Small Business Trade Shows: How to Prepare and Build Your Booth

In our last post, we discussed all the great benefits for your business when you attend and set up a booth at a small business trade show. Understanding the benefits is important, but we probably left many of our readers wondering how they should prepare for a trade show so that they can make the most impactful and best represent their business. With this in mind, we have developed a few key aspects that go into making sure that you can make the most out of attendance at a small business trade show.

1. Plan Early and Set Goals

One thing we stress to our clients here at electrIQ marketing is the idea of setting goals. It may sound cliché, but they are an extremely important part of growing any business. Setting reasonable, achievable, and timely goals helps keep a business on-task and focused. In addition, it ensures that the decisions you make are best suited for achieving the goals you have set. The same goes for small business trade shows. When you go to a show, you should have a specific set of goals in mind. Maybe that is you’re trying to get as many e-mail forms filled out as possible so that you can grow your customer e-mail list. Or maybe you’re trying to raise awareness for a new product your company is launching. Whatever it may be, having detailed and defined goals ahead of time will make sure you can accomplish exactly what you are trying to.

In terms of planning early, this is important for a few reasons. For starters, small business trade shows start accepting attendees and booths far in advance and they do fill up, so planning in advance will ensure you’re able to have a presence at the trade shows you think we be meaningful and important for your business. In addition, planning far in advance will allow you to tailor other aspects of your business to the show. For example, maybe you’re planning on launching a brand-new item in late-September, however, you know you have a big trade show coming up in mid-October. Would it make sense for you to move the launch date of the item so that you can raise more awareness and ensure the product hits the ground running by unveiling it at the show? Furthermore, pre-show planning is key. Maybe you want to have specific brochures to hand out to potential customers, or maybe you want to make sure a certain product is ready in time for the show. Plus, you’ll need time to design a presentation board that really captures the essence of the product and brand you are offering. By planning in advance, you can make sure that you have enough time to be 100% ready and prepared so that you can make the most out of your time at the show.

Goals are also important because they will help you choose the right show. In many cases, different shows cater to different businesses and demographics. Thus, by knowing exactly what you want to see in a show and what kind of goals you are trying accomplish, you can find shows that best suit your business.

2. Plan Out a Budget

A budget is extremely important when attending a show. Not only do most shows charge businesses to have a booth, but you will also need to have printed materials such as brochures and forms, along with signs and presentation boards. By having a budget, you can make sure you do not spend more than you can afford to, while also making you are able have all the different materials you’ll need to make a meaningful outreach.

3. Social Media

Now that you know when you’ll be at a specific trade show, make sure others know to. Let people know about your booth and what exciting products you’ll be featuring. Maybe you are having a giveaway. You’ll want to make sure that you post plenty of information so that people attending the event know you’ll be there (many shows will have a special hashtag). However, the social media doesn’t end there. You’ll want to make sure you post both before and after the show. This helps create great content for your social media accounts, and it also keeps customers engaged and involved with your brand.

4. Build a Schedule

It is important that you have a schedule for your time at the show. You’ll want to make sure you have time to walk around and talk to other businesses, attend seminars, and reach out and tend to your booth. Whenever you’re not at your booth, you’ll want to make sure you have an employee there, and you’ll want to make sure that they know when you’ll be back in case someone is looking to speak to you directly. The importance of a schedule cannot be stressed enough. It will help you make sure your organized and, in terms of your goals, it will help ensure you accomplish everything you are looking to during your time at the show.

This is just a small part of all the details that go into having a successful show. We’ll be addressing steps 5 through 8 in our next post, so make sure to check back. In that post, we’ll be going over making great signage and presentation boards and much more.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out, and don’t forget to check back for the next exciting post on how you can take your business to the next level through small business trade shows.