Trade Show Exhibitions 101

Thank you, Paulette Morris, for your contribution to our blog and your knowledge of “Trade Shows.”

Trade Show exhibiting is a great way for businesses and organizations to showcase products and services. Planning and setting realistic goals is the key to a successful event. Here is a collection of useful tips for working your next Trade Show.

Trade Show booth

Get the Facts before the Show

Who might attend? How many visitors are expected, do they reside in your service area? Be aware of the dates, hours and the cost. Most shows will provide a table, tablecloth (curtain for booths) and a small sign with your business name. The 3 main categories of the show include: 1) booth: an example would be an   8 x 10 space, although a corner booth can provide added exposure for just a bit more; 2) tabletop (table only) and 3) small group space to include client’s office, your office, rental space or a meeting room. If you plan on selling your products, please check with management ahead of time for rules. Perhaps your goal is to make good connections and follow up after the trade show. TIP – Please do not let “no selling” discourage you. Trade shows offer a great opportunity for new prospects and connections that open doors for future business.

Planning and Setting Goals

What do you wish to accomplish? Are you prospecting for new clients, showcasing new products and services or both?

Theme…Is it Necessary

If the show has a theme…DO PARTICIPATE! Holiday or seasonal themes are great or you can choose a theme that relates to your business. TIP – Please do not let the theme overpower your message or image.

Pre-Show Advertising

Make the most of your Trade Show investment by getting the word out. Use mail, email, social media, or your blog, etc. Invite fellow exhibitors; (If possible, obtain a list from show management.) Advertise in the newspaper, membership organizations, and networking groups. TIP - Advertise your show date on outgoing mail & emails.

Create an Inviting and Informative Booth or Space

Choose the literature and/or imprinted products you wish to hand out to visitors. Help visitors and prospects to remember you by having your business or organization name on everything you hand out at the show. Your table display should give someone a quick snap shot of your products and/or services when they are standing in front of your booth. Door Prize Drawings and/or Games can create excitement and increase traffic to your booth. TIP - Use the back of door prize slips to take notes, wants & needs of prospects for easy follow up after the show.

Greet each visitor with a smile!

Meet and Greet a Variety of Visitors

Position your table and materials for visitors in various areas of your space to accommodate multiple types of visitors and at the same time preventing traffic jams in your booth. (Some may want to just pick up info quickly & others may linger longer.) TIP – position the “Door Prize” drawing on one side of your table and handouts on the other side. Chat with visitors while they are filling out the form. Don’t forget to bring your tools; pens, small clipboard/or writing surface, business cards, calculator, planner, emergency kit for making quick repairs to your display, if needed. Wear a name tag.

Games and prizes

Trade Show Etiquette and Networking Essentials

Please mind your manners…booth displays or games should never be disruptive to neighboring exhibitors. Be sure to greet everyone who steps into your space. TIP - If you are already chatting with another prospect when a new person steps up to your booth, a quick hello and smile will make them feel welcome to browse.

Please visit other booths, but be ready to “clear out” when they have visitors. Eat lunch away from your table (a drink is good to maintain your voice). If you do not have additional staffing, consider the buddy system with a neighboring exhibitor who may also need a break. Prepare an “Exhibitor Packet” to hand out to your fellow associates.

Respect the show “Break-Down” schedule. Leaving early may be disruptive to other exhibitors. Please check with your show coordinator regarding rules for early departure.

After the Show

Follow up…mail, email, telephone, face-to-face…DO IT!!! TIP: Don’t forget to include fellow exhibitors if they would be good prospects. 

 Evaluate

Set several dates for tracking show success: 2 weeks, 2 months, etc… Determine how much business was gained by the show. Were your expectations met? Make notes while your memory is fresh for the “next time”.

Trade show exhibiting is hard work, but with proper planning and organization, it will be well worth the effort. Wear comfortable shoes (after all, it is a work day). Wear your Best Smile and enjoy the show!

Idea Weaver

Idea Weaver Promotions, Inc.                                                                   410.360.8882                                                                                                                    www.ideaweaver.com

Let’s Support One Another in Business!

Are you aware that there are 100 + categories listed under the PBA directory? http://www.pasadenabusinessassociation.com/directory/category-listings.php

Is there something in particular that you would prefer to share with PBA members and the local community to help us learn more about your business? Would you like to write something highlighting essential information about your profession that other PBA members and the public would find helpful or encouraging? Maybe something that hasn’t been published on the PBA website or mentioned at a meeting?

This is your opportunity. We would like to promote your business and why not start by saying it in your own words.

As PBA members, one common bond we share is connecting too and working within our community. Why not share our expertise and knowledge about our specific occupations?

I would like to encourage you to take a few moments, think about the influence your work has had on you, your employees and or family, and let us know something we didn’t before.

We look forward to reading your words and hope that we can share them in an upcoming blog. Please submit your information to me for preview, susan@virtualeyours.biz. You may surprise yourself once you put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper and write something to share about your business and best practices.

Make it a great day!

A Welcome Season is Approaching

Spring will be arriving soon, something that makes me happy. Along with cleaning out the closets, setting up gardens and maybe painting a room, have you considered updating your business pages?

Do you have a Web Site, LinkedIn account or Facebook business page that could use a spring cleaning? The saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

The attached link, “Your Web Site: Your 24-Hour Storefront” explains just how important your Web Site is, especially in these tough economic times.

If you have an opportunity, please check out the PBA’s directory to find members that have the knowledge and expertise to help you with your web needs.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Christmas Traditions Anyone?

This year will be my sixth year at “Midnight Madness” in St. Michael’s. If you or someone you know is a Scrooge, this will get them out of their Ho, Ho, Ho mood. All of the shops offer discounts; many offer baked goods, hot chocolate, hot mulled wine and cider, or beer and wine. Who can be unhappy with those offerings? Santa goes around town singing Christmas carols with everyone. Then, at midnight, they raffle off (8) prizes, which consist of huge gift baskets containing items from various shops as well as $1500.00 gift certificates. It’s a win-win weekend? We stay on Tilghman with friends, but there are several B & B’s as well as marinas where you can stay overnight.

I have movies that are a must see; Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, It’s A Wonderful Life, Little Shop Around the Corner and Polar Express, to name a few.

I rebelled last year and didn’t put up the tree for the first time in over thirty years. You see, my daughter, Meg, moved to North Carolina. I thought, if my grandsons, Hunter and Logan, wouldn’t be here to enjoy the tree, why be bothered. Well, I realized the importance that putting up my TREE was to ME and how it makes me feel. I listen to Christmas music, wear my Santa cap and get sentimental taking each ornament out of its tissue paper. I carefully place each decoration, stepping back to survey the tree as it takes shape, and smile at the memories before my eyes.

I miss loved ones who are no longer here to share this season with me, but am ever grateful for my family and friends. Merry Christmas Paul and Katie; you’re always here in spirit.

So, in honoring another tradition, why not join us at the PBA Christmas tree lighting ceremony on December 4th at 7:00pm? This is the third year for the lighting and we hope to see you at Lake Shore Plaza, next to Arundel Federal Savings Bank for the fun and festivities. Please consider the donation of a gift or cash which will be used to support “A Child’s Christmas.”

Merry Christmas to all of the PBA members and their families and thank you so much, Sandi and Lisa!

A Parade is Coming!

Finally, after a scorcher of a summer, Fall is definitely here. Fields are full of children playing soccer and football, mums and pumpkins assemble everywhere, and Thanksgiving sits closely on the time line. PBA businesses and community groups are preparing for the big Thanksgiving Caring and Sharing Parade on Sunday, November 4, 2:00 pm step-off, when dozens of floats and vehicles wind their way from Tick Neck Park on Edwin Raynor Boulevard, turning right on Mountain Road, then right on East Shore Road, left on 218th Street and left onto Outing Avenue, ending at George Fox Middle School.

It’s an exciting time for the children lining the streets sitting in front of adults who claim their viewing spots early in the day. The many vehicles, fire trucks, antique cars and sports cars are mirror-shiny, and the floats filled with friends and neighbors represent many hours of work to spread the message of the business or organization.

But the real purpose of the Parade is helping those in need in Pasadena: Each year literally tons of food is distributed to local food pantries. Amazingly generous Pasadena residents bring food to the collection bins of PBA businesses, or bring bags of groceries to the Parade, or buy the discount certificates offered at Lauer’s Supermarket and Bakery.

In 1996, Tom Redmond, a past PBA president, organized the Parade and it has become an exciting time for everyone. Come out and enjoy the fun and, if you can, contribute to the pantries which all distribute only to Pasadena residents needing a helping hand during the holidays and all-year round.

Susan Rouse tells in her blog how she became involved in this remarkable event – you may find as much joy as she does if you follow her lead. If you collect food for the Parade at your company or organization, let us know and we’ll publish your story here.

Everyone Loves a Parade

For the past four years, I have been collecting canned goods and food in my office at Anne Arundel Community College. What prompted the collection was a man who works at the college, Mike. He has worked for the facilities department for more than twenty five years, and asked me to get the word out to my tutors and instructors. Mike enthusiastically talked about the parade near Tick Neck Park starting on Ft. Smallwood Road and proceeding down to Mountain Road.

At the time, I wasn’t aware that the parade and food collection was an annual event sponsored by the PBA. My concern was that families in need be taken care of and we were happy to help.

Three weeks ago, I posted my annual appeal to those same tutors and instructors; and each year, they are more generous than the past. I don’t stop with one message either; if I haven’t heard from a tutor or instructor or haven’t received a donation, I will call them. There is no end to my persistence when it comes to helping the community.

The theme of this year’s parade is “PASADENA THANKSGIVING PARADE: A CARING & SHARING HARVEST.” Check out the History of Parade’s to see the background behind some of the world’s oldest parades.

So set the DVR, watch your football team a little later and get out with your family and friends to support this wonderful tradition. The parade takes place on Sunday, November 4th at 2:00pm Pasadena Parade. This is after-all, a social event and we would love to see as many of you as possible. Oh, and please don’t forget to bring a canned good!

17th Annual Pasadena Thanksgiving Parade -- Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 2:00 PM.

Connecting to Your Community

Hi! My name is Susan Rous and I’m happy to introduce you to the Pasadena Business Association’s blog.

I joined the PBA this year. I am constantly reminded of the generosity of people who have a common bond and vision; ensuring that the community and businesses of Pasadena and surrounding neighborhoods thrive and continue to grow.

One of my class assignments last spring was to write a weekly blog. At the time, I actually chose to write about the positive effects of the Pasadena Business Association. “Throughout our lives, we encounter people from all walks of life. If you want to help make a difference, and improve the quality of life that exists in your neighborhood, why not look to your local business association; you’ll be surprised at the difference even one person can make.”

So, why not come out and join us for a happy hour mixer on October 16th? You can connect with members of the Pasadena Business Association, as well as members of the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce, and Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. The mixer is open to everyone; please complete the online registration form at the main PBA website. Please come up and introduce yourself; I look forward to meeting you!

I want to thank you, Rob Emenecker, of Hairy Dog Digital web services for getting this blog on track.