By Pauline T. Mayer, Editor of Medical Device News Magazine
Whether you’ve recently launched a new business or have been around for a few years, there are plenty of benefits associated with attending a trade show, especially in the medical device industry. After all, attending a trade show means:
- The obvious: You can make more money by driving sales.
- You can find new ways to connect with customers/potential customers.
- You can form valuable relationships with other industry professionals through networking.
- You can put your brand on the map.
However, you also need to ensure that you stand out from the crowd at these events, as you will likely be surrounded by brands that are direct competitors of your own.
With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to bring customers over to your trade show booth.
1. Give Your Customers a Head’s Up: Advertise your attendance and send an email to your customers and potential new customers 3 days before the commencement of a show. Provide a list of products and services you will be featuring, your booth location, (maps work great) contact phone number(s), an email, and a website address. This can give you a head start in getting new and potential customers to your exhibit area. If you are featuring a free giveaway, remember to provide a hyperlink for customers to click to enter their contact details. Doing so allows you to secure potential new customers, etc.
2. Social Media: Curate some exciting and catchy social media posts one week prior to the onset of a meeting. Doing so can create interest and excitement.
3. Offer Wifi. Offering free wifi at your booth (secured through a WiFi rental company) could prove to be a great way to draw in potential customers. This is because many trade shows or exhibitions are held in large-scale venues where the phone signals may not be the best. As a result, customers are sure to appreciate any opportunity to get online. Furthermore, by connecting customers to the internet, you can ensure they follow your social media accounts or sign up for your mailing list. This can prove to be invaluable when it comes to getting more sales conversions.
4. Work on your communication skills. One of the easiest ways in which you can drive traffic towards your booth during a trade show is by being able to strike up a conversation. However, it’s also important that you strike the perfect balance between being friendly and professional. Conversations that seem to steer towards sales will come across as pushy, and will likely discourage custom. Friendly conversation on the other hand will help you form a strong relationship with potential customers. Remember, it’s always worth working on your communication skills as it is one of the most in-demand skills in any industry.
5. Dress up your booth. As most trade events host a large number of businesses, you need to find a way to differentiate your booth from others. As a result, this means you probably shouldn’t opt for a traditional layout featuring some tables and a poster. Instead, you should choose creative ways to display your products and branding. The bolder, the better, with a recent study reporting that “an eye-catching stand is the most effective method for attracting attendees”. You should ensure that your logo appears frequently in whatever design you choose, as this will help passersby become more familiar with your brand as a whole.
6. Hand out freebies. If you are able to do so, hand out free novelty items that include your company name, logo, and contact details.
7. Do your research ahead of time. In order to increase your chances for success at a trade show, you must have a clear understanding of what does and does not work in these environments. The easiest way to obtain this knowledge is to attend events as a customer beforehand. As a result, you should try to attend numerous trade shows ahead of time, so that you can browse the different stalls and pick up on some excellent marketing techniques from brands that know what they are doing. In doing, so you’ll also realize common mistakes that business owners make at trade shows, such as being overly pushy on their delivery, so that you know not to do this yourself.
8. Use flyers and leaflets. In the digital world, flyers and leaflets may not seem as effective as social media posts when it comes to marketing your brand, but they are particularly useful at trade shows. For example, you could position team members outside/at the entrance to the venue, armed with eye-catching and informative flyers. They can then pass them out to whoever comes past, encouraging them to stop by your booth and find out more. As they will likely keep hold of these flyers, it also means they won’t forget about your brand as soon as they walk away.
9. Lure them in with a fun game and prizes. Another way in which you can attract customers to your booth is by making it an interactive experience, as opposed to a sales pitch. For example, you could play a game with your customers, giving them the opportunity to win big. After all, a potential client is much more likely to approach a booth should they hear they have an opportunity to win a prize, whether you host a fun quiz or video game. This is also a great way to get attendees talking about your brand, which means they may encourage others to pop by your stall.
10. Give a presentation or product demonstration. Hosting a product demonstration or presentation is a great way to drive traffic towards your booth, especially if you nail the presentation. Of course, this means you should put a lot of effort into the presentation, ensuring that it is clear, informative, and leaves viewers wanting more. You should also use this as an opportunity to brush up on your public speaking and presentation skills, ensuring that you are a charismatic and captivating speaker. Don’t forget to round off your speech with an invite to stop by your booth to find out more about your brand, your products, and what you have to offer. Another bonus: Load your presentation viewable on a TV screen. Remember to turn the sound up and keep it on a loop.
11. Bring your best team members: It’s beneficial to send more than one member of your team to the tradeshow because this gives you more time on your hands to speak to as many potential customers as possible. After all, viewers are unlikely to wait around if they see that you’re already talking to somebody else, as there’s a lot to see and do around them. However, you should also make sure that you send the best team members to those events, those with sales experience and great communication skills. Another tip is to make sure members of your team are walking the show floor to peak in on competitors. A double bonus is drawing them through intelligent conversation back to your booth!
In short, there are various tricks and techniques that you can use to draw attention to your brand at a trade show. However, it’s also important that you do not put too much pressure on the situation, and view it as an exciting opportunity, not a lifeline for your business. This is because the latter will lead to you feeling overly stressed, which will not create a welcoming atmosphere for potential customers. Remember, you are here to have fun and to connect with others. If you get more sales as a result, then it’s just an added bonus.
About Pauline T. Mayer: Ms. Mayer is the editor of Medical Device News Magazine and Biotechnology News Magazine. Throughout her career, Ms. Mayer has provided extensive public relations assistance to medical device companies, support and numerous medical device industry trade shows, physicians, and more.