7 Trade Show Tips for Small Businesses

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Trade show tips for businesses

There is plenty of benefits that being part of a trade show can bring to you, the business owner. Some benefits include getting the opportunity to network with other professionals and obtaining direct access to potential buyers. Also, taking part in a trade show is an excellent idea if your business is part of a niche industry.

Is Exhibiting At A Trade Show Right For Your Business?

Don’t know how to get the word out about your business? There are some great ways you can get your brand into the minds of many. One of the best ways to do so is by getting into a trade show. A trade show is an event or exhibition that brings together companies and similar organizations to reveal their newest products and/or services. There is plenty of benefits that being part of a trade show can bring to you, the business owner. Some benefits include getting the opportunity to network with other professionals and obtaining direct access to potential buyers. Also, taking part in a trade show is an excellent idea if your business is part of a niche industry. For those who are considering attending one, you must be aware that it is not as simple as one may think. You cannot simply just set up booth and call it a day. It takes significant elements to ensure that your trade show experience is a success.

Full Tradeshow Booth Design and Print Coordination (Pop up Banners, 8’ Banner, Custom Tablecloth, Rack Cards)

1) Outline Your Goals

So, you have decided that your company will attend a trade show. You believe that attending such an event will bring many benefits. With that being said, you must outline a strong plan. You have to identify what goals you will like to achieve within the number of days you are attending the trade show. Here is the kicker. Not only do you need to identify which goals need to be reached, but you must consider which of these will be attainable. You must create a detailed, organized plan on how you will be able to obtain the success that you are seeking as a business owner. The costs of setting up a trade show, depending on the event, can be overwhelming. You want to ensure that every expense will help you achieve your goals.

To do so, you can incorporate the SMART goal criteria. By including these criteria, it is much more likely that your goals will be fulfilled. It is more likely because these criteria ensure that you work towards creating goals that are not only specific but that they are also measurable and achievable. It is not enough to say you want to get more distributors for your business, for example. A better goal to have in mind is to say that you want to get 10 percent more distributors from last year, in the four day period that you will be attending the trade show. When you create a strategy that is specific in this nature, your possibilities of achieving your goals are more likely.

2) Budget for the Event

As previously mentioned, the expenses that must be made to make a trade show a success can be significant. Therefore, organizers must carefully analyze how expenses will be allocated for the event. To achieve this, companies can create a template that goes into detail the types of expenses that will be made. Typically, there are four categories of expenses for trade shows. They are exhibit costs, services costs, promotional costs, and staffing costs. Do you know how much you are likely to spend to obtain space for your booth? Let’s take a look at exhibit costs. The estimate for exhibit space is anywhere from $138 to $154 per square foot to the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association.

Companies can essentially be spending thousands for exhibition space alone. It is recommended to have a budget for the exhibition that is three times the amount of space you will be spending. For example, if your space is 13,000, then you should multiply this amount by three to get the recommended budget for the trade show. In this case, your budget for the whole event should be $39,000. Therefore, 30 percent of your budget should go to exhibition space. For services costs, it is recommended to spend around 19 to 20 percent of your budget. Services costs include logistics, installation, and storage costs. For promotional expenses, expect to spend anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of your budget. The expense can increase when you consider shipping costs as well. Lastly, think about the staff expenses that will be made. Use 20 percent of your budget for staff expenses. Things to consider for staffing expenses include transportation, lodging, and food costs. Many companies use third-party staffing organizations to help reduce costs for a trade show event.

3) Which Event is Right for your Small Business?

Many industries take part in trade shows all across the U.S. As a business owner; you must carefully analyze which trade shows will serve your organizational needs. If you are new to trade shows, there are certain things you can begin doing so you can find the best trade show for your business. The first thing you can do is search through a trade show directory. These directories can give you access to events that will occur on a local, state, or national level. When you decided on a couple of trade shows that are a good fit for you, check their website and if possible, contact the coordinators to get a full understanding of the trade show event that you are considering. It is also recommended to speak to some of the organizations that took part in the event you are trying to book to see if it was a pleasant experience for them.

Once you finally book your trade show, analyze how you will spend your time at your chosen trade show. Almost every trade show will have info sessions and prominent speakers. Many organizations can find valuable information by engaging in these activities. Allocate some of your time to find an info session or speaker that may be an interest to you.

Also, give yourself time to explore the area. This will give you the opportunity to network with individuals and companies that matter to you, such as vendors, for example. Lastly, give yourself some time to relax. A trade show can be tiring at times, so it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with rest areas, bathrooms, and food options to help you get through the day.

Trade show booth set up for JLucas Nutrition (Tablecloth, book, Pop Up Banner Design)

4) Design Your Trade Show Booth

There are certain things you should consider when you are trying to design the right booth for your business. Your booth is an extension of your brand. Therefore it should be in line with your current branding strategy. Like your brand, you should always make sure to use a limited number of colors in your booth. Individuals may be quickly distracted by an abundance of color, and most importantly your message can be lost. Generally, it is recommended that you only use a palette of 3 or 2 colors.

Regarding fonts, you should ensure that they are legible. Having legible fonts are an important aspect of your design since there will be many individuals who will be looking from a distance, so make sure your fonts can be read. You may be tempted to use fonts that are elaborate and are aesthetically pleasing, but please, be aware that some of these fonts cannot be read from far distances. Use fonts that are clear have a level of uniformity that will help trade show goers decipher your booth’s message.

Another thing to consider is lighting. The lighting at trade shows may not be up to par and can diminish the impact of your booth design. If you can, make sure you bring appropriate lighting to help maximize the appearance and design of your booth. Lastly, when designing your booth, make sure you design to help potential customers feel comfortable. Don’t trick people by using hospitality gimmicks that aren’t relevant to your business such as creating a phone charging area to pitch people your product. People don’t want to feel forced into something and using such tactics will make potential customers look the other way.

5) Create a Buzz

There are ways in which you can inform people about your company attending a trade show event. If you are a company that has a certain level of prominence within your local community, it is highly suggested for business leaders to use a press release to help promote your event. Pitch to your local journalists and include your press release with the most important information to make the journalist’s job easier. You can also release your press release through a distributing service such as PR Newswire. Today, people are more connected than ever before thanks to social media platforms. If you are looking to create some buzz for your trade show event, it is highly suggested to use these platforms to get the message out there. Create a social media marketing strategy to build up the event and help people gain curiosity about the event. Remember, trade shows are meant to attract certain groups of individuals, so use platforms that you know that your audiences use frequently. Once at the trade show, continue using social media by creating a live stream or posting images or other relevant content constantly to keep the buzz alive.

6) Prepare Your Trade Show Team

When creating a trade show event strategy, you’ve outlined the specific goals that needed to be fulfilled. These goals will only be reached if you have the right staff performing the correct roles. Assembling the best team is crucial if you want to achieve or even exceed trade show goals. First and foremost, make sure your team is knowledgeable about the products and services that your company has. It is certainly not professional to have a team that has limited knowledge, and customers can quickly pick that up. Also, make sure that you have analyzed that each team member has the correct role. There are many roles within a trade show. There are hosts, presenters, sales pitchers, and crowd gatherers to name a few. Your staff members can have unique talents or skills, so it is of your best interest to carefully consider what role is best suited for each individual in your team. Finally, is it important to have the right attitude. Gather a team that is best suited for a trade show event, and that can effectively communicate with customers. People can quickly pick up the energy of others. If staff members have no energy, enthusiasm, or seem like they are being forced to enter a conversation with trade show-goers, then it can negatively impact your trade show goals.

7) Gather Your Promotional Items

There is something about getting free items that give people such a positive feeling. It’s like a great rush. People feel as though they are being catered to when you provide them with promotional items. It’s like getting a gift. Having promotional items to giveaways are a sure way to attract customers and subtly have your company in the minds of trade show attendees. It is one of the best ways to spread the message of your organization. The wonderful thing about promotional items is that there are so many types that can be created for a certain purpose. There are promotional items for lead generation, new service or product launch, and brand awareness to name a few. For example, if you are trying to provide promotional items to enter a new market, it is suggested to provide promotional items that are useful for potential customers. Analyze your target audience, and order or create items that they will use on a constant basis. Most individuals regardless of target audience, use pens, notebooks, key chains, or magnets. If possible, and if it aligns with your company brand, provide promotional items that will make potential clients smile. A fun toy or novelty product will surely help your company stay in the minds of the clients you are trying to create new relationships with.

Let Us Help You Create the Trade Show Booth of Your Dreams

Attending a trade show is more than setting up a table and a chair. Many elements need to be considered to help make a trade show event a success for your company. If you are considering attending a trade show, b.iD can help you create a budget-conscious trade show event that will yield the results you are searching for.

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