Events have become a big part of the social space. Whether your business is just starting or has been around for a while, showcasing your products or services at a vendor event can help bring in new customers. In the past I have both hosted and participated in events that allowed vendors to showcase their services. However, planning for such an event can be quite a task. But, it is worth it. Events full of entrepreneurs give us a chance to network, make new friends, get new customers, and discover new talents and companies.
Participating in Trade Shows
Depending on your business, you may want to participate in a trade show. Trade shows are usually industry specific. Shows like CES, Chicago Toy & Game Fair, and the Housewares Show are some that I have attended. Getting involved in trade shows is an excellent way to market and promote your business to large numbers of customers at one time. Trade shows are held regularly throughout the country and allow businesses to showcase or demonstrate its products or services to potential customers and other businesses. New businesses use trade shows to test the market to see how their products or services will be received. Trade shows also provide new and veteran business owners the opportunity to build a customer database from those who visit their display booth. And participating opens the door for business operators to trade with other businesses. For example, each year at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) there are rows and rows of booths from smaller vendors hoping to get their tech products and accessories noticed by consumers and large stores.
Participating in Local Vendor Events
There are many events that allow vendors to rent a booth to showcase their services for a fee. Here in Chicago some of these events include the Taste of Chicago, Black Women's Expo, and many private events hosted by entrepreneurs. The event that you choose to participate in will of course depend on your type of business. You can take a look at a sites like FestivalNet.com, ChicagoEvents.com, or even find tons of Facebook groups that discuss vendor events for your area.
Create Your Own Event
I bet we all know plenty of people that offer goods or services these days. There are plenty of hustlers! Consider partnering with some friends to host a themed vendor event. This could surround pampering, business, technology, or more. Once you have a date, and you and your friends have secured a spot, open up registrations to other business owners to join you. Of course you will need a venue. Consider working out a deal with the vendor owner to include them in all advertising for the event in exchange for a discount. They can even man a booth themselves to introduce attendees to their venue.
Using Technology to Effectively Market Your Product or Services
Since there will most likely be large crowds and many displays at the trade show, some of which may be your competitors, you need to make your display stand out so people can clearly see your products or services. Let technology do the work for you. Use computers, laptops, tablets and projector screens to showcase your business, especially if you’re marketing software or other computer-related products. By utilizing technology, you can allow people to come to your display and get a feel of your product. Not everyone is blessed to have extra computers laying around. If you’re attending a large trade show, or if you don't have the right equipment on hand, you might consider finding a company that offers computer rentals. Rentals can be reasonable and allow you to setup a standout display. Some ideas include using a projector to show a product reel, allowing booth visitors to sign up for your mailing list using a tablet, or giving quick demos or lessons of your software on a rented laptop.
When I man my photography booth at events I use a secondary monitor to show photos from the night on a slideshow. This allows guests to see their photos instantly, which gets them excited about buying prints from my booth.