Trade shows offer tremendous opportunities for value-added resellers (VARs) of retail software to showcase their products, connect with potential clients, and stay ahead of industry trends. However, to make the most of these events, VARs need to approach them strategically. Here, we will explore valuable trade show tips specifically tailored for VARs in the retail point of sale industry. By implementing these tips, you can maximize your trade show experience and generate meaningful leads for your business.
1. Plan Ahead.
Trade shows require careful planning to ensure a successful outcome. Here are some essential planning tips for VARs:
- Research the Event: Thoroughly research the trade show you plan to attend. Understand the target audience, exhibitor guidelines, booth specifications, and any speaking opportunities that may be available.
- Set Clear Goals: Define your objectives for the trade show. Do you want to generate leads, build brand awareness, or establish partnerships? Clearly outlining your goals will help you focus your efforts and measure success.
- Travel Logistics: It’s never too early to book flights and hotel rooms. Giving your team dates to book flights and hotel rooms well in advance avoids higher pricing and the risk of rooms being sold out. Hold a prep meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page and create an event prep document that outlines everything from the booth shipment information, marketing schedule, and post-show follow up. Here you can set out all deadlines and individual responsibilities of the team.
- Pre-Show Marketing: At least 6 weeks out you will want to prepare emails and social media posts announcing your presence at the show. At this time, you will want to make sure you have updated all promotional marketing materials and ordered any giveaways or swag you plan on giving away.
- Partnering: Look for opportunities to work with your vendor and industry partners. Suppliers are eager to partner with VAR’s at trade shows. Leverage their expertise, influence and marketing budgets to help expand your reach.
2. Develop a Pre-Show Social Media Strategy.
Leverage your online presence and marketing channels to create buzz around your participation in the trade show.
- 1 Month Pre-Show: It is recommended that you advertise on social media, email and or a mailer 1-month pre-event with an initial announcement about your participation in the trade show. Here you will want to share the event details, including date, time, and location.
- 2 Weeks Pre-Show: Take to your social media again 2 weeks from the event to offer a sneak peek of a new product or a special promotion exclusively available at your booth.
- 3 Days Pre-Show: Before the event communicate any special incentives, giveaways, presentations, workshops, or speaking engagements you’ll be participating in at the trade show.
- On Site Posts: Plan to also make posts at the trade show with real-time updates from the trade show floor, including photos or videos of your booth setup and engaging interactions with attendees. Live stream short demos or interviews with key team members to generate buzz. Check out our twitter feed for some examples of Pre-Show Marketing.
3. Create an Engaging Booth.
Your booth is your chance to make a lasting impression on attendees. Here’s how you can make it stand out:
- Design a Captivating Display: Use eye-catching visuals, banners, and signage to grab attention and communicate your unique selling points. Ensure your branding is consistent and reflects your company’s image.
- Demonstrate Your Solutions: Set up live demos of your retail software to give attendees a firsthand experience of its capabilities. Highlight key features and benefits to pique interest.
- Train Your Staff: Equip your booth staff with in-depth product knowledge and excellent communication skills. They should be able to engage with attendees, answer questions, and provide personalized solutions.
4. Network Strategically.
Trade shows are ideal for networking and forging valuable partnerships. Consider the following tips:
- Identify Key Contacts: Research and identify potential clients, industry influencers, and complementary businesses that align with your target market. Schedule meetings or connect with them during the trade show.
- Scan Badges: Don’t miss your quality leads and make sure that you scan the badges of everyone that stops by your booth.
- Attend Educational Sessions: Trade shows often feature industry experts and thought leaders as speakers. Attend relevant sessions to gain insights, stay updated on industry trends, and expand your knowledge base.
- Host or Participate in Events: Organize a networking event, host a panel discussion, or participate in round-table sessions. These activities allow you to establish yourself as an industry expert and create meaningful connections.
5. Follow Up Effectively.
Don’t let your efforts at the trade show go to waste. Ensure proper follow-up to nurture leads and maximize your return on investment:
- Prioritize Leads: Organize and categorize leads based on their level of interest and potential. Follow up promptly with personalized emails, phone calls, or meetings.
- Provide Value: Offer additional information, resources, or trial versions of your retail software to leads to provide value and demonstrate your expertise. One of the most effective ways to do this and drive traffic to your website after a trade show is to create a blog summarizing the details of the event. Seasoned trade show bloggers will take notes throughout the event, write content on the flight home and post the next business day to leverage the buzz from the event!
- Stay Connected: Maintain regular communication with leads even after the trade show. Engage them through newsletters, webinars, or social media to build long-term relationships.
Trade shows present VARs with a prime opportunity to showcase their solutions, network with industry professionals, and drive business growth. By planning ahead, creating an engaging booth, networking strategically, and following up effectively, VARs can make the most of their trade show experience. Implement these tips and watch your retail software business thrive in the competitive market. Remember, trade shows are not just about exhibiting; they are a chance to learn, connect, and build lasting relationships. If you would like to know more on how you can create new revenue streams with Auto-Star POS systems with our white glove service mentality, please contact us today!