrations off your product or videos about the service. Try to use special lighting or displays to stand out. To save money, businesses can use office supplies that they have on-hand in the booth.

Entice People to Stay

Tradeshow attendees tend to get tired after walking around the exhibition floor for a while. Offer people a reason to stay for a while. Ensure that the booth has comfortable rugs or mats. Or grab some chairs from the office, and set them up around the booth with refreshments and chargers for phones, tablets and laptops.

Give Away Good, Relevant Swag

While a cool pair of sunglasses may be fun, they’re probably not very relevant to a tech company. Swag should have some relevance to the business. A better giveaway for a hardware tech company may be iPhone chargers or iPad battery backups. Invest in one or two “major” giveaways that will be awarded the last day to people who visit the booth or share something on social media. Really think about what type of major giveaway would really interest the tradeshow attendees, but still be relevant. Another idea is to offer swag that may be needed during the event like food, water or notepads.

If the swag is wearable, walk around with it on during the conference. It will entice people to come to the booth to get their own, and it will help with brand recognition later on.

Tradeshows supply ample opportunity to connect with potential customers and partners. Small businesses just need to know how to effectively and memorably use their time, swag and booths.