Hosting a Small Trade Show Can Boost Your Business

Article excerpt

Looking for a new marketing strategy to generate interest and sales in your product? Try hosting your own trade show or seminar. It's not such a farfetched idea. Artists have been hosting openings and showings to generate sales for their works, while hair-care shows, such as those hosted by Bronner Brothers (No.72 on the BE 100s), have brought in thousands of people, generated sales and contributed to the company's bottom line. According to Trade Show Week, an industry magazine, more than 4,000 trade shows are held annually in the U.S. and Canada. Convention industry sources credit trade shows as among the top three sales and marketing approaches used by companies.

Many African-American exhibitors opt to participate in existing shows such as Black Expo or attend national meetings and conventions. But if you have a very specific product or service to sell, general consumer exhibitions may not reach your target audience, and industry trade shows may be too large. By hosting your own show, you can reach your target audience more effectively. Here are a few basics to help you get started:

* Determine your objective in hosting a small exhibit. Do you simply want to introduce and educate Potential clients about your product or service? Are you looking for sales leads or aiming to get orders? Quantify Your goals - how many leads or orders - and make st.ire they are realistic (Is this die first time you've exhibited your goods? Is there a limited audience for this product?).

* Set a budget for the exhibit. Determine how much you can afford to spend on space rental, set-up costs, exhibit design and production, transportation including exhibit transportation), marketing and promotional materials and refreshments, using the number of projected leads or orders You expect to obtain. Industry sources suggest adding up all anticipated costs and dividing by the number of projected leads or sales, to get an estimate of the return on our investment.

* Choose a neutral venue to host your exhibit - a hotel meeting room, a restaurant banquet room or small room in a convention center. …