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Welcome to the May issue of "Marketing Matters," a free monthly e-newsletter with tips and ideas for marketing your business. In this issue, we will discuss the importance of participating in trade shows, how to prepare your booth, and what to do to attract more customers.
 Attending a Trade Show:
 Tricks of the Trade

Trade show season is approaching quickly in the Fauquier/ Prince William area. The Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its Business and Home Expo on September 12, and the Prince William Chamber is hosting its "Connections" trade show on October 25. In the spirit of this exciting and sometimes hectic time, Brand Design is providing some facts and tips to help your business show better. Over 110 million people attend trade shows in the US and Canada every year, so these are surely opportunities you won't want to miss. [1]


Why attend a trade show? 
Little by little, the economy is recovering, which makes this year a great year to get out there and market your firm. As the purchasing power of potential customers increases, you want to make sure your business is the one they will be purchasing goods and/or services from. Having a booth at a trade show or business expo is a valuable opportunity because it allows you to.... 
  • promote your business     
  • talk to potential clients face to face   
  • explain to those clients the strengths of your business
  • develop name recognition for you and your company  
  • network and build contact lists 
  • promote new and established products  
  • scope out the competition 

  

Some interesting statistics  
Taking advantage of these opportunities in person is more effective and less expensive than through traditional sales calls - between 22 and 38 percent less. [2][3] The effectiveness of trade shows is highlighted by these statistics published by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research and by MerchantCircle:
  • Seven out of ten trade show attendees plan to buy one or more products. [2]     
  • 87% of attendees will share some of the information obtained at an exhibition. [2]   
  • 64% of attendees will tell at least six other people about the event. [2]
  • 81% of attendees say that trade shows help them become aware of new products and services. [3]   
Also, 91 percent of trade show attendees have said that the ability to compare competing businesses to each other in real time significantly impacts their buying decisions [3]. This statistic emphasizes the necessity of being well prepared to make a good presentation at the trade show.

 
How to Prepare  
Proper planning is key to having a successful experience at a trade show. Below are seven elements of the planning process that you should be sure to give attention to before the show.

1. Staff: Determine who will staff your booth, and ensure that those people are knowledgable about your company and its products.

2. Attract: Generating traffic at your booth is important if you want to get the word out about your company, so develop incentives to attract people to your exhibit, such as special promotions, giveaways, or product demonstrations.

3. Design: Decide if you want a pop-up, table top, or custom booth for the show, and either design it yourself or purchase it in advance. Note that the more unique your trade show exhibit is, the more viewers it will attract, which will bring more business to your company. The booth with a few fliers taped to a white poster board will probably get less traffic than the spectacular, visually appealing booth.

4. Name-drop: Make sure to feature your company's name somewhere prominent in your display. The reason you are attending the trade show is to promote yourself and your company, so don't hide who you are! Also, consider developing a logo if you do not already have one.

5. Print: Acquire the printed marketing materials you will need, such as signage, business cards, brochures, product samples/portfolio, etc.

6. Update: Ensure that your website is up-to-date so attendees can find more information about your company later if they are interested in purchasing a product or service.

7. Contact: Send out email blasts, publish a social media post, and if your budget allows, distribute a postcard mailing, all inviting customers and potential customers to your booth with an incentive.  

 

What to do at the show 
The way you portray yourself and your company at the trade show is possibly even more important than the planning stage; the most expensive, high-tech display can become worthless if the people at your booth do not interact well with the attendees and other exhibitors at the show. So don't be shy, greet everyone with a smile, and be courteous, helpful, and attentive to visitors at your booth. You should also have a simple way to collect information from those visitors (a fishbowl they can drop their business cards into for a chance to win a prize is a great way to build a database).

A few notes on how to set up your booth: 
Don't block the entrance with tables or large signs - you don't want to prevent traffic from flowing into your space.  

 

Place your printed materials and any give-away items at the back of the booth - people who are interested will have to come inside to access them, allowing you a longer period of time for interaction.  

Finally, be sure to follow up with all leads and contacts after the show! Make your investment in attending the trade show worth it by bringing in new business.


In Conclusion 
The Fauquier Business Expo and Prince William's "Connections" are two great local trade show possibilities; however, over 4,000 trade shows take place in the US and Canada every year, so you are sure to find one that fits your business' needs. [1] No matter which trade show you choose to attend, Brand Design can help you prepare for it. From designing company logos, websites and beautiful booths, to printing business cards and brochures, Brand Design can provide whatever marketing materials you need to enhance your trade show experience. Contact us at 540-341-0200 to get started, because especially at a trade show, Marketing Matters.

Footnotes 
1. http://allbusiness.sfgate.com/marketing/events-tradeshows/897-1.html 
2. http://www.skyline.com/Trade-Show-Tips/2002j/ 
3. http://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/Trade.Show.Models.585-672-5468/2008/7/Trade-Show-Statistics-Benefits-of-Attending-Trade-Shows/97222 

 

 The Fauquier Business
 & Home Expo 

Wednesday, September 12
4-7 p.m.

Cost: free to the public
$275 for exhibitors

Last year:
300 attendees, 40 exhibitors

Goals for this year:
500 attendees, 40+ exhibitors

Fauquier Chamber Expo Photo
Cold War Museum, exhibitors at The Fauquier Business & Home Expo, 2010

 From The Chamber

"[The Business Expo is] a great way to get your name and face out there. The public is coming to this event, as well as businesses, and it's a great time of year to get out there and be in front of everyone."
- Dawn Wotton
  Expo Committee Member

"We have moved this to an evening event, which allows for more Chamber members and general public to attend. Where, for $275, [exhibitors] would have the opportunity to have exposure to 500 people in 3 hours."
- Joe Martin
  President
  The Fauquier Chamber

 About Brand Design

Brand Design is a local advertising agency specializing in a variety of creative services including printing and mailing, web design, branding, logo and corporate identity, trade shows, promotions, advertising, direct mail, radio, TV and PR.

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