Hosting a trade show is no easy feat, especially if you’ve never had the need to be the person in charge. Maybe there’s never been a trade show in your area and all your business peers have traveled hundreds of miles to see what’s new in your industry. This year you are going to put yourself out there and host one in your neck of the woods, albeit smaller than the ones you are used to, but a trade show, nonetheless. So, how do you go about it when you haven’t the slightest clue where to start? Here are some tips that should get you working in the right direction. The rest is up to you!
1. Book Your Venue
While you might not know just yet how many exhibits will be there, you can probably get a fairly good idea of how much space you think you’ll need. You’ll need to consider such things as amenities so that you know whether or not to book an indoor venue or perhaps you can host your trade show at the local fairground. For large equipment such as tractors and vehicles, this would be ideal. However, for smaller electronics and clothing or housewares, an indoor arena may be your best bet. Jot down how many vendors you intend to invite and add to that the number you feel might attend based on advertising, and you’ll get an idea of size and location.
2. Marketing 101
While you can network locally with all your B2B contacts, those would probably be attendees. They may want to set up an exhibit but some may just wish to see what’s new in the field. Even so, that’s small-scale advertising. You’ll want to place an ad in all the industry magazines and those related to your industry in any way. Don’t forget that you can gather the largest audience the fastest online, so do enlist the help of an online marketing crew. Start advertising as early as possible from the moment you have your venue and some of your largest vendors solidified.
3. Entertainment Is a Must
Of course, attendees are going to be there for the vendors, another huge attraction will be the entertainment you provide. One suggestion for anything related to sports or kids would be activities that take a bit of involvement. There are a number of trade show games you can rent such as inflatable obstacle courses and ball crawls, as well as water slides and other fun things that will keep the kids delighted so that mom and/or dad can focus on the exhibits. Just make sure to post that kids under a certain age are not to be left unattended. You might even find your adult attendees trying to tackle the hurdles for a bit of fun. Just watch and see!
Obviously, you know that you need to get your numbers together and figure out ways to pay for the event so carefully calculate the amount you will charge for attendance. If you get some early interest you can gauge your budget based on expected numbers, and with any amount of luck at all, you will hit pretty close to the mark. If you have an excess left over you can set it aside for next year’s event, donate it to charity or reap the profits for a job well done. In any event, good luck and my your first-ever trade show be a huge success.
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Founder Dinis Guarda
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