Promoting Your Small Business: Tips for Vendor Fairs and Trade Shows

KB Electric LLC participated in its first local community day to promote the business this past weekend. There were a lot of things we wish we knew before jumping into it, and thought it best to share some advice for first-time attendees that want to promote their business in local community days, trade shows, and other types of vendor fairs. Because you are a small business owner, you may have a different marketing budget than some of the businesses that attend, such as corporations like big insurance companies and banks, or even daycares with many locations throughout the area. Stay calm when you see a table with 5-10 different promotional products! There are many ways you can achieve your goal of getting your name out there without spending an arm and a leg. Let’s start with some basic tips for community days/vendor fairs/trade shows, and then we will dive into ways to drum up some business in a cost-effective way.


community day

Tips for Vendor Fairs and Trade Shows

  • Know the approximate number of attendees

Reach out to the event coordinator and ask questions! It’s a good idea to ask for the approximate number of people expected on coming to the event so you have more than enough products to hand out.

  • Always have the right gear

Never assume anything is provided for you unless it’s listed on the handouts or online materials for vendors. Show up with your own table, chairs, and table covers (it makes it look nicer!), or other trade show materials to make your area stand out! Never forget a pair of scissors, tape, or maybe even rope/twine if needed. These tools and materials are essential for banners, signs, and anything else that needs to be hung or kept in place.

  • Target the kids!

It’s always a good idea to engage the children at these types of events. Picking promotional products that attract kids, or incorporating some sort of contest or game for the kids will make your business’ table/booth memorable for the family. You want your name to stick out and be ingrained in the heads of everyone at the event, and not JUST by engraving your logo on products. Getting children excited will get the parents excited, and maybe even excited enough to give you business!

  • Incorporate a Visual Aid

No matter what industry you are in, it’s a great idea to have some sort of visual aid for people to look at. This makes your table/booth stand out and get everyone talking about your business. An example KB Electric LLC provided for the community day was a visual of two electrical panels: one was an old panel, and one was new. We provided different words on the board with the two panels to hopefully prompt people to go home and look under the covers of their electrical panels to see if they have any issues that need fixing or replacing.

  • Buy promotional products people will use!

It’s good to buy products that people have a need for. A great example of this is a simple chip clip with your company logo. How many times have you tried clipping a bag of chips to no avail because your clips were all used by other bags of food in your pantry? Find a great, quality product that people will need and use over and over again so that your company name is ingrained in their brains every time they pick it up!


Ways to Save on Promotional Products

  • Look for Discounts by Volume

For promotional products, look online and compare prices. Always remember: when buying bulk promotional items, the more you order, the more you save per item. So, if it fits the budget, look to see at what point from 50 to 1500 items saves you the most (it won’t be with the lesser quantity).

  • Choose 1 design color on products

We noticed when getting prices from different promotional websites for a table cover that a simple two-tone colored logo cost more money. Stick with 1 design color for your logo if possible because it will save you dough!

  • Don’t Cheap Out on Everything

For the most part, a bag is a bag. It holds items in it and allows people to carry things when going from table to table at these trade shows. But like mentioned before, make sure it’s a product that the person will use and not just use at the day of the event. Buying a more inexpensive item without quality or purpose is like throwing money down the drain. A plastic bag is sure be trashed, so don’t waste your money going for the least expensive one (which is more likely paper or plastic). Buy a more durable bag like a drawstring bag that will be used by most, so your company name will be displayed for years and years to come.

  • Always Plan Ahead

It takes time for promotional companies to create products with your logo. You should always try ordering your products at least one month before the event so that you don’t have to pay for express or expedited shipping in order for it to arrive on the date of the event.

  • Always Compare Prices!

There are numerous promotional product websites online. To save the most, compare and compare and compare prices. Don’t just click on the first link that pops up in your Google search for “promotional products”. Do your research and you might find deals and discounts along the way!