On April 6th, I’m going to the Fraser Valley Business Showcase at the Abbotsford Tradex Center. It’s got about 150 booths, and any number of them could be potential clients. I have one paper banner, 1/6 of a booth, a pack full of business cards, a smart blazer, and a winning smile. Hit it.
Trade shows can be a little intimidating to the newbie entrepreneur. Everyone there is trying to sell to everyone else, so at first blush they can sound like giant mooching conventions. But take heart, fellow merchants! Trade shows are not just places to empty out your business cards. They are opportunities to gain that permission part of permission marketing.
If you’re at a Trade Show in person, you get more options when it comes to your marketing. You’re not just competing on a list of features. Let’s face it, that’s no way to differentiate your business anyway. People can decide to do business with you based on whether you are easy to talk to or pleasant to work with. That’s something you can’t get off of a brochure.
You can also tailor your message specifically to the attendees. I’m going to go through the list of attendees, check out their websites, and make a list of ways we could help each other out.
Contests are another good way to get the permission to market. I for one plan on raffling off a website package for one lucky company (Leave a Comment at the bottom if you want in). Even if you just have one winner, the fact that you have contestants is a good way to gauge interest in your services. You can even contact the non-winners at a later date.
Remember, even if you don’t make single sale at your trade show, you get a lot of valuable information or your business. You’ll learn who needs your services, who doesn’t, and you an also scope out the competition. Most importantly, you’ll be meeting people. They are the one thing that can make your business a success.