The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Trade Shows and Industry Events

From big expos that attract headlines to niche events that focus on cutting-edge advancements, Australia’s trade show landscape is diverse and dynamic.

These events present fantastic opportunities for small business owners.

They’re a ready-made platform to interact with potential customers and partners, demonstrate the benefits of your business, and keep up with industry innovations.

If you want to make a positive impression and get return on your investment – whether as a visitor, exhibitor, sponsor or speaker – then you need to be prepared. That starts with carefully selecting the right opportunities.

Choosing the right event

The sheer number of trade shows in Australia can be overwhelming. There are more than 200 official events every year, and that’s not counting opportunities like Chamber of Commerce events or local business forums.

Before deciding whether to register your business name as a participant or punter, do some background research on events that you think might be relevant.

Industry fit

Ensure the event aligns with current and future industry trends to avoid wasting time, money and energy that could have been better spent elsewhere.

Attendance profile

Look into both past and present attendees and exhibitors. This will give you a sense of whether the event attracts your target audience.

Detail deep-dive

Reach out to event hosts for specifics like audience size and profile, cost, expected foot traffic, and available speaking opportunities. These details will help you evaluate the potential ROI of attending.

Pre-event preparation

Once you’ve found the right event, you can move into planning and preparation mode. The scale and scope of pre-event work will vary depending on your involvement, but preparation is essential in every case.

Optimise your online presence

Whether you’re mingling in the crowd or exhibiting at a booth, anyone you meet will likely search for your business online before deciding to follow up. Ensure your website and social media channels are polished to make a great impression.

Design an engaging experience

Exhibiting at an Australian trade show is a unique opportunity to showcase your products, services or solutions to a captive audience. If you want them to remember your business name, you’ll need to make the experience memorable.

Walk through the experience from a visitor’s perspective to think of ways you can grab and hold their attention. That might be interactive displays, live demonstrations, eye-catching booth design or branded giveaways.

Make your business name memorable

Speaking of giveaways, consider investing in promotional material so people have a reason to remember your business after the event.

Think creatively, beyond brochures and business cards. What best encompasses your brand, and how can you turn it into a giveaway?

The big day

It’s showtime. The event day is your chance to make a great impression on your target audience. Get a good sleep the night before because the event will be busy – and hopefully beneficial.


Look for opportunities in the program to network with customers, partners or suppliers. Engage with both exhibitors and attendees to learn about their businesses and share information about yours.

Support staff

Consider bringing backup to cover your booth and answer questions. This gives you time to explore the event and attend networking sessions.

Take notes

Trade shows can bring on a case of information overload, so take notes of people you meet, ideas you hear and phone calls you need to make after the event.

Post-event follow-up

The work doesn’t end when the last booth is packed up. Once you get home, either that day or the next, start drafting a targeted follow-up for new connections while it’s all fresh in your mind.

Reach out personally as soon as you think is appropriate. A simple “nice to meet you” is a good start, although if you really want your business name to register in their minds, then offer an additional value-add.

This is where an established online presence becomes invaluable. If you can link new connections to a downloadable product guide, newsletter sign-up, or online purchase page with an exclusive discount, you might see a return on your trade show investment sooner than expected.

Don’t wait until you’re registered to start preparing

Maintaining your online presence is one of the best things you can do to prepare for any brand-building opportunity, trade shows included.

This is where Registry can help.

We’re more than a business name registration portal. Our small business support services extend to affordable and secure domain registration, website hosting and custom email addresses.

Whether you’re preparing for your first trade show, launching a new start-up or growing your small business, Registry’s user-friendly online services and local support team make success simple.

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