What’s the Point of Business Expos?
The Sprocket Report
In the Spring a young entrepreneur’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of business expos – but maybe those thoughts shouldn’t be so light. Expos are a great idea for the business community but too often they turn into wasted opportunities for exhibitors, attendees and even the hosts. Why not make the most of the expo season?
The Usual Suspects
Exhibitors don’t want to pay for a booth to talk to the same people they see at every other networking event. What they want is the opportunity to make new contacts and that means marketing to people outside of the usual suspects.
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 not other businesses. Sure, business owners have lawns, need chiropractic care and have bank accounts, but they are such a small subset of the target market, doesn’t it make sense to invite more than just the business community to attend?
The In Crowd
If a member of the general public does hear about an upcoming expo and checks out the website to get details about admission fees or parking, nine times out of ten, all they will find is “Exhibitor Information.”
What they should see is attractive marketing to get website visitors excited about attending this event. Instead, expo webpages make it look like only a select group of booth buyers are actually welcome. Of course there should be exhibitor information, but that is secondary to highlighting why this is going to be an awesome day for both exhibitors and attendees.
It’s not all the expo host’s responsibility. Exhibitors should send out their own press releases and talk about their participation on social media, in newsletters and on their website during the weeks leading up to the event. That’s Marketing 101 stuff but businesses overlook it all the time.
Invite your current customers. Promote a contest. Remind them to stop by your booth while they’re checking out all the other exciting exhibits. Give people a reason to attend.
Play the Game
If you’re an attendee, don’t be afraid to smile back and chat. If they come on too strong, you can always excuse yourself, but by networking with everybody, you may find folks who want your services or with whom you can collaborate.
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 networking is done! If we don’t run into you at one of these events, just give us a call. We’re happy to chat over the phone, too.
Some Upcoming Business Expos:
Conejeo Valley MIXPO Chamber Mega-Mixer & Business Expo
March 26, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce EXPO 2014
March 29, 10:00am – 4:00pm
March 30, 11:00am – 3:00pm
Santa Barbara Business Expo (SBBE)
April 5, 8:00am - 2:00pm
Oswego Business and Consumer Expo
April 12, 9:00am - 2:00pm
Small Business Expo 2014 - Chicago
April 24, 10:00am - 5:00pm
2014 California Business & Community Expo
April 26, 11:00am - 3:00pm
Simi Valley Street Fair
May 11, 9:00am - 5:00pm
This article has been updated on 8/17/2021 with the article entitled “If Business Expos Are Happening Again, Make the Most of Them!”