Have you tried selling your products or services at an event? When deciding to participate at your first business expo, it’s important to research. Who will be there? Families or couples? Will it be an outdoor or indoor event? How big is the space? How will the expo be advertised? On social media, local newspapers or magazines? What will the cost be?
There is a lot to think about before you jump into your first expo. Opportunities to showcase your business are out there but which ones are the right ones for you and your business. Below I’ll be listing some key elements to consider before, during as well as a post-event follow up checklist.
I hope this list will help in planning your first successful business event!
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE THE EXPO:
- When is it being held?
- Where is it being held?
- Who will be attending? Families, couples?
- How will the organizers advertise? In local newspapers, on social media, in flyers?
- Is this a yearly event? If so, does the location change year to year?
- How many months in advance will you have to register for the event? Often times there is a limited number of spots.
- How big is your vendor space? Is it a booth or table? How big is the booth? How long are the tables? Are table coverings offered? How many chairs are available? Can you hang on material on the walls? Is there room for an easel or banner?
- Where will your space be located on the floor plan?
- How much is each space? Location of your booth or table is important.
- Is this a free event for guests or is there an entrance fee? If a fee is charged, will there be an early bird special? What about a VIP pass?
- Will swag bags be offered to the first x amount of guests?
- When will you be able to set up your booth? Can you bring material and leave it there overnight? Is it in a secure environment?
- Will electrical outlets be available?
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT FOR THE DAY OF THE EXPO:
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Prepare your outfit, wear layers and wear comfortable shoes
- How will you advertise for this expo? On your social media pages? Email marketing? Word of mouth advertising at networking events?
- Always stand in front of your booth or table. This will enable you to engage with visitors.
- If you have products or a service to sell, how do you plan on setting up your table?
- Will you be offering a giveaway?
- Will you need an iPad or laptop at your table?
- Business cards are important to have that day
- Are you planning on hanging this up if walls are available?
- If you're a solopreneur, will you have an assistant for the day?
- If you’re offering a promotion of the day, will it be advertised in a flyer? Or will you have a sign at your table with your promotion?
- If you have a newsletter, how do you get people to sign up?
- Which product samples will you be displaying?
- Bring water and snacks for the day
- If you’re a solopreneur and don't have an assistant, make a ‘back in a few minutes' sign to leave your table for bathroom breaks or meals. Or ask your neighbor if they can watch your table. In my experience most people are very kind and will help you.
- How will people purchase your product or service? A Square reader is a good option.
- Bring your chargers for your phone, tablet, laptop etc.
- Bring pens, pencils or sharpie pens for your table
- If you’re offering a raffle, a little easel with the announcement works well
- Make raffle cards for people to enter their name and email or phone number
- Bring a small container for raffle cards entries
- Will you need order forms?
- How are you advertising your prices? Will you be offering a special sale for the day?
- Bring extra tape, sticky tack, scissors
- Raffle at end of event - ask host + picture
- Where will your company sign be displayed? Will you have a sign? Does it need to be in different languages?
- Kleenex and an extension cord are handy
- A little bowl of candy or chocolates are a nice touch
- Bring a cash box and change
- For women, bring an extra pair of flat shoes
Once your event is over you will want to document these points that will help you determine if this event was successful and lessons learned.
- Was it successful or not? Do you plan on participating in other events?
- Did you gain clients? Did you meet potential clients?
- On average, how many people do you think came to your table?
- If you held a raffle, contact the winner to congratulate them and discuss their prize.
- Send a thank you note to new clients
- Process orders and follow up with clients
- If people signed up to your newsletter, thank them and offer them a special
- Display pictures and successes on social media
- Was it profitable?
- Talk to other vendors and find out what worked and didn't work for them
I would love to hear how your first business expo went. Please feel free to share in the comments below.