Market Research

Promote Your Business Through Local Business Trade

One of the best things a small business owner can do to increase visibility for his or her business venture is to participate in local trade shows and business expo events. Most communities with an active Chamber of Commerce or other membership based business organization have at least one annual expo designed to spotlight local businesses. The exhibit fees are usually very affordable, and participating is a great way to gain exposure for your organization.

Finding Events To find out about trade show events in your area, it’s a good idea to get involved in appropriate professional organizations and networking groups. You should also scour the business section of your local newspaper on a regular basis to find out about upcoming opportunities.

Many television stations, municipalities, and convention and visitors bureaus also post upcoming expo and trade show events on their online community calendars. The good news is that once you participate in a show, you’ll start to receive email and snail mail announcements of upcoming events.

Exhibit Considerations

Before you can participate in a trade show or business expo, you will need to develop or purchase a booth display. Displays can be as simple as tablecloths with a few brochure holders, or as elaborate as a full screen multi-media presentation. They can range from being very inexpensive to costing thousands of dollars. Before deciding what type of display best meets your needs, it’s a good idea to visit a few trade show expos so you can see several types of displays in person. In addition to cost and design, factors you need to consider include: ease of transportation, ease or difficulty of set-up, and versatility.

Giveaway Goodies

In addition to creating or purchasing an attractive display, you’ll also need to come up with some type of giveaways to have at your booth. You should purchase some type of promotional items that include your company name, phone number, and website to give away during the events in which you participate. Many trade show attendees look forward to collecting pens, mugs, notepads, coupons, and other goodies from vendors. Promotional items don’t have to be expensive to be appealing. They’ll attract people to your booth and serve as reminders of your company long after the event is offer.

Get Contact Information

You need to have a plan to get contact information from the people who stop by your booth. This will allow you to place visitors on your mailing list, as well as make follow-up phone calls once the event is over. Many trade show participants bring a door prize, and require visitors to drop their business cards in a basket or fishbowl in order to register. This is a win-win proposition for the exhibitor, who gets contact information from visitors, and the booth visitors, who get a chance to win a great prize.

Staffing Plan

When you commit to participating in a trade show, you have to be prepared to staff your booth throughout the event. An empty booth isn’t going to attract visitors or help promote your business. A major advantage of participating in trade show expo events is having an opportunity to meet new people and chat with them about what your business does.

Get Ready to Grow Your Business

Now that you know how to find local trade show events, it’s time to research opportunities in your area and create a winning trade show display. You’ll be on your way to developing new business opportunities in no time at all.

Steven M. Smith, Owner, graduated The Art Institute of Vancouver for Web Design & Interactive Media, Graphic & Web Design and has been feature...