When it comes to building a brand in a specific industry, especially if the brand is B2B, there are few avenues more powerful than through working a trade show. At a trade show, industry leaders from all over the world will be there looking for new ideas and connections.
If you can leverage this opportunity to put your brand out there and communicate what you have to offer, it can boost your brand in unimaginable ways. You can walk away with powerful connections, immense goodwill, more credibility, more brand recognition and often actual orders.
Here are a few different ways you can leverage trade shows.
The most basic way to leverage trade shows is through networking. Wander from booth to booth and introduce yourself. Let others know how you can help them and look for new strategic partnerships.
Also, try to meet as many high profile influencers as possible. Be brief with their time; but if you have a value proposition for them, put it on the table.
==> Host a Side Event
A much more powerful way to leverage a trade show is to host a side event.
Book a conference room in the same hotel or in an adjacent restaurant or large bar. Then market the event through the trade show’s Twitter hashtag, through flyering, through Meetup and through your own email list.
For example, if there’s a large marketing conference, perhaps you’ll host your own side event with just one big name speaker. If you’re at a renewable energy show, perhaps you could invite three manufacturers to give talks about upcoming new technologies.
By taking this kind of leadership position, you’ll drastically increase your own brand and credibility. You’ll also make important connections. Instead of seeking connections, people will come and connect with you.
==> Be a Speaker
You can build a lot of credibility and brand awareness by getting on stage.
Talk to the event organizer early on about the possibility of speaking at the event as early as possible. Make sure you have a good amount of credibility and speaking experience built up before approaching large conference organizers.
==> Should You Get Your Own Booth?
If you’re serious about building your brand, you should absolutely get a booth.
Getting a booth at a trade show could require a large investment – generally upwards of $10,000. However, having a booth means literally two days of having business come up to you and listen to your sales pitch.
Can you get a lot from a trade show without a booth? Of course. If you have a small outfit, you can just go booth to booth and introduce yourself instead. However, if you can afford it, having a booth is a tremendous brand building opportunity.
As far as B2B branding and sales opportunities go, trade shows are very high on the list. If your target market is other businesses, map out a strategy for trade shows early on to leverage this powerful branding medium.