If Business Expos Are Happening Again, Make the Most of Them!
Safely, of course!
After more than a year of canceled events, we have lately seen business expos scheduled again. Unfortunately, these great opportunities are often squandered by folks on both sides of the booth. Here’s what we mean:
Increase target audience
Why should an exhibitor pay for a booth to talk to the same people they see at every other networking event? What they are really seeking is the opportunity to get in front of new customers and that means marketing to people outside of their usual contacts.
The business section of the local newspaper or online news outlet may carry a brief mention of an expo, but the target market for many exhibitors is usually not fellow business owners. Sure, business owners have lawns, need chiropractic care and have bank accounts, but they are such a small subset of their customer base, doesn’t it make sense to invite more than just the business community to attend?
Market more widely
So if folks other than the usual business community do somehow hear about an upcoming expo, they will usually go to the expo website to get details about admission fees or parking. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, all they will find is “Exhibitor Information” such as how much a booth costs and whether there is electricity available.
Of course the website should have exhibitor information, but that information should be secondary to highlights on why the day is going to be awesome for both exhibitors AND attendees. The website should use attractive graphics and content to get visitors excited about attending this event. Instead, by featuring only exhibitor information, expo web pages tend to imply that only a select group – the booth buyers – are actually welcome.
Boost marketing partnerships
But it’s not all the expo host’s responsibility. Exhibitors should also prepare their own press releases to promote their participation. Publicity content should be spread far and wide on social media, in newsletters, and on their own websites during the weeks leading up to the event. That’s Marketing 101 stuff, but businesses focus on designing the booth and ordering tchotchkes and often forget pre-event promotion.
Some publicity suggestions include inviting your current customers. Promoting a contest. Reminding folks to stop by your booth while checking out all the other exciting exhibits. It only makes sense to give people a reason to attend.
Raise visitor responsibilities
When you are an attendee, consider what you hope to accomplish. Are you really just there for the free pens? Don’t be afraid to smile back and chat as you view the booths. If the salesperson comes on too strong, you can always excuse yourself, but if you are here to find folks who need your services or with whom you can collaborate, you’ll want to connect with nearly everybody!
Keep in mind that checking out the expos in neighboring towns can be a great way to expand your network, so grab your business cards and breath mints and show them how expo attendance is done!
We try to check out the business expos in our area, but if don’t run into you at one of these events, we’re happy to network virtually, too. Just give us a call!
Here are some upcoming business expos near our offices in Illinois and in California. With COVID recommendations changing frequently, we suggest you double-check before attending.
While not strictly a business expo, the two events below are great for businesses looking to improve their online capabilities.
- WordCamp is hosting a virtual convention for learning all things WordPress on October 1, 2021.
- And the next DNN Summit for learning all things DNN will be a hybrid convention February 9-10, 2022.
Photo by OpenClipart
This article is an update to “What’s the Point of Business Expos?” dated 3/17/2014.