The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is an international convention of consumer electronics that takes place in Las Vegas at the beginning of each year. The convention brings together tech’s biggest and best. From cars to robotics and everything in between, the latest and greatest in tech is often debuted at CES. If you’re planning on crowdfunding your tech startup or physical product in 2016, you need to attend CES. Here’s why.

Find Your Network

It may seem obvious that you need a “crowd,” but a lack of a network is responsible for many failed Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. Attending CES provides an easy way to build up your “crowd.” For days you’ll be surrounded by CEOs, inventors, entrepreneurs and journalists who all have one thing in common: an interest in tech. Whether you’re exhibiting or not, be outgoing and look for ways to strike up conversations about what you’re building. Make sure you have a place to direct anyone interested in your project – a landing page set up for email collection is ideal, but even social networks will suffice!

Find Your Inspiration

If you’re looking for ways to improve your product, you’re sure to find tons of inspiration at CES. As you visit booths, listen to lectures and find products similar to your own, you’ll be inspired to take your technology to the next level. Take the time to scope out products that are both similar to yours and completely different. This way, you’ll be exposed to a wide range of emerging technologies and products, and hopefully you’ll take home something of value that you can incorporate into your own product or startup.

Find Your Market

In some ways, CES can serve as a massive focus group. By showing your product to others, talking to people about your startup, and seeing what other tech companies are doing, you’ll get a better feel for your market. Bring samples to demo, and be ready to ask and answer questions as you get opinions on everything from design to usability and functionality. If you can’t carry a sample with you, have a video on your phone at the very least. Whether you’re exhibiting or not, treat CES as a place for a truly unique kind of market research.

Find Your Press Coverage

Journalists are everywhere at CES. Use the convention as an opportunity to build relationships with journalists you’d like to cover your product. Let them try out your sample, and be available to answer any questions they may have. Building relationships with journalists and securing press coverage before you even launch is a critical part of a successful Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign. Almost anything that can get you press coverage on day 1 of your campaign is worth doing!

If you’ve been considering going to CES, make sure to register now. It’s a great way to kick off 2016 and get a jumpstart on your successful tech crowdfunding campaign!

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