Millie’s Marketing Tips: Trade Shows

Millies Marketing TipHave you ever returned from a trade show only to realize that you didn’t see half of the people you wanted to, didn’t stop at all the booths and bought duplicate gel colors? If this scenario sounds familiar, then you need a show plan. Shows are too costly these days to not take full advantage with a plan of attack so you get the most bang for your show buck. I know it’s kind of dorky, but put together a show notebook and your inner nerd will thank me when you get home!

Click here to go to the IBS Las Vegas show page and download the show program (at right). After you print your brochure don’t read it, study it. Choose your classes first. Don’t fill your whole day up. Make sure you have enough time to visit the vendors, too.

Map out the best plan of action for seeing all of the booths you want to. Find the booth number on the show map and organize them by number so you are not jumping all over the place. Of course, there’s always the “start at one end and go to the other” method, which will work for some shows, but others are so large, it is like trying to see the Mall of America in one day. So know the show and plan smart. Put all of the vendors you want to see on your list and if you have time left over, you can backtrack and look at the new or smaller vendors.

Map out a plan for who you want to network with and find out where they will be. If you don’t know, look for postings on Facebook or You can also browse the show’s website for events; these are sure to provide some networking opportunities.

Before you go, to do a quick inventory of your kit to see what you already have and take your list with you. At the last show, I asked the gals at the Gelish booth to put together their top 15 colors and never even thought to double check if I had them. (The answer is yes; I had two already!)

It’s also important to create a budget. A good rule of thumb is to invest 10% of what you bring in on an average month for new show items. Make sure you get any promotional or marketing pieces with the items so you can fully market them when you get home.

And when it comes to buying, shows are now ultra-savvy: Many shows offer mobile sign-ups so you can get specials texted right to your smart phone.
Check it out at the IBS Las Vegas show by texting IBSLV to 64842.

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve put together notebook templates plus a FREE press release that you can download and customize to send out to your local media contacts. This will help you get some press for your business and you can continue to brand yourself as the go-to nail guru in town. Have fun! —Millie Haynam

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