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10 Tips for Exhibiting at a Pet Expo

Share with fellow dog lovers!

In early November, we had our first booth at a pet event: the Texas Pet Expo held in Plano, Texas. Years ago, we’d had a booth at a travel expo (for our romantic travel site, but this was our first time to exhibit at an event for pet lovers. And we’d done probably 40 or 50 book signings for our other books in the past…but those signings were at bookstores.We weren’t quite sure what to expect being on the other side of the table at a pet expo.

Our goals for the expo were twofold: introduce new readers to the site and sell copies of our new Barkonomics book.

We wanted to share what we learned about running a booth at a pet expo:

  1. Learn if you need exhibitor insurance. Many expos will require insurance for exhibitors; if you can’t get a rider for your business insurance, you’ll need to purchase a short-term exhibitor insurance. We used Buttine Insurance. It cost us about $100 for the weekend policy.
  2. Order banners. We ordered two banners (a vertical for Barkonomics and a horizontal for DogTipper) from VistaPrint.
  3. Order S hooks. We could NOT figure out how we were going to hang the banners! We ordered some plastic hangers from VistaPrint that stick to the banners but that didn’t give us a way to hang the banners in the booth. Thanks to Debra from Texas Pet Expo, we got some S hooks…whew!s-hooks
  4. Arrive early for set up. The expo was held in Plano (in the Dallas-Fort Worth area), about a four-hour drive from our home. Setup was scheduled for the afternoon before the expo so we headed out early to make sure we had plenty of time for setting up our booth. We’re glad we did: we set things up not once but twice since we didn’t have a clear cut plan of how we wanted the booth to look.
  5. Have freebies, even if they’re low budget. We wanted to have some great freebies to hand out at our booth but our budget was low…so we had to make due with logo magnets, bookmarks, and recipe cards featuring a dog treat recipe from DogTipper. And bring candy–yes, even peppermint candies like we had; it will encourage people to stop at your booth and chat. We used a label maker to identify the freebies as such and to encourage people to take a bookmark:expo6
  6. Bring change. We weren’t accepting credit cards at our booth so we made sure we had plenty of change for cash book purchases.
  7. Have a giveaway. We love giveaways here at DogTipper so it was natural to have a giveaway at our booth. We made entry forms on our computers, printed, and cut them, placing them alongside a cookie jar to hold the completed entries; we also had pens and a sign explaining the details of the giveaway.
  8. Plan to stand. While we dressed in our DogTipper logo shirts, we made sure we were comfortable all the way down to our shoes because we spent most of the time standing.
  9. Carry everything you might possibly need and bring it in with you. Being so far from home, we packed everything we could possibly think we might realize we needed when we set up our booth: scissors, tape, aspirin, you name it. During the expo, we made sure we had everything with us beneath the table because things were too busy for either of us to run out to the car to get anything.
  10. Have fun! Most of all, we learned just to relax and have fun. Enjoy talking with fellow pet lovers. Without exception, everyone was friendly and eager to talk with us about their pets. They didn’t worry about the setup of our booth, our signage, our freebies, or other details we were sweating over…they just enjoyed talking to fellow dog lovers. And so did we.our-booth-2
Paris Permenter
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