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How to prepare your first participation to a professional fair

For young companies, attending professional fairs is a major step of their development and becoming an exhibitor presents several advantages for your marketing strategy. This article gives five benefits of getting your own booth, then details actions to take before, during and after the fair to take out the most of any professional show.

5 reasons to attend a professional event

1. Gain visibility

The first reason to attend a professional show is to be seen (and remembered afterwards). As an exhibitor, you have the advantage over simple visitors since can arrange your booth as you wish, display your logo, brand name or present your products or services, give away goodies. The goal is to attract as many people as you can, and thus multiply the opportunities to meet potential customers or partners. Professional fairs usually also have a list of all exhibitors on their website or on flyers given to visitors. They also more and more often organise pitch competitions, where you can present your company to a larger audience and even get cash prizes if you win.

2. Expand your network

By concentrating hundreds of companies coming from many places in a common space for a limited period of time, professional shows provide plenty of opportunities to meet new people, may they be new clients, competitors, suppliers, investors, future collaborators, etc. Try to get infos on the activities organized, as many fairs organise “professional speed-dating” events, seminars or job fairs on site, which can be useful if you are looking for a particular type of people for your company (investors, partners, collaborators for instance).

3. Make demos

A professional fair is a great opportunity to present your latest products and showcase their functionalities. Demonstrations are a good way to see how customers react to the product and to get clues on how to improve customers’ experience. If you can, also try to participate to innovation contests, since they are usually covered by media, which may also enhance your visibility.

4. Observe markets trends

Trade shows usually gather companies from the same industry, which means you will get to see what you competitors have to offer. Moreover, most professional fairs include conferences and seminars with experts where you can learn about the industry latest developments and future evolution.

5. Increase profits

Networking, demos, contests, conferences… All of these activities should bring you new customers or open new markets to your products or services, even some that you might have not consider before. Do not forget that your participation should have a return on investment, so try to get as much sales as possible.

You are convinced now to go to the next professional show of your industry ? First, get some advice on how to prepare it.

3 steps to make your participation a success

Prepare your participation

First, you need to clarify the reasons why you are going to a fair. Presenting a new product will require a different strategy and budget from improving your visibility or observing market trends.

Once you know your objectives, you need to choose an event. Depending on what you are looking for, you will need a particular type of professional show, so pay attention to their specificities : theme, place, duration, activities, price of a booth, exhibitors, number of visitors, etc. You are lost? If you do not know where to start, go on Bestrade and use the filters to select the most relevant events for you.

You know where and when to go? Great! Now, you have to prepare your communication : posters, business cards, goodies, flyers… All of these elements will increase your visibility during the fair and give visitors a way to remember you after the show. Also, do not forget to plan in your budget all the expenses related to the trip: number of collaborators, hotel, transportation, parking fees, etc.

The last step is to communicate on social networks about your presence at the event. If you use the event’s elements of communication (hashtags for instance), people may notice you and decide to have a look on your booth.

Animating your booth

During the event, make your booth as attractive as possible: make demos, organize games to interact with the public, give away goodies, distribute flyers, etc. Make the show so that people remember you afterwards.

Yet, you should not just stay on your booth. Depending on your objectives, you should also participate to conferences or contests, and talk to others exhibitors, as they may be potential clients or partners. In addition, doing a tour of the fair will give you a look on what your competitors are doing. The key here is to make as many contacts as possible, even if they do not seem related to you at the first glance. After all, you will not often have the opportunity to meet so many people in such a short period of time.

Staying in touch

The first thing to do after the end of the fair, is to reach out to the contacts you made, as they may not remember you if you wait too long (just like you, they met a lot of people in a few days).

After, you should meet with your team to draw up the conclusions of your trip: did you fulfill your objectives? What could be improved for your next participation? What is your return on investment? Was this event fitted to your goals or should you try a different type of fair? These questions (among others) should help you define how this participation helped the growth of your company and the things you should do differently for future professional fairs.

You want to participate to an event but you still do not know how to choose one? Don’t worry! Our next article will describe the professional fairs’ characteristics to take into account to design your strategy.

In the meantime, you can visit to find, compare and review professional events you attended!