Trade shows are great marketing opportunities for small businesses. Some business owners are hesitant to add them to their marketing mix because they can be time-consuming and costly. While you can’t commit to all trade shows in your industry, it is important to attend a few. Taking just one day off of work can result in hundreds of potential new clients and increased brand visibility.

If you are a small business owner, don’t overlook these benefits of attending trade shows.

Meet Local Businesses

Attending a local trade show allows you to meet other businesses and organizations in the area. You can find related businesses to connect with and promote each other’s services. For example, if you run an ice cream parlor and one of your local neighbors has a sandwich shop, you could offer a free small scoop of ice cream with each sandwich purchase. This would benefit both businesses by drawing in more traffic and sales.

Network with Like-minded People

Networking is an automatic benefit to attending a trade show. It can be difficult to take a day off work, but the number of people you will meet is incredible! With so many like-minded individuals that come from the same profession or related industries, the possibilities are endless. Strengthen relationships with existing customers. Develop relationships with new leads. Engage with potential suppliers and even future talent for your organization.

Build Brand Awareness  

The more people who know about your brand, the better. A trade show is a great opportunity to build brand awareness because you can position your products and services in front of the right audience. And, by handing out promotional items, you can send potential leads home with a reminder of your business. This is a nice change of pace from buying ads and targeting people in the digital space.

Face-to-Face Interaction

If you sell products online, buyers are limited in what they can see and do. At a trade show, they can interact with your products using their five senses. How many times have you become interested in something simply because you saw it in person? This happens all the time! Additionally, you can use a trade show for old fashioned face-to-face interaction, something that is limited these days.

Evaluate Competitors

By making an appearance at a trade show, you can evaluate the competition. What are other businesses in your industry doing to gain leads and customers? How is your product similar? How is it different? You can only tell so much from a website. Observing your competition in action is the best way to know what you’re up against.

Trade shows are essential for small businesses. Pick a couple and make the most of them. You won’t regret taking time off work to promote your brand and develop new relationships.