I am getting ready to do my first Expo/Trade Show in 5 years. Having a fledgling internet business it is imperative I get my self out there beyond the virtual click. I have chosen to participate in the Ultimate Women’s Expos in Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Dallas. I will have to travel for these and this is a whole big ball of yarn I get to unravel.
Have you ever done a Trade or Craft show? It is amazing the amount of energy and time that goes into it. Then you get to stand for a day or two . . . all day and smile . . . all day. I really like it because it does allow me to get out there and talk to people. I used to hand paint purses and the best way to sell those was to be seen first hand. As I mentioned, I am now online and I want to increase awareness of my brand. Also, I have met some incredibly fun and interesting people doing events. Everyone has a story and I am a great listener.
I have written out my task list for this next Expo in Houston. I have my plane/hotel reservations. I have ordered the extra electrical and furniture for my booth. I have enough business cards ( A MUST). This week I am making the display pieces that will fit into a suitcase. I have drawn out my booth design and I am excited!
Having done these before here are some things I have learned about how to best set up your booth.
1. Signage – you need it. The easier it is to read the better. Also, keep it simple because your customers are “skimmers.” They will be looking for quick info.
2. I have found the best set up is a U shape (if you have a square booth) because this allows your visitor to enter and exit in a nice flow.
3. De clutter the floor – when merchandise is on the floor it gets dirty (really dirty), it is a hazard for the feet, and it can be visually distracting.
4. Food – try not to eat in your booth. I know when I am walking into a space I do not want to smell the Hoagie you are eating or see it splayed amongst the displays. If you know you cannot get a break to eat outside bring small snacks of a bite to two in size for quick fixes throughout the day.
5. Price – make sure the tags are legible and don’t make your customer ask because more often than not they won’t. These people have been walking around and there is a lot to see and a lot of opportunities to buy.
6. Lighting – you need it if you are inside whether it is a string of christmas lights or regular table lamps. Especially if you sell jewelry – there are a lot of jewelers out there so you want to make yours as appeasing as possible.
7. Display pieces – try to create a unique display piece. For example, when I sold handbags I had two 6 foot ladders that I painted a glossy black. My brightly colored purses “popped” on these.
8. Dress nicely – leave the sweatpants and uggs at home. I believe dressing appropriately shows you have respect for your customer and for your brand.
The MOST important thing I have learned is that the event your participate in is actually longer than the hours posted. You are creating future sales, future events, future customers by interacting with the visitors. Take advantage of a newsletter sign up list, discount for attending list etc. Make the event work for you down the line.
If you have never done a show I found this article has some great tips too.