Small business trade shows are a fantastic resource for generating leads, networking with fellow business people and learning about the latest in your particular trade or area of the world. It is one of the best ways to get your products in front of people, scope out the competition, increase brand awareness and much more. But the cost of registration, travel, hotels, booths, ads, and giveaways can keep many small to medium-sized businesses away.
So if you can’t make the trade show, you’re out of luck, right?
Not so! With a little bit of cleverness, it’s possible to leverage these big events from the comfort of your home or office. With social media, you can still network and gain prospects.
David Clark of SDL offered us seven tips for conference/trade show networking and marketing you can do from your computer. Check it out:
Research the Event. Before the event happens find relevant groups/hashtags to follow for troves of useful information, insight, and sales leads
Set up searches. Include the event’s name, hashtags, relevant topics and industry keywords
Market Yourself. For a fraction of the event’s price tag, SMBs can create advertisements, landing pages, product pages, or YouTube videos demonstrating the value their product/service
Look for Influencers. Look for the main voices in each media outlet, disseminate information through them or add them to your sales leads database
“Attend” the Event. Using Twitter during the event is a must, conversations and questions happen in real time and SMBs can use this as an opportunity market themselves
Offer a Promotion. See what competitors are offering, then throw your hat in the ring by advertising specials through Twitter (using event hashtags).
Follow Up. Contact prospects post-show with information about your brand, answer their questions and make the sale.
So, what do you think? Can you forego the next trade show and still build your business?