5 Things...for your first trade event.

The Trade Event season is officially upon us, if you're preparing for your first event it can be both an exciting and a daunting experience. Here's five simple tips to help make your first event the success you need it to be.

1. Paperwork.

Make sure you have a small forest of leaflets to hand out. At every event we attend, we always stumble across one or two poor exhibitors who have nothing that visitors can take away with them.

With so many businesses vying for visitor attention, you can be sure the moment they move on from your booth you'll be forgotten about; you need to give them a way of remembering you later and leaflets are the easiest way of doing that.

So make sure you have enough leaflets and business cards to shove into the hands of anyone within arms reach!


2. Battery powered lights.

It's hard not to be reminded that Events providers are also businesses; and we often hear stories of providers using a Ryanair business model of charging for all the little extras:

  • You'd like lights? £150 please. 
  • Need an electrical socket? That'll be another £150.
  • Want some air to breathe? Well that's free, for now..

Lighting is something that's often overlooked by first time exhibitors, as it's pretty easy to assume there will be adequate lighting in your booth. The reality is however that without any additional lighting, your booth can look very dull and uninviting compared to your neighbours, whom you can guarantee will be lit up like Vegas on a Saturday night.  

A cheaper alternative to paying additional fees to the event providers for lighting, is to buy several LED lights. There's an endless range of cheap uplights, downlights, lamps, striplights or anything else from the likes of B&Q or Wickes; and being LED's, they won't eat through batteries. You can then also exercise a little creative flare in moving them around your booth to really make it 'pop'.


3. Bring a friend. 

Exhibiting can mean very long days; 10 to 12 hour stretches are common and most of it will be on your feet. If for nothing else, bring an extra person with you to cover breaks. You'll need them.

Aside from providing valuable cover so your stall isn't left unattended, having someone with you can break up the monotony of exhibiting. You're going to be spending long periods of time having the same conversations with visitors at your stall, over and over again. Your helper might just save your sanity.

They can also help you set up and hand out even more of those leaflets we mentioned earlier.


4. Dress your booth.

Visitors have a lot of stalls to look at, so make sure yours catches their eye.

If you've gone for a standard sized booth, usually it will consist of a recessed space with three walls (2 x shallow sides & 1 x long back) and a table of around 6' x 3'. Sizes will vary from event to event but the layout is generally the same unless you specifically ask for something different.

So before you attend your exhibition, practice setting out your booth at home on a large dining table (or someone else's if you don't have one). Make sure you have enough products, leaflets and other items to properly fill your space. You don't want to make it cluttered, but you don't want an empty looking booth either. Also consider your wall space, if you're not using this space to hang your products from, it's great advertising real estate. Get some banners and pictures made up to help really promote your business.


5. Be ready to sell.

It seems obvious, but you need to be ready to sell your products. From our experience, the majority of event visitors want to be able to buy your goods right there and then at the show, with placing orders for an item a distant second. So if you can, make sure you have enough stock to cover what you hope to sell. 

With that in mind, make sure you have a way of taking money from your customers. Loose change will be in short supply so make sure you've visited the bank / post office / piggy bank before you set out. Surprisingly, a lot of visitors will also want to pay by card so you'll need to give this some consideration, there are a lot of options out there and some are more expensive than others.

Product and Clothing Photography

There are of course a great many more things to think about when deciding to exhibit at a trade event; and we'd highly recommend visiting a few before you exhibit yourself as you'll have a better idea of what to expect on the day. 

Exhibiting can be hard, gruelling and monotonous work, but it can also be an incredibly fun and profitable way of exposing your business to a huge number of new customers.

So go forth and set out your stall, hand out your business cards like you're giving out £5 notes and wave your leaflets in people's faces with pride, because you've got something to sell, and it's the best thing since someone filled the hole in donuts with jam.