Should Startups Participate in Trade Shows?

By Matthew King | Software and Technology

May 23
Trade Shows

Featured Image Credit: Tradeshow Materials | AlphaGraphics Sign Company

As a startup company, you know how life-changing your products and services are. But people outside your company don’t share your enthusiasm—at least, not yet. Because enthusiasm is contagious, attending industry trade shows can be a great way for startups to raise market awareness for their product or service. If you’re ready to up your networking game, then here’s what you should know about attending your first trade show.

Face-to-Face Time Is Better Than the Alternative

Thanks to technology, you can use a range of online platforms to stay in touch with your customers. However, nothing beats actual face-to-face communication and networking, which is exactly what you’ll get at a tradeshow. Being able to look a person in the eye and shake their hand makes a lasting connection. The people you meet are more likely to remember you, your brand, and your products once they experience it in person.

Location Determines Your Success

You wouldn’t put your brick-and-mortar store on a street that never gets any traffic. Your physical location is equally important when it comes to setting up for trade shows. The key to securing a prime spot at a tradeshow is booking early. Plan on spending a bit more for a great location. Ideally, you’ll want to be in the most crowded spot of the main floor, which means that a ton of foot traffic will pass by your booth.

Your Competitors May Inspire You

When you attend a tradeshow, you’ll be surrounded by similar businesses. These companies may even be in direct competition with yours. While it may seem strange, this is actually a great opportunity to learn more about your competitors.

You can get a first-row seat to their process—see how they market their business, listen to their elevator pitch, take a look at their trade show materials, and observe their approach to customer service. You can then use this intel to tweak your own approach. Ask yourself, what are they doing that’s working well, and what areas are they lacking in?

Your Goal Should Guide You

It’s a good idea to attend a tradeshow with a specific idea in mind. Do you want to get more subscribers to your email list? Do you want to perform market research to see which of your products have the most impact?

While you may end up accomplishing other tasks, it’s always good to set a specific goal before going into the trade show. By understanding your goals, you can take a smart approach to choosing your trade show materials and form a strategy for approaching prospective customers.

By attending a trade show, you have the opportunity to generate leads and boost awareness for your brand, products, and services. For that reason, trade shows are an important and useful addition to any marketing strategy.

For more information on building your brand and advice from like-minded entrepreneurs, sign up for a Startup Forum account today.

What Are Your Thoughts

We would absolutely love to hear your thoughts on this idea and the article. We will read each and every one of your comments carefully.

  1. Are there trade shows for your industry?
  2. What have your successes been with trade shows in your industry?
  3. How have you marketed to these trade shows?

About the Author

Matthew King is the owner of the Startup Forums, Alkries LLC, and co-owner at TR King Insurance Marketing. Partner at Independent Life Insurance Agent Association, Medicare Training 101, and Final Expense 101. When he's not creating content about running successful businesses here. He's most likely developing processes, diving into SEO, or gaming with his friends and wife.

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