Vendor Event Notes: Things you may want to consider when choosing and participating in expo and craft shows.

Staging your products at festivals, craft shows, expos and other events can be a great way to build brand awareness, make some money, generate leads and network with other professionals. You can gain a lot of information about your customers in the right event setting. If you're a service based business, you can also set up a vendor booth and promote your business with great ROI. Majority of the success at events comes down to picking the right ones for your brand. Not every event is going to be a good fit for you. Establish your overall goals for your brand before seeking an event. This will help narrow down which events fit best into your plans and help you focus on which aspects of your presentation to showcase at the event. If you are clear about who your customers and clients are, this will help guide your choice on where to set up shop. Your target audience has to be in attendance or it will be a waste of your time and money. It does not matter if there are 100,000 people scheduled to be at the festival if none of them fall into your categories of customers.

Event organizers are clear on their goals for their shows. They know who they are serving. They know how much money they need to make to cover their costs and to make a profit.  Event organizers who accept vendors, understand the needs of their vendors and how vendors will make for a better show for them. The BEST organizers are the ones who are passionate about what they do. They will talk to you about every aspect of how they envision the event, without added fluff. They welcome questions and love talking about the details of the show. These are the types of coordinators you want to work with. The ones who have a record for great shows. They will be looking to make sure YOUR needs are met. They will make sure you have a shared audience BEFORE accepting you into their event. They will tell you what they have done to ensure their event will be a success, what they are doing, and what they are going to do.

Contrarily, watch out for the ones who accept EVERYONE and every brand into the exhibit. This makes it pretty clear the coordinators care about 1 thing $$$$$$$$$$$. They typically use the vendors as the main source of revenue for their event. It shows they are not considering a unified audience. In general public style events where the crowd is soooo huge and foot traffic is so strong, IF you have a broad audience type of business, you CAN make this scenario work for you, especially if you are in the right location at the event... the highest traffic areas. However in small venue spaces, this does not work to have all types of vendors. There likely wont be enough traffic for everyone to have a decent turn out. You can get an idea of how many attendees will be there in a few ways....

Check the social media response. What does the fan page or the event page look like? Are there people commenting in the event page? Is there buzz being created? Was there a press release? Are any major media outlets tweeting about it? Not to say these are the final determining factors, but try to gather as much information as possible. Do the research on the hosts and the speakers, do they have a following? And the venue... How many people can the venue hold? If the space can only hold max 100 people, can you reach your sales goals with that many prospects? With best case scenario, all 100 slots are filled: Can you reach your goals if you're set up and ready AND those 100 are all likely to support you assuming everything else about your brand, products and services is ready for showtime?

If it's still early, it may be hard to get any insight. Are there any experts or confirmed celebrities in attendance? Celebrity endorsements and appearances substantially improve turn out. Yesterday we vended at an event and several celebrity guests were confirmed. People stopping by our booth were very vocal about why they were there. Overwhelming majority for the expressed purpose of the event but lots were very excited about the celebrity names that were in attendance. Not having a celebrity at your event does not mean it wont be a successful one, BUT having one who is related to the theme definitely will BOOST the number of attendees.

There are so many factors to consider when choosing an event for your business. Always hope for the best, but be prepared and open to adapt. With so many moving parts, you have to be ready for everything. Over prepared is always in, my opinion, the best approach to take. Equip yourself with as much information as possible. Your time is very valuable, especially when it comes to marketing and advertising your company. Being strategic about where you post up, is going to make this journey more of an enjoyable and profitable experience.

Do you have a checklist for choosing an event? What are some criteria for how you approach setting up at an event? Let us know in the comments!