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5 Tips to Prepare Your Business for a Trade Show

Exhibiting at a trade show can be a great way to expose your business to a larger audience. If you’re thinking of signing your company up to attend an upcoming event, this can be an effective strategy to gain new clients you wouldn’t typically have the opportunity to meet.

Before choosing the event where you’d like to be an exhibitor, consider what you’d like to get out of trade show participation. If you’d like to focus on gaining new customers, avoid choosing an event where too many potential competitors are exhibiting.

Price is another important factor to ponder before signing up to attend. Make sure the event registration fees, travel expenses, and time away from your business are worth the expense. You want trade show participation to be an asset to your company, not a financial burden.

Follow these five tips to make your participation in the event a positive experience for your business:

  1. Bring Supplies: You will likely go into the event knowing exactly where your booth will be set up and what materials are provided for you. However, it’s always good to be prepared. Bring items like surge protectors, duct tape, and a tablecloth even if you don’t think they’re necessary. You want to be ready for any last minute changes thrown at you.
  2. Distribute Promotional Items: People love freebies. A great way to get attendees to remember your company is to give them an item with your name and contact information on it. Companies like Just Direct Promotions offer items like pens, notepads, magnets, calendars, and much more. These items are budget-friendly and will continue to market your business long after the trade show is over.
  3. Hold a Contest: This is a fun way to engage visitors to your booth and collect their contact information, in a non-aggressive manner. Prizes should be on the generic side, to appeal to the wide range of people attending the event.
  4. Work the Room: Don’t sit at your both hoping people stop by — get out in the crowd and invite them to your booth. Bring staff along to man your setup, so you can go out and network with attendees, to raise awareness of your company and entice them to come over and see what you have to offer.
  5. Follow Up: After getting contact information from an abundance of potential customers at the trade show, it’s important to follow up. Send new contacts an email a few days after the event, letting them know how much you enjoyed meeting them and reminding them of the services your business offers. Include a link to your website, so they can easily check it out.


It’s a good idea to establish a well-known presence at a trade show. Consider choosing an event you’d be willing to attend for at least three to five years. It may take some attendees a year or two of seeing you at the event to finally get around to doing business with your company. Others may remember you from years past and introduce you to new associates attending for the first time.