Taking your company to a trade show can promote your business to 100’s of potential customers. Each trade show gives you an opportunity to forge new contacts  for your company. That’s why one of the best strategies for a growing company to market products and services to a large specified group of potential customers is by exhibiting at a trade show. Here are some of the ways you can rock your next trade show.

1. Choose the Right Show

Choosing the right trade show is key. Trade shows are pricey, so it’s important to pick the right ones. Ask peers where they exhibit. Do research about different shows and other venues, see what competitiors are doing, if they’re going chances are you should too. Trade associations can be a great resource because they’ll have a deep understanding of your business segment and market.

2.  Decide Your Goals

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What are the goals you’d like to accomplish at a trade show? Is it to meet people, to close some sales, or to simply get names and e-mail addresses on your mailing list? What product or service are you planning to promote? Determining what your goals are will help you decide what trade show will give you the most return for your investment.

3. Create an Effective Exhibit

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Devise promotions that will build some buzz and get people talking. Be creative and adventurous.The booth should be eye-catching – something attendees can see from 15 to 20 feet away. Samples of your work, photographs, testimonial letters, press clippings, etc. can help give your booth credibility. The booth will probably be your biggest expense, but it is also the most important.

4. Network

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Check out the attendee list beforehand and identify people  to get in front of and even reach out to targets in advance of the show to invite them to breakout meetings or dinners.Trade shows are great places to meet others in your industry and explore partnerships.Go out of your way to initiate relationships with other exhibitors. They may need your products and services or be in a position to refer you to others. Also, you might find a new source of customer leads.

5. Follow-Up

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Remember that making a trade show experience a success doesn’t end when the trade show is finished; a trade show is a source of leads, not clients. Take time to plan your follow-up strategy is before the show begins. That way, you can reach prospects with your follow-up message while the show is still fresh in their minds.Follow up on all of your leads with phone calls, and put the names on your newsletter, direct mail and/or e-mail list.