Top Marketing Tips for Expos & Trade Shows

Top Marketing Tips for Expos & Trade Shows

The Kate Show | Episode 7

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I attended a build, remodel and landscape show here in Wisconsin. Aside from being a huge production, the show was also full of dynamic booths--some really amazing ones and some really awful ones. We ended up spending five hours at the show (thanks to good beer and good friends), and I picked up some alarming do's and don'ts about expo and trade show marketing along the way.

The Truth About Home Industry Expos & Trade Shows

Ladies, you are exhausted within three hours of standing at your booth. I've been there, and it can be stressful. You don't want to come across pushy or salesy, but you do have a quota to meet just so you can break even on the expense for this event.

Gentlemen, you are bored out of your minds. The beer cart keeps calling your name and you really just want to sit down with a cold one. You are annoyed by the booth next to you. They're loud and unfocused. 

Business owners, you understand the value of showing up and investing in expos or trade shows. But how can you make sure you're doing things that will help your bottom line?

Prestigious expos get your name out there, but you get to decide what your name *means* to consumers.
— The Kate Show

My Top Marketing Tips for Expos  & Trade Shows

Getting a booth at events hosted by IWCE, NARI, the NKBA, or even the WCAA can be expensive but also a worthwhile investment if you know what you're doing. Hauling your booth and team across the state or across the country incurs travel, hotel, and meal expenses. Setting up your booth is exhausting, expensive work too. You're putting a lot of work into any show you attend as vendor, so you'd better have a plan for how to make it a successful one.

The most critical (and also most difficult) piece of the expo puzzle is actually working the show and knowing how to show up in a way that sends the right message. In light of that, here are a few things to avoid:

  • Stay away from brand collateral that will end up in the garbage (magnets, tote bags, pens, etc.)

  • Don't offer your business card to every person who stops at your booth.

  • Don't launch a sales pitch anytime you're asked about what you do.

  • Don't run around collecting business cards from other professionals as a way to grow your mailing list. That's actually illegal. US Anti-Spam Laws lay down some heavy fines for spamming people.

Want more tips? Listen to the podcast episode now:

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

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