If your business is attracting new customers from advertising and word of mouth, it can be very tempting to write trade shows off as something that you don’t need to do to attract new customers.
While trade shows are far from easy, they can be one of the most rewarding forms of marketing when approached with the right strategy. Trade show veterans will attest to the fact that the ROI achieved from a successful trade show is difficult – and often impossible – to match using other forms of outbound marketing.
So before you write off trade shows as secondary to your current marketing tactics, it pays to learn about their benefits. These ten reasons, each immensely relevant to your sales-driven business, explain why trade shows should be on your radar.
1. Meet and connect with prospective customers
Have you ever tried to follow up on a sales lead, only to end up leaving one message after another in their voicemail inbox? Getting your voice heard is the most difficult part of outbound marketing, and when your business is one of many trying to gain a new client or customer, ignored messages and a lack of interest are the norm.
One of the greatest advantages of exhibiting at a trade show is that it allows you to meet and connect with prospective customers in person instead of communicating with them over the phone. On the phone, you’re just another voice – in person, you become someone that they know, recognise, and want to connect with.
Although some prospective customers will buy your product or service on the trade show floor, many won’t. Those that don’t commit to a deal in person, however, will become far more responsive to your sales efforts once they know you as a genuine individual instead of just another salesperson.
2. Strengthen your bond with existing customers
Just like trade shows give you the opportunity to better connect with prospective customers, exhibiting at a trade show also allows you to meet existing customers face-to-face. While most of today’s business is conducted over the email inbox or phone, face-to-face meetingsare undeniably a fantastic way to do business.
The Wall Street Journal agrees. Citing a study by Oxford Economics, the well-known financial publication reports that face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to strengthen relationships with both prospective customers and current customers.
Have you ever had a customer double their monthly spending over email? While it’s rare for customers to commit to large deals over email or a phone call, trade shows are often a place for customers to approach you with their long term plans and big orders – orders that can be incredibly lucrative for you as an exhibitor.
Technology has made it easy to write off face-to-face meeting as a thing of the past, but the data doesn’t lie: face-to-face meetings at trade shows are excellent for your business’ relationship with its customers
3. Learn about new developments in your industry
When your business attends a major industry event, it puts itself at the centre of the action. Trade shows are a place for businesses to announce and display their latest innovations and developments – often developments that can have major effects on your industry as a whole.