Trade shows: To exhibit or not to exhibit?
We recently helped sponsor the 2011 Hollywood Expo trade show. This was our second year in a row as sponsors at this event, put on by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. For product companies, trade shows are a great way to reach new clients by giving out samples of their products (please see the article on Free Samples on this Blog). Restaurants of course, were giving away great food and product companies had all kinds of nice samples of their products. Seeing all this great food and products brought up a good question: Is it worth exhibiting if you are a service company? The overwhelming answer is: YES, as long as you are at the right trade show. Being at the “right” trade show may seem obvious, but sometimes your service or product could work in a different market, or have a varied target audience, so deciding sometimes is not as easy as it appears.
TIP: Select the tradeshow carefully as they tend to be pricey and make sure that there are not many direct competitors attending. For us, attending the Hollywood Expo makes sense since it is full of businesses and they are our primary clients. We also bring great and useful office gifts as well as offer a raffle to attract the undecided (Yes we do announce the winners of the raffle). We love when a passerby asks “What do you guys do?”.
At every trade show we always end up meeting a lot of new people, and invariably new clients and new friends. The reach of a referral that comes from a tradeshow is endless. We have also found companies that we partner with, or end up buying from, as a result of meeting them at a tradeshow. It is a win-win situation as long as you select the tradeshow carefully. If you are on the fence about attending a show, go as visitor and network with people. This strategy also works wonders for finding new clients and a great way to see your competitors. We hope to see you soon at a tradeshow near you.