Trade Show Exhibits Still Offer Unique Business Benefits

by Alexandrea Roman on March 5, 2014 and last updated on September 26, 2016

In the age of the Internet, when customers can research products any time with a few mouse clicks, does investing in a trade show booth and paying the bills to staff it for several days really make sense?

In a word, yes.

According to the Trade Show News Network, 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority, and up to 78% are motivated enough to travel more than 400 miles to walk the exhibit floor. Those numbers represent a significant amount of potential reach for every dollar you spend on your exhibit. Choose the shows you intend to exhibit at carefully, and you can reap considerable business wins. Here are five potential benefits of good trade show activity:

Start conversations with warm leads

The exhibit floor traffic at a trade show is highly-targeted. In fact, Inc. Magazine reports that up to 70 percent of the attendees at any given show know which vendors they want to talk to before the doors ever open. Essentially, they’ve begun to qualify themselves as warm leads simply by stopping by your booth. Those are the kinds of prospects you want to invest time talking to. Stopping by your booth and chatting with you or your sales staff gives you a chance to create a trusting, respectful relationship with these customers—and hopefully earn their business down the road.

Tap attendees’ networks

Maybe the person browsing your display and picking up your marketing materials really doesn’t have the power or resources to commit to a high-dollar purchase, but they may know someone who does. Impress them and they’re quite likely to pass on word about your products and services. According to ThomasNet, 87 percent of visitors will route your materials or news of your offerings along to a friend or colleague. This makes the choice to exhibit at carefully chosen trade show an excellent way to reach a far larger number of prospects than the gate count might indicate.

Build brand recognition

Inc. Magazine also claims that your trade show booth has approximately four seconds to catch an attendee’s attention. At first glance, that’s not a very attractive statistic, but it all depends on your perspective. Even if a potential buyer scans your booth but decides to move on because the widget-dealer one space over has the best giveaways on the exhibit floor, you’ve managed to put your business’s name in front of that attendee. You’ve begun to build an impression in their mind as a marketplace player. To help catch the attention of passers-by, consider clearly branded table runners, trade show banner stands, and other visual elements that communicate your logo and message effectively, even at a distance. You never know when that spark of recognition might be the first step towards moving a warm lead with deep pockets through your sales funnel.

Build your list before the show

Most trade shows will provide vendors with a list of registered attendees so that exhibitors can reach out to attendees before the doors ever open. That’s a great way to drum-up visitors at the show, but savvy business owners will also see those attendee lists as a free source of potential leads to add to long-term mailing and marketing lists.

Engage in a little competitive intelligence

If you’ve chosen to set up shop at a particular trade show, it’s a good bet your competition will also be represented somewhere on the exhibit floor. Watch what they’re doing, listen to their offers, and collect their marketing materials. Take advantage of any strengths you identify that you can port to your own business strategy, and consider any weaknesses in their products or sales approach to further refine your own unique selling proposition.

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Convene is primarily a board portal solution and corporate governance software for iPads and Android tablets, but it can also be used beyond the boardroom for other enterprise purposes such as training sessions, lectures, conferences, sales presentations, and of course, trade shows. Ask for a demo or quote now to learn more about it!

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About Alexandrea Roman

Alexandrea is a social media specialist and blogger for Convene.

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