Trade Show Ideas for Small Businesses

    Trade Show Ideas for Small Businesses

    Small businesses make wonderful exhibitors at trade shows. While it may seem intimidating to advertise your wares and services among larger competitors, you are likely to find that attendees are excited to uncover new faces and products. With some strategic planning, small businesses can flourish at trade shows. Here are a few ideas and tips to to help increase your chances of success at your next event:


    It is important to set goals and have a specific purpose for your trade show event. Perhaps you want to focus on gathering new product feedback, or maybe you are looking to expand your services to a different caliber of clientele. Narrowing your focus down to one or two key goals will help you in all of your planning for the event. It will set the stage for which trade show you should exhibit at, booth design ideas, budgeting, and how to style your pitch. While the trade show might provide the attendees and venue, you ultimately supply the show.

    Over Prepare

    Extra trade show freebies, brochures, and even an extra pair of hands are better ways to invest your money, rather than coming up short. Small business owners can sometimes come unprepared for taking orders or catching the interest of larger clients. You are at a trade show to make contacts, meet prospects, and have a successful day. Plan for these successes rather than assuming your booth will be overlooked by bigger fish. It is not uncommon for smaller businesses, particularly new faces to a trade show, to make a big impression. Don’t be caught unprepared.

    Pre-Show Marketing

    Because a trade show is one big marketing event, many small businesses fail to do much, if any, pre-show advertising. This is a big mistake.

    While you will get plenty of browsers who wander unexpectedly into your booth, you still want to lure in the best prospects. These are the people that are looking for specific items or services, of which you might be just the right fit.

    In order to get the word out concerning your trade show booth, invest the time and resources into social media advertising, email campaigns, and any local outreach opportunities that might surface.

    A tiny bit of name recognition will increase traffic more than you might realize.

    Budget for Now and Later

    Plan your trade show budget with the present and future in mind. Even if you only plan on attending one trade show a year, small businesses can save money by investing in equipment and booth design ideas that can be reused for years to come.

    Think of your budget items in terms of single and multiple usage. Sturdy and quality signage and display units are always worth their cost. Likewise, items to keep your staff happy such as drink coolers and comfortable seats prove infinitely useful. Technology, on the other hand, changes rapidly. Don’t invest in any expensive or bulky equipment that would be easier to rent at the venue. And while freebies are always encouraged, that doesn’t mean you must choose items only good for a single event. Keep your branding simple and you will have less waste post-show.

    Are you attending a trade show in the near future? If so, make sure to take a look at our trade show checklist for more tips on how to best plan and prepare for your next event.


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