Building Long-Term Customers at Trade Shows

Tradeshows are well-known for creating awareness and grabbing attention, but the benefits of the relationships created during an event can extend much further. Take the opportunity to build long-term customers through your tradeshow interactions with these great tips for engagement and networking.

Customer Appreciation Events

Show your valued customers that they represent more than just a sale. Sponsor events such as dinners or luncheons, or even a cocktail hour after the show closes for the day. Meet-and-greets have long been a great way to connect people from all levels of business--and who doesn't like free food?

Giveaways

Everyone loves prizes. Giveaways can be a standalone promotion, or combined with other events such as a conference or meetup. When building a long-term relationship, focus on giveaways that are meaningful and useful. Attention grabbing items like water bottles and pens are great for gaining awareness, but creating loyal customers requires a value such as a free product or service. If possible, have this prize on display to attract attention at the show.

Beta Testing

Depending on your type of business, beta testing is a great way to inspire customer loyalty and provide them with a reason to stay engaged. Especially relevant in the tech world, beta testing also gives users the fun advantage of being the first to experience an offering. In addition, beta testers often generate great "buzz" and happily will talk about and share their experiences with your company through social media. Create a sign up for new beta testers at your show booth.

Rewards Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to ensure repeat customers, and also to keep these people coming back. Rewards members gain access to your choice of paybacks or prizes based on repeat business. In addition to the common scannable cards, explore social media options like rewards for checking in at trade shows booths or locations throughout town.

Speaker Events

Provide classes, conferences, or a speaker series at your local meetup that coincides with the trade show. Speakers can personify your brand and tell stories that will be remembered by the attendees. Informational events can be the difference between a lead and a sale by answering all of a customer's questions. Educational or how-to classes are also great options for engagement, providing your customers with the tools they need to complete a project.

Old-fashioned Engagement

Exciting events and prizes are great, but the personal touch of one-on-one engagement has always been a key tool in creating long-term customers. When people stop by your trade show booth, take the opportunity to have a conversation whenever possible. Unlike a sales pitch, a conversation involves both talking and listening to what the person has to say. Ask about their business and spend time discussing the challenges involved and how you can help.

Most likely, you will need to employ multiple strategies to create long-term customers. Trade shows are a great way to start the conversation that will lead to continued engagement. Create opportunities to gain a personal understanding of your customers, and offer benefits to their continued loyalty. For more information on trade show planning, visit our Knowledge Center for more related articles.