Monday , 30 November 2020
One of the questions I hear most often is whether exhibiting at trade shows is still worthwhile. The answer is definitely. Attending one of the thousands of trade shows happening across the country every year is still the best way to meet new customers face-to-face and get your product on their radars.

Why Etsy Sellers Should Exhibit at Trade Shows


Grill Buckle AND Leather Belt Combo by Fosterweld

Grill Buckle AND Leather Belt Combo by Fosterweld

One of the questions I hear most often is whether exhibiting at trade shows is still worthwhile. The answer is definitely. Attending one of the thousands of trade shows happening across the country every year is still the best way to meet new customers face-to-face and get your product on their radars.

Trade shows give you a direct line to hundreds of customers you might not otherwise find, but many new exhibitors make the mistake of thinking that just showing up to the trade show guarantees sales. There’s a lot of preparation involved in making your trade show experience valuable, and today I’m going to share my trade show success tips:

Plan ahead: Your booth is competing with hundreds of others for attention. You need an action plan to truly capture visitors’s interest.

As soon as you book your table, make a list of the things you will need for the trade show. Don’t forget to think about a carpet, your power needs, internet access, promotional literature and signage. Do you need new order forms, or more business cards?

Write out your checklist and make a list of dates by which you need to order each item to ensure you have it in time. Use a copy of the list when packing for the show to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Set goals: Why you are going to this trade show? Is it to introduce your product for the first time or announce a line extension, to win new customers or just to get out and network? Do you want to get a specific number of new prospects each day of the trade show, or is your goal a specific number of orders each day?

Once you know what your goals are, decide how you will achieve them. Do plenty of pre-show promotion so people will arrive at the show looking for you. Create an incentive to visit your booth by offering a coupon redeemable at the show or a giveaway. Use postcards, email marketing or phone calls to reach out to prospective and current customers to announce your special offer and create buzz.

Manage your time: Remember up top when I said there are hundreds of people at each trade show? It’s true, but you don’t want to meet everyone, just those who have an interest in, or need for, your product.

Say hello to everyone who passes your booth so people know you’re approachable. Ask everyone who visits your booth whether they are in the market for your product, if they have a problem your product can solve and if they use your competitor’s products. If the answer to any of these is yes, then the next step is to ask if they are the decision maker or influencer at their company. If yes, then it’s time to start pitching. If not, you may still want to pitch, but make sure you ask for the contact information of the decision maker.

The key is using every minute you’re at the trade show wisely, and that includes politely ending conversations with people who will never become your customers.

Follow up: This is so important. You met a lot of people at the trade show, and they met a lot of people too. After the show, you need to get back on the prospect’s radar. Following up is easier if you make notes about every prospect you meet so you can include a personal detail in your email to jog their memory.

Within 2 weeks of the show, follow-up with every qualified prospect. Remind them about your product and what you discussed at the show. If you don’t receive a response within a month of the show, follow up again. You’ve already invested time in each person you spoke to, so don’t let it go to waste.

If you follow these trade show tips you’ll see more sales after the show, increase your contact list for the future and get the most value out of every trade show you attend.

Article by: Andreea Ayers


Hey.. Timothy here!  Andreea has been writing for Handmadeology for about 7 months and and brought us some awesome articles about running a creative business. You can read her articles HERE.

If you don’t know, Andreea is an entrepreneur who sold her first business in 2005 for $50,000 and having started a t-shirt company in 2007 where she reached six figure sales within her first year, she was able to pay herself and sustain her family from day one.  She also got her products into over 300 stores and more than 200 media outlets, all while working part time so she could stay at home with her first baby and then her second.

Andreea has put together a FREE 4-part video series called the Product Marketing Breakthrough.  This course is going to totally change your Etsy business in 2012!  Here is what she covers in the series.


  • 4 proven strategies you can use to get your product line into the spotlight with your customers, retailers, and the media so you can increase your sales and income immediately
  • The 3 most important profit boosters for your website, wholesale accounts, and publicity
  • 3 specific strategies you can implement right away to create more income in your business immediately, as well as specific how-tos for each step
  • The 3 top mistakes most product-based entrepreneurs make when they try to grow their product line
  • Stories of product business owners who have made huge leaps and bounds in their businesses by implementing these Product Marketing Breakthrough strategies
  • What to look for in an online training program to guarantee your success
  • The secrets to how I took my product-based business from less than nothing to 6-figure sales in just the first year


product marketing breakthrough


Here are the signs you need the Product Marketing Breakthrough

  • You try to DO IT ALL to save money, but your energies are spread too thin and you’re depleted
  • You lack a real system for following up with prospects, accounts, clients, and publicity
  • You lack customers, consistency, persistence, and an effective marketing strategy
  • You’re overwhelmed because there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it
  • You price your products incorrectly, resulting in minimal or no profits
  • You haven’t invested money in growing your business and keep getting the same bleak results
  • You don’t truly believe that you deserve to invest in yourself and your business

If this sounds like you, then the Product Marketing Breakthrough is the solution!

You can sign up over on Andreea’s blog HERE

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  1. Sounds like some valuable and very worthwhile information! Thanks, Tim!

  2. This is FANTASTIC information. I have done the shows in NYC, Miami, Dallas, and Chicago when I had my t-shirt line, ‘Super Sexy’. Boy oh boy could I have used this info then. LOTS of trial and error.

    Another valuable tip, meet with reps. Sales reps are attending the show, and also in the show repping other lines, or have their offices in the same or close by building of the convention center. NOT every brand/item you see at a show is represented by the manufacturer!

    It is very important to see their showroom and if your product adds to the lines they rep. You can evaulate whether your production can met the value of having them. Can you produce enought to make a profit after paying their showroom fes and commission? Usually they have a base fee which is deducted from commissions and sometimes not.

    It all depends on your product.

    Also, after you start going over the numbers, you may want to share a booth or take part in a Co-Op. Some shows allow small business to split booths. Like a t-shirt and accessories company for example or home decor and lighting…

    Attend a show or two and get a feel for them. Take notes. Pretend you are a buyerfor a small boutique and see how the vendors speak with you.

    Good luck it is a great way to open up your business! Remember be creative and open yourself to any and all possibilities. Do your research. :)

  3. Sounds like great info! much kudos to Andreea!! way to go mom! I would love to hear what you have to say.

  4. I always read articles like this and wonder how it could possible pertain to me and my business, since I am so small and deal with one of a kind jewelry pieces. Maybe I’m missing the point or the boat or it doesn’t pertain to me, but I feel so out of the loop it kills me. Thank goodness the info Andreea provides is free! I’ve paid for tutoring on how to go big, and it didn’t pay off for me. (She really wouldn’t listen to me, so that was wasted money.) If at first you don’t get anywhere, try a different path….

  5. I am so glad to find this blog!!! so helpful. Thanks. xx

  6. I agree with you, although I think the reason why they don’t is because of budget restrictions.

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