Running a small business means taking care of a lot things – employees, finances, supplies and of course, marketing and branding to pull more customers in.

You want to cover all marketing bases, and that includes promoting your brand through home and trade shows.

As the following article looks at, many small business owners use home and trade shows to bring in customers, and whatever your business is, you can probably somehow incorporate it into a home show as well as find a trade show where it’s a good fit.

Here’s a look at some things that may spark some inspiration and great ideas….

Home shows:

  • Let your product be your guide – That doesn’t even mean you have to have a physical product. Whatever you do, have some friends or loyal customers help you out with a home show. Your business product can be your guide for the home show. For instance, if you have a photography business, invite friends while displaying different photographs – head shots, wedding, and kids – and let the guests ask questions regarding pricing, wait time, and packages. They can book then and there or add you as a contact for when they are ready.
  • Involve your guests – Maybe you run a small accounting firm. You can help your guests create budgets or work on a sample budget together. Instead of an accounting business, you run a small bakery – decorate cupcakes together and eat! When guests are involved, they become more invested.
  • Make it fun – Help your hostess prepare light food and drinks. Offer a raffle or some type of game/incentive.

Trade shows:

  • Be creative with where you go – You don’t just have to stick to “the trade.” Perhaps you create t-shirts and drawstring bags. Sure you can take part in a textile or marketing tradeshow, but you can also have a booth at a PTSA trade show or a pet industry trade show; just make sure you have relevant merchandise.
  • Have plenty of samples – Even if you don’t have physical samples, create great displays and takeaway material with photos and contact information. You can put a picture of your latest landscaping project on a magnet to offer at a trade show, or have hairbrushes with your salon name on them to give to visitors at a hair and makeup trade show.

Bring on the customers

No matter where your show is, remember your job here is to woo new customers into taking an interest in you and your small business.

So be sure to:

  • Channel your extrovert – Even if you are a quiet person, try to come out of your shell and greet everyone, take some time to chat and get to know the people taking the time to stop by and learn about you. Smile!
  • Try to forge a connection – Without being pushy, try to make a connection where you’ll see them again. Even if it doesn’t entail booking a photo session, maybe someone at the home show wants to host another party with their set of friends. Maybe someone stopping at your booth doesn’t have a need for you right now, but will down the road – make a good impression and they’ll remember you.

You can do this!

Not only are shows a great way to gain new customers, but they are usually fun.

You get to get away from your day to day, meet new people and talk about your small business – what’s better than that?

About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer who covers topics related to small business, social media and working from home.