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10 Things to Consider Before You Do a Trade Show

By Susan Dunn
Posted Monday, November 8, 2004

1.Find out if the trade show is focused on your target market.

2.Talk with the promoters and find out the history.

How many trade shows have they done before? What was the turnout? They should be able to give you figures. Find out how they plan to advertise – TV, radio ads, billboards, print ads?

3.Get the names of people who have participated in one of their recent trade shows and call them up. You’ll get a lot on un-censored information.

4.Visit a couple of trade shows to observe and analyze.

Take a long a notepad and notes. Observe the displays, how the people work the booths, what attracts you or repels you.

5.Plan to work with a partner.

Staffing a booth takes at least two people. Set up and delivery of your materials, which will probably be heavy, is easier. You can take breaks. One of you can wander around networking while the other staffs the booth. Some people find it easier to approach a booth with more than one person there.

6. Prepare your booth display and materials.

You need something eye-catching from 15’ away. There’s a whole industry supplying these materials – displays, booths, portable trade show exhibits, pop-up displays, table-top models, floor-standing, and exhibit booths in various sizes (6’ to 20’). Check them out on the Internet. Here is one: (

7.Prepare an ample supply of brochures, flyers and business cards.

Also get your “elevator” speech ready. Many people only visit for a minute or two and you need to be able to describe what you do and sell, or the particular product you’re promoting, very rapidly.

8.Decide your goals.

Just to experience your first trade show and learn from it? Capture names and addresses? Close 3 sales? Just meeting people?

9.Have some way to capture names, addresses and emails.

Most of the literature people pick up at booths (or anywhere else) is discarded shortly thereafter. You can have a giveaway where they drop their business card in a fish bowl, or a sign-up sheet for a free gift.

10.After the show, do your follow-up.

Make the phone calls, get the names on your subscription list. Analyze whether the results were worth the time and money spent on the trade show, keeping in mind residual effects from the exposure.

About the Auhtor
Susan Dunn, coach and marketing consultant, ( , author of “The Secret to Getting to Present on a Cruise” ( Marketing for entrepreneurs and coaches. Ebook writing and Internet launch, writing and submitting articles, strategies to make your business grow, search engine placement, keytags. I have a 6 google ranking without spending a cent. for information.


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