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Old 19th March 2006, 07:53 PM   #1

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Default How to market my small business within expos

Hoping to gain information on how to market my small business within expos. I was recently at a hotel where there was a conference in progress and thought it would be a great venue to market to others who want to open their own businesses. Anyone have expertise they would like share I sure would appreciate it.

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Old 19th March 2006, 09:56 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Expos are something I'll be tackling in the near future as well. But I have no immediate help for you

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Old 20th March 2006, 01:47 AM   #3
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Are you thinking about actually exhibiting at the expos, or simply walking the floor and trying to network with fellow attendees? I've attended tons of these and worked one or two in my day.

Exhibiting can be a great marketing opportunity, but (for the expos that get enough traffic to be worth your while), in my experience you're going to have to have at least one other person, maybe two or three, with you to help staff the booth. You'll need to eat, take "necessary breaks" and otherwise have some down time during the day, and you don't want to leave your booth empty. You'll need a decent professional-quality display (at least on a par with the other exhibitors -- you want to stand out, but not necessarily as the one with the really awful, amatuer display) -- and you'll want to be sure you've got plenty of takeaway literature (brochures, cards, flyers).

And keep in mind, depending on the expo, it can be expensive to rent the space in the first place, so you want to choose carefully. It can be a significant investment of time and money, so you want to make sure the attendees are really going to be strong potential customers for your product/service. Sure, many business executives have children, but setting up a booth promoting the sales of Usborne Books at a business expo targeting CEOs is probably not the best plan.

You'll also want to confirm with the expo organizers exactly what they provide for exhibitors. Often they'll charge extra for things like an electrical outlet, a phone line, tables, chairs, etc. Don't assume that they include anything other than a few square feet of floor space. You'll want to double-check and confirm everything, then bring as much stuff with you as you can (power strips and heavy-duty extension cords, a couple of folding chairs, tables and covers, etc.) just in case. You want to be prepared to deal with any unpleasant surprises that might be waiting for you when you arrive.

Take full advantage of every minute they allow for set up/breakdown, and practice setting up your display several times before you arrive. It will take longer to set up and pack up than you anticipate. You don't want to still be breathlessly trying to set up your display when the first attendees are streaming through the door, and you don't want to get in trouble with the organizers/venue by taking too long to vacate the premises afterwards.

While cute tchatchkes and contests/giveaways/drawings for cool prizes can attract a lot of attention and traffic to your booth, but I'm not sure whether they actually do anything for you in terms of actually gaining you more business. I personally have walked away from many expos with bags laden with swag, without buying anything from the companies handing out the trinkets. On the other hand, if they've got a product/service I need and their offer is good, I'll buy from them even if they haven't given me anything more than a flyer and a business card.

If you're planning some guerilla marketing by walking the floor and working the room, just be aware that some expos frown on that (they want to protect the market for their paying exhibitors), while others are okay with it, so you just want to be careful when/where/how you go about it.



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Whether you think you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.
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Old 20th March 2006, 04:16 PM   #4

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I'd really suggest going to one first before you put up any money to exhibit. Tradeshows cost alot, and you want to make sure the people you're trying to target will be there. I learned the hard way on my first exhibition that the people there weren't who I wanted.

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Old 26th March 2006, 01:37 PM   #5

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Default What kind of business do you have?

Hi Tammy,

What type of product or service are you trying to market? I have a home candle business and have found several types of shows that are low cost ($40 for a 10x10 booth) and am going to start off with these to get some practice before attempting a major expo. Some ideas are local festivals, farmers markets etc.

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Old 10th April 2006, 08:53 PM   #6

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Default Different Kind of Shows

There are different kinds of shows, neighborhood, chamber or local business shows, small trade shows given by magazines or organizations, large retail shows. They are all different and the cost goes up as you go up the list. Ive been to many of each of these shows and each serves a different purpose. It all depends on what your business is , what your target market is and what your willing to spend.

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Old 11th April 2006, 11:34 AM   #7
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You've received some good advice already. My only suggestion is that you don't think of a trade show as only an exhibit opportunity. Many people seem to go to trade shows with that idea. to make it worth the price of a booth you have to work the crowd.

No sitting in the booth. No reading and ignoring people unless they ask a question of you first. Reach out. Smile. Talk. Engage people. Plan on leaving the trade show with some sales everyday. My personal goal is no less than three sales, or solid leads for sales, each day (I sell consulting - not a carry away item). Get their card or contact information. Don't be satisfied with a contact just taking your info. Control of the follow up has to be with you.

Best of Luck!

Jess Huffman

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Old 18th April 2006, 03:39 PM   #8

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Default Location, location, location

When you select your booth consider where it is located on the floor ... I've found that exterior isles are pretty good; also near concession stands, rest rooms or the main entrance (where people are likely to gather). Another good choice - at the end of an isle (so you can been seen as people walk by the oposite end). Keep in mind that most people look or head to the right when then enter a room or a building. Some shows charge extra for corner booths - but they are more visible. However, getting stuck in the middle of a large show or off in a wing can be a disaster.

Trade shows can be expensive but, when done right, trade shows are an excellent way to show your product - hands-on - to a lot of people; I spend about half of my marketing budget on them.

Shows are also a great way to see what your competition is up to and a good place to network.


Have fun and good luck!

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Old 19th April 2006, 01:43 AM   #9

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Default Tradeshow marketing

Lots of great advice, i would attend seminars on tradeshow marketing, as someone said get a good both with appropriate colors and large text, lots of business cards and brochures but be careful on giving away your brochures, full color process brochures can be spendy, only give them out to people you have qualified else you will find your money going in the garbage. As a professional speaker in the beginning years ago I made this mistake so learn from OPM (other people's mistakes) Good Luck!

Dennis Mitchell

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Old 17th July 2006, 06:03 PM   #10

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Default Booth

I have a booth for sale for anyone interested in increasing their trade show visibility. Its ebay item 110010334410 and it's really really nice. I am selling it at a fraction of it's original cost. If this isn't an appropriate place to mention this could somebody point me to the right place?

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