Sandy Betgur: Tips for Using Trade Shows in Your Marketing Plan

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of Sandy Betgur, author of God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter

Being an exhibitor at a trade show, convention, seminar, or similar large gathering of your target audience can be an important component of your marketing plan. Here are some things I’ve discovered:

Value of Trade Show

Sandy Betgur is the author of “God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter.” Learn more at

Unless you are a keynote speaker, you will probably not sell enough books to recover costs of exhibiting at an event. However, there are other inherent values:

* Publicity – You can publicize on your social media sites that you are exhibiting. Additionally, the trade show may promote your attendance on their website, in daily show newsletters, etc. After the event you can write a follow-up blog.

* Exposure – You reap the benefit of other exhibitors’ efforts to drive traffic to the event. Your limited circle of influence is expanded to include these exhibitors’ customers.

* Networking – You may meet industry professionals you had only known by name or reputation. Don’t underestimate the value of face-time. People know people who know people. This is your opportunity to make a memorable impression.

* Contacts – Although you may not sell books at the show, remember your goal is to gather contact information that could lead to future sales.


Betgur cover* Get your business card or brochure into attendees’ hands. Don’t tie up your time by engaging in long conversations. They have a lot to see, and you have a lot of people to meet. Have them sign up for something like an online newsletter or facebook so you can follow-up after the show. Consider having them enter a daily drawing by filling out a contact form.

* Offer a simple give-away so that as attendees walk down the aisle you can invite them to your table. If people aren’t specifically looking for you, they will likely just walk on by without stopping to inquire about your product.

* Make your table inviting. Many exhibitors display a candy bowl. Offer more. If there is space, provide an extra chair for weary legs to sit. Leave space on the aisle side of your table for weary arms to place their bags while chatting. Provide a handy hand sanitizer, box of tissues, cup with pens or other necessities.

* Make your space beautiful. Fresh flowers, uncluttered signage, artistically arranged display, and something unique. Give attendees a reason to comment on your booth.

* Get noticed. Provide a Wow-Factor that compels them to stop for a moment. You are responsible for getting their attention. Some exhibitors bring in a personality (celebrity, magician, costumed character) or play soft music or project a fast-moving video. Some dress themselves in historical costumes, outrageous fashion, or stunning jewelry. Be willing to “put yourself out there” to catch people’s eye so you can then engage them in conversation.

* Call people by name. Get in the habit of noticing name tags. When you add the personal touch of repeating their name, they are more likely to look at your name tag and possibly remember you. So make sure your badge hasn’t flipped to a blank side. I wear a designer-jeweled name badge in addition to the convention supplied one (plus it is one more “something” they can comment on to begin conversation.)

As an attendee, what would draw your attention to an unknown exhibitor? As an exhibitor, what strategies do you use? 

Sandy Betgur’s “God’s Song: Psalms in Rhyming Meter,” was originally published as Psalm Poems by Thomas M. Seller, but that edition is now out of print.  After acquiring the late Mr. Seller’s copyright, Begur added devotional responses to these psalms and brought it back to the marketplace. Learn more at


  1. Thank you for this information and the encouragement to participate in
    tradeshows. This is very helpful for me because I am just starting out in this business and am carefully calculating the cost/profit margins, and this article gives another point of view. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Marketing Your Book at Events | Hybrid Self-Publishing

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