Trade Shows and Small Business— A Perfect Partnership

people customers in a store

Do you want to grow your business, but feel constrained by a small budget?

Would you like to find a way to reach out to new contacts and service providers that can help you reach that goal of growing your business?

Then you should seriously consider the trade show as a means to that end.

The audience at the trade show has one great advantage over the ones you get with blind cold calls or walk-ins from the street—they’ve been pre-selected.

They are already in the market for a service or product like yours or they wouldn’t be there.

Still, before you pack your bags and display banners and head off to the next show, there are some real concerns to address.

people customers in a store

For one thing, trade shows aren’t cheap.

Let’s take a look at some of the considerations small businesses need to consider about trade shows before signing on the dotted line.


Do a Realistic Cost/Benefit ROI Estimate

Trade shows are expensive and you must calculate before you go to one if it is going to be a worthwhile investment for your company.

This means evaluating it on a return of investment (ROI) basis, taking in mind the fees associated with booths and tables, display material costs, marketing literature, promotional items and door prizes, and staffing

Run these numbers against what you stand to gain from the experience.

Talk to others who have gone to the show, its organizers, and anybody else who could provide useful input.

Also, keep in mind part of what you are paying for is to walk around the show, network, and see what the competition is up to.

It’s hard to put a price on all that, but you have to be realistic about your goals and what the show can do for you.

trade show from above


Put It All Together

At the end of the day, you have to make a calculated decision about what you can get —or not get—out of the show.

If you decide to attend, do your homework.

Know who is attending, prepare your staff thoroughly, and prepare some method for collecting contacts.

This can be done with games like prize wheels, or it can be done with electronic harvesting tools such as badge scanners.

It can be both. Make the most of your trade show experience and don’t discount media tie-ins.

If you donate something to a local charity and can get air time on local TV to coincide with the show, why not?

Yes, trade shows can be expensive, but they can also be an invaluable tool for small businesses if they are used intelligently and with some good pre-planning and realistic ROI evaluation.

Get out to those shows and grow your business.

You can always find an excellent selection of trade show materials, all at great prices, simply by visiting The Display Outlet.

1 thought on “Trade Shows and Small Business— A Perfect Partnership

  1. Great advice. It seems in the online world we have the ability to track every little metric. However, with traditional marketing we concern ourselves with brand awareness and overlook some of these simple cost/benefit analysis.

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